According to a Wednesday Bloomberg report that references sources “familiar with the matter”, China’s government will not allow public money to be used for purchase of Apple iPads and MacBook laptops because of security concerns.
Citing one of its sources, the publication said that ten Apple (AAPL) models, including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, were on a June version of the government’s purchase list, drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission [NDRC], which is the country’s top planning body. However, they were omitted from the final list distributed in July.
The Chinese procurement agency has also asked the central Party’s departments to stop buying antivirus software from Symantec Corporation (SYMC), Kaspersky Lab, while Microsoft (MSFT) was excluded from a government purchase of energy-efficient computers.
“When the government stops the procurement of products, it sends a signal to corporates and semi-government bodies,” Mark Po, an analyst with UOB Kay Hian Ltd. in Hong Kong told Bloomberg news. “The Chinese government wants to make sure that overseas companies shouldn’t have too much influence in China.”
This change is also due to Mainland’s enhanced scrutiny of foreign companies following Edward Snowden’s revelations last year that the NSA had spied on Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and the May announcement of cyber espionage indictments by U.S. prosecutors of five Chinese military officers who were accused of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.
The decision to exclude Apple from the procurement list applies to all central Party departments, government ministries and all local governments. The next review for the list is expected in January. Products from Dell (DELL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and Chinese maker Lenovo Group Ltd. were included on both lists, Bberg said.
The latest announcement comes several months after China banned the use of Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS on government computers, citing security concerns.