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China orders removal of all foreign PCs and software from state offices

By Marianne Curphey

US tech companies HP, Dell and Microsoft are most likely to be affected by the ban

China has ordered the removal of all foreign computer equipment and software from government offices and public institutions, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The government, which has set a three-year deadline for the removal of the foreign technology, comes amid a row between the US and China over telecommunications provision by Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company.

US tech stocks such as , Dell and are most likely to be affected by the ban from China, which will start taking effect from next year.

The move follows US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban US companies from doing business with Huawei earlier this year.

The UK government, under Teresa May, also became embroiled in an argument in April 2019 about whether Huawei should be a central part of UK technology infrastructure in the future.

The US administration is attempting to limit the use of Chinese technology amid security concerns and Mr Trump has banned US companies from doing business with Huawei. As a consequence, Google, Intel and Qualcomm have said they will no longer work with Huawei.

According to the FT, between 20 and 30 million pieces of equipment will need to be replaced as a result of the ban, which begins next year. It is likely to affect subscriptions to software services from US technology companies, as well as processor chips and hard drives that are made by American companies.

The Trump administration, which has sanctioned Huawei and tried to block it buying US goods, has told allies not to use its 5G technology. President Trump fears that integrating Huawei into Western infrastructure would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted that he will not involve Huawei in upcoming 5G networks in the UK if it would create a rift with security allies like the US.

The row over the potential use of Huawei in UK telecommunications infrastructure has been causing major disagreements within the British Conservative party. The issue became particularly divisive in June 2019 after a leak of the plans led to the dismissal of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary, although he protested his innocence. Ministers have insisted that no final decision on the extent of Huawei’s involvement in UK 5G has been made.

FURTHER READING: Huawei Founder Says US Ban May Cost Company $30 Billion

FURTHER READING: US may grant Huawei 90-day trade reprieve

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