China to Purge U.S.- Made Computer Software Out of All State Offices

The U.S. – China trade war is far from over because the Chinese Communist Party Central Office (CPCO) came out with an order, requiring all government offices to cease using any computer that runs on a non-China developed software. Apparently, the move constitutes one of several counter offensives against the Trump administration’s blacklisting of China-made computer hardware in the U.S.

The CPCO directive will see all government services gradually replacing mostly Windows PC starting 2020 through the end of 2022. The phasing-out and replacement processes will transpire at a completion rate of 30%, 50% and 20% for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Chinese analysts estimate that as many as 20 million to 30 million units of PCs, mostly running on Microsoft’s Windows operating system will be replaced. The likeliest replacements are computers supported by China-developed Linux.

The word is that the CPCO order applies only to state-owned computers used by all government agencies. In 2017, Microsoft released a Chinese Government Edition of Windows 10 in order to solidify its stronghold in the Chinese market. Yet then new CPCO directive proves that the strategy is not foolproof. This suggests that the bulk of Microsoft’s sales in China, which is in the private sector, remains intact for now.

Still, there is no telling if after the gradual removal in state offices, the purge of U.S. developed software will continue in the private sector.

The Reason Given Behind the Chinese Government’s Order to Replace U.S.-Made PCs and Software

Apparently, the Chinese government intends to balk on trade negotiation terms that will undermine China’s position in global trade. The CPCO’s purge order is not just a counter-offensive, but also a counter-measure in case the trade war with the U.S. escalates.

According to investment management firm Mirabaud Securities, the move to remove all U.S. software out of all Chinese government offices is to ensure all Chinese services and operations would be no be affected if ever China’s trade relationship with the U.S. worsens.

Yet this could also make one wonder whether the software-purge is all but part of a long-range and broader plan.