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Tim Culpan

Made-in-China PC Rule Won’t Advance Nation’s Tech Prowess

Requiring government computers to be sourced locally probably will boost domestic sales, but it won’t do much to spur development of advanced technologies. 

Home advantage?

Home advantage?

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Beijing’s new requirement that government agencies ditch foreign computers and buy local is designed to wean the nation off overseas products. The move will certainly boost sales of Chinese-made PCs domestically, but it won’t do much to advance the nation’s long-held ambition to deepen its tech prowess and catch up to global leaders.

The ruling is the latest move by Chinese authorities to put their own stamp on the country’s fast-growing tech sector. In the last two years, Beijing has also taken steps to rein in its internet giants including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to ensure they toe the party line. More than 50 million computers could be replaced at the central government level in the coming years as part of plans to eradicate the use of foreign technology, Bloomberg News reported last week. Staff will instead be issued Chinese-branded PCs running domestically developed operating systems.