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Analyst: Chinese buyers shunning IBM, EMC, Oracle and Cisco

Government nudging locals towards home-grown kit when possible

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For years, the world's largest technology vendors have assumed that China represents a colossal opportunity, albeit with an unusual set of hoops to jump through in order to do business.

That view now seems a little dated according to Frank Liu, analyst firm Forrester's chap covering converged infrastructure and big data in China.

Liu yesterday wrote that Chinese technology management professionals need to “start looking closely at domestic IT vendors.”

One reason to do so is that China's government is sending not-so-subtle signals about its preferences, through recent news items questioning the security of Windows 8 and the suitability of IBM kit for local banks. China has also made much of Edward Snowden's revelations, especially those alleging US-derived technology offers surveillance facilities.

Liu also argues that Alibaba's move from IBM servers, EMC storage and Oracle databases to x86 servers, PCIe storage and open source databases has set a “trend” other local business will follow.

Throw in local vendors like Inspur setting out to offer replacements for IBM servers and he feels there's momentum for a move to domestic suppliers.

Global titans are already feeling the pinch in China, he adds, even if there is some upside in the fact that “in key areas like mainframe computing, applications, and databases, there are almost no domestic vendor alternatives.” Top-tier storage vendors can also breathe easy-ish for a while. Liu also notes that China, and Chinese businesses, are pragmatic enough not to force replacements of complex applications like core banking systems.

Overall, however, he thinks the move to local suppliers is on and that local buyers need to fall in line with the buy local trend, especially for greenfield applications.

If Chinese firms follow Liu's advice, it will give local vendors a fine collection of customer references with which to impress buyers beyond the middle kingdom. With Huawei already making inroads into the enterprise and harder access to China's markets cutting off growth opportunities for US firms, this could get interesting. ®

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