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China: Our approved vendor list – Kaspersky, Symantec AREN'T on it

Foreign firms dropped from infosec roll

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Updated Security firms Kaspersky Labs and Symantec appear to have both been booted off China’s list of approved vendors for government agencies.

This development comes as the country continues to tighten up against foreign tech firms in the wake of the NSA surveillance revelations.

The People’s Daily reported first in a tweet that the government procurement agency had ousted Symantec and Kaspersky from its list of suitable antivirus companies. Instead, the country will only allow government bodies to source security stuff from five Chinese firms – Qihoo 360 Technology, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin and Rising.

Kaspersky did not return a request for comment from The Register, but Kaspersky's spokesman in the US Alejandro Arango told Reuters: "We are investigating and engaging in conversations with Chinese authorities about this matter. It is too premature to go into any additional details at this time."

Relations between Beijing and Washington have always been a bit tense when it comes to IT firms, with the US frequently accusing Chinese companies of corporate espionage and spying for their government through tech sold in America. China has never been particularly chuffed about the allegations but it is even less amused these days after former-NSA-operative-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the US's data snooping.

A couple of months ago, the country dropped Windows 8 as a viable OS for government use, although this was also linked to the fact that Microsoft pulled support for Windows XP, which is still kicking about on a lot of computers.

China has also instigated a number of antitrust investigations of foreign firms, including Microsoft and Qualcomm.

However, Microsoft was the only foreign brand that stayed on the list of approved personal computer suppliers, The People’s Daily reported yesterday. ®

Updated

Since the publication of this story, Symantec contacted us to say: "While we are investigating this report, we would like to clarify that Symantec continues to bid for and win governments projects in China." It added: "We have invested significantly in China and are expanding our product development here."

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