After little progress in the negotiations between the two countries, the government directive is likely to be a blow to U.S. multinational companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft, as the trade war between the countries turns into a technological cold war.
The Trump administration banned U.S. companies from doing business with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei this year and Google, Intel and Qualcomm announced that they would freeze cooperation with Huawei.
By excluding China from Western technology, the Trump administration has made it clear that the real battle is over which of the two economic superpowers would have the technological edge for the next two decades.
This is Beijing's first known public directive that sets specific lines that limit China's use of foreign technology, although it is part of a broader movement within China to increase its dependence on domestic technology.
#China se desmarca de ordenadores extranjeros: Oficinas estatales deben dotarse de equipos chinos en tres años. - Una iniciativa del Gobierno para reducir dependencia de tecnologías extranjeras, según Financial Times. - Soberania Tecnologica plena ante amenazas imperiales. pic.twitter.com/NHd8Nov2Eh
#China sets itself apart from foreign computers: State offices must be equipped with Chinese equipment in three years. - A government initiative to reduce dependence on foreign technologies, according to the Financial Times. - Full technological sovereignty in the face of imperial threats.
According to analysts, the order sent from the central office of the Chinese Communist Party earlier this year would involve the replacement of 30 million pieces of hardware, a process that would begin in 2020.
Replacing all devices and software in this time period will be a challenge, as many products were developed for U.S. operating systems such as Windows.
Chinese government offices tend to use Chinese owned Lenovo company desktops, but computer components, including processor chips and hard drives, are manufactured by U.S. companies.
In May, Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times newspaper in China, said the withdrawal of U.S. companies from their business with Huawei would not be a fatal defeat as the Chinese company would boost its own microchip industry to compete with the United States.