China has ordered central government agencies and state-backed corporations to replace foreign-branded personal computers with domestic alternatives within two years, marking one of Beijing’s most aggressive efforts to eradicate key overseas technology from within sensitive institutions.
Staff were asked after the week-long International Workers’ Day break, from last Saturday to Wednesday, to turn in foreign PCs for local alternatives that use operating software developed domestically, people familiar with the plan said.
The exercise, which was mandated by central government authorities, is eventually to replace about 50 million computers within the government, and more in state-connected firms, the sources said.
The decision advances China’s decade-long campaign to replace imported technology with local alternatives, a sweeping effort to reduce its dependence on geopolitical rivals such as the US for everything from semiconductors to servers and phones. It is likely to affect sales by HP Inc and Dell Technologies Inc, the country’s largest PC brands after local champion Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想).
Lenovo shares erased losses to climb as much as 5 percent yesterday in Hong Kong, while software developer Kingsoft Corp (金山軟件) also recouped its earlier decline to gain 3.3 percent.
On mainland Chinese exchanges, Inspur Electronic Information Industry Co (浪潮信息), a servermaker, gained 6 percent, while peer Dawning Information Industry Co (中科曙光) jumped more than 4 percent. Inspur Software Co (浪潮信息) and China National Software & Service Co (中國軟件與技術服務有限公司) soared to their daily 10 percent limits.
The push to replace foreign suppliers is part of a longstanding effort to wean China off its reliance on US technology, a vulnerability that was exposed after US sanctions against companies such as Huawei Technologies Co (華為) hammered local firms and businesses. That initiative has accelerated since last year, when the Chinese central government quietly empowered a secretive organization to vet and approve local suppliers in sensitive areas from cloud computing to semiconductors.
The PC replacement project also reflects Beijing’s growing concerns about information security, as well as its confidence in homegrown hardware. The world’s biggest laptop and servermakers today include Lenovo, Huawei and Inspur Ltd (浪潮), while local developers such as Kingsoft and Standard Software (中標軟件) have made rapid strides in office software against the likes of Microsoft Corp and Adobe Inc.
The campaign is to be extended to provincial governments later and also abide by the two-year timeframe, the sources said.
Lenovo is likely to gain the most from Beijing’s move. The nation’s No. 1 PC maker relies on US chips, but has set up its own chipmaking unit and has invested in at least 15 semiconductor design firms.
STEADY: Prices are to rebound following inventory rebuilding demand, TrendForce said, with Samsung Electronics Co further trimming capacity as it slashes DDR4 lines The contract prices of DRAM chips are to rise by as much as 18 percent sequentially this quarter — the first price upticks in about eight quarters — driven mainly by inventory rebuilding demand for DRAM chips used in mobile devices and PCs, TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) projected yesterday. The price rebound is led by a quarterly increase of mobile DRAM chips, which are to climb between 13 percent and 18 percent quarter-on-quarter this quarter, which has not been seen since the fourth quarter of 2021, the Taipei-based market researcher predicted. Likewise, the price of mainstream PC DDR4 DRAM is expected to bounce
CHINA NOT A FRIEND: ‘Newsflash: Democracy is good for your businesses,’ US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said as she gave a speech at a national defense forum US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Saturday urged lawmakers, Silicon Valley and US allies to stop China from getting semiconductors and cutting-edge technologies key to national security. Speaking at an annual national defense forum in Simi Valley, California, Raimondo called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve ever had” and stressed that “China is not our friend.” The world’s top two economies are locked in a fierce commercial and geopolitical rivalry, in which her department plays a leading role. In October, Raimondo unveiled a series of restrictions on the export of advanced chips to China, including those used in the development of artificial intelligence
SOLID FOUNDATION: Given its decades of expertise in megatronics, manufacturing and robotics, Japan has the wherewithal to create its own AI, Jensen Huang said Nvidia Corp plans to help build an artificial intelligence (AI) tech-related ecosystem in Japan to meet demand in a country eager to gain an edge in this emerging technology. The US company will seek to partner with Japanese research organizations, companies and start-ups to build factories for AI, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said yesterday during opening remarks in a meeting with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura. The company is to set up an AI research laboratory, and invest in local start-ups and educate the public on using AI, Huang said. Huang earlier this week met with Japanese Prime
A Hong Kong court postponed a court hearing on troubled Chinese property developer Evergrande Group’s (恆大集團) winding-up petition scheduled for yesterday until Jan. 29. Evergrande is trying to win support from its creditors for a plan to restructure more than US$300 billion in debt to stave off liquidation. The company’s lawyer told the court it was requesting an adjournment to “refine” its new debt restructuring plan. The Hong Kong High Court has postponed the hearing over Evergrande’s potential liquidation several times. Judge Linda Chan (陳靜芬) had said in October that yesterday’s hearing would be the last before a decision is handed down. Chan