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China culls approved state puchase list of leading Western tech brands

China has decided to drop some of the world's leading technology brands from its state approved purchase lists and replace them with thousands of locally built products.

Some say this move comes as a reponse to revelations of widespread cyber-surveillance conducted by the West, while others believe this is more of a way for China to protect domestic technology industry from fierce competition.

The biggest casualty of the new lists is the U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems, which in 2012 had 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list, but by late 2014 had none.

Apple, Intel and McAfee all joined Cisco and were removed from the purchase lists.

The number of products on the list, which covers regular spending by central ministries, jumped by more than 2,000 in two years to just under 5,000, but the increase is almost entirely due to local makers.

An official at the procurement agency said there were many reasons why local makers might be preferred, including sheer weight of numbers and the fact that domestic security technology firms offered more product guarantees than overseas rivals.

"The Snowden incident, it's become a real concern, especially for top leaders," said Tu Xinquan, Associate Director of the China Institute of WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. "In some sense the American government has some responsibility for that; (China's) concerns have some legitimacy."

China's change of tack coincided with leaks by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden in mid-2013 that exposed several global surveillance programs.