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Chinese government blocks use of Intel, AMD chips in hardware

 Computer chip with US and China flag.
Computer chip with US and China flag.

In a significant move signaling its effort to reduce dependence on Western technology companies, China’s Information Security Evaluation Center has removed processors from companies like Intel and AMD from its list of approved chips.

The change was confirmed in a document dated December 26, 2023, and underscores the country’s push toward self-reliance amid continuing geopolitical tensions.

According to the Financial Times, tech shops within the country have already started to phase out some Western technology as part of the country’s broader move toward technological independence.

China is blacklisting major Western tech

The approved list comprises 18 CPUs, with x86 architecture represented solely by Shanghai Zhaoxin Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd. The other approved chips on the list use Arm cores or the RISC-V architecture, indicating that the country has clear intentions to build a more diverse range of components.

Additionally, only domestically developed operating systems and databases feature on the list, such as Galaxy Kirin Linux, Tongxin OS, Fangde OS, Alibaba Cloud's PolarDB and Tencent’s TDSQL.

Moreover, this transition process poses significant challenges because many Chinese organizations have built their infrastructure around Western tech, highlighting the sheer size and expense of the move. In fact, rebuilding these systems could be time consuming and could have seriously negative implications on businesses without the intervention of the government, such as financial incentives.

Another trend happening in the same circles is that Chinese authorities are also looking to reinforce greater control over digital spaces, while updates in regulations have significantly changed cross-border transactions in recent years.

As China continues to establish itself as an independent technological entity, the entire global landscape will likely see sizeable shifts, with implications for domestic and international players alike, and for businesses and consumers.

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