Chinese IT companies see opportunity in PRISM scandal

By Chen Xia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 5, 2013
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The PRISM surveillance program, leaked by former CIA agent Edward Snowden, has sparked global outcry, but for those working in the IT industry in China, it might be an opportunity to remind both Chinese corporations and the Chinese government how urgent information protection is.

The PRISM surveillance program, leaked by former CIA agent Edward Snowden, has sparked global outcry. 

Financial firms, state-owned enterprises and government departments, especially, have been encouraged to use domestic brands as a means of better protecting their information. Some state enterprises and government departments have already begun to replace foreign brands with domestic IT products in the wake of PRISM.

Nie Guangnan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, was quoted by Sina as saying that the Chinese government is right to move away from American-made technology.

"Despite the fact that the core technologies of Lenonvo PCs, including the CPU and operation system, are actually American technologies, the U.S. government won't trust Lenonvo products," said Nie. "How can [the Chinese government] be so relaxed when the core technologies of the software and hardware systems they are using are all developed by foreign companies?"

Nie also said that local governments often used software developed by foreign companies, even when their needs could have been met by domestic products. "This indicates that they have little sense of information security," Nie said.

Wang Wenjing, President of Yonyou Software Co., Ltd., has long advocated the use of domestic IT products. In the past, he has appeared before the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, to propose the use of domestic software on government and state-owned enterprise computers.

However, despite the opportunity for market gain, some Chinese manufacturers are embarrassed by the backwardness of their products. Though Chinese software can meet 90 percent of Chinese companies' demands, Chinese technologies still lag behind their foreign counterparts. As one anonymous software executive said recently, "It's difficult for Chinese developers to sell their products, because there is nothing special in them."

Still, Chinese corporations are reevaluating their attitudes towards local products. In the wake of PRISM, Chinese software seems worth a chance.

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