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China is building a GitHub alternative amid ongoing tensions with US

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/McIek)

China is looking to build a domestic alternative to open source software development platform GitHub, according to a TechCrunch report.

To do this, the Chinese government is turning towards old and (semi-)forgotten platform: Gitee.

A recent report from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), revealed aims to turn Gitee into an “independent, open-source code hosting platform for China.” The project, according to the report, will be completed by a consortium spearheaded by Open Source China.

At the time of writing, Gitee has more than 10 million open-source repositories and supports north of five million developers. To put this into perspective, Microsoft-owned GitHub holds more than 100 million repositories and serves more than 30 million developers.

But the Chinese, according to TechCrunch, have no other choice; the ongoing trade war with the US is forcing the country to rely more heavily on domestic resources. Recent bans and other roadblocks the US has put in place have forced Chinese companies to minimize their reliance on western technology.

Mobile giant Huawei, which has been at the centre of the ongoing conflict, understands this best.

“If China does not have its own open-source community to maintain and manage source codes, our domestic software industry will be very vulnerable to uncontrollable factors,” said Huawei executive Wang Chenglu at an event last August.