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May 27, 2014

China in move to ban IBM servers amidst spying tensions

US companies come under the microscope as banks told to replace IBM servers with Chinese hardware.

By Ben Sullivan

Chinese banks are being advised to stop using IBM servers and replace them with Chinese-made hardware.

The Chinese government has made the move as spying tensions with the US continue to rise, and agencies including the People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance are said to be reviewing whether or not the country’s commercial banks’ dependence on IBM servers is a security compromise.

The move follows the indictment of five Chinese hackers last week, who were accused by the US of stealing industrial information from American companies to give Chinese firms a competitive lead.

China announced that the country would scrutinise technology firms operating in its borders, and Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the investigation would aim to stop suppliers from illegally controlling, disrupting, or shutting down Chinese systems.

"For a long time, governments and enterprises of a few countries have gathered sensitive information on a large scale, taking the advantage of their monopoly in the market and technological edge," said Jiang Jun, spokesperson for the Chinese State Internet Information Office.

"They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients but also threaten cyber security of other countries."

However, at a press conference held on Monday in relation to the move, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said: "I am not able to confirm whether this piece of information is reliable or not. China upholds the strategy of opening up to the outside world.

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"We welcome foreign companies investing, doing business and carrying out cooperation in China. Meanwhile, we also require foreign companies to abide by Chinese laws and regulations as Chinese companies do and refrain from doing anything that is detrimental to the security and interests of China."

Last week, China’s Central Government Procurement Center banned the use of Windows 8.

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