China reviewing e-procurement rules for local banks

Chinese government has told foreign tech vendors including Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco Systems, that it will be gathering feedback on a new set of procurement and cybersecurity regulations involving banks.

China is reportedly reviewing cybersecurity and procurement regulations for banks, resuming work it had previously halted following protests from foreign governments and lobby groups.

Officials from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) last week informed representatives from foreign IT vendors, including Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco Systems, that they would be gathering feedback on a new set of procurement rules, reported Reuters.

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The Chinese government had previously outlined guidelines that required Chinese banks to purchase more local IT systems as well as foreign IT vendors to reveal their source codes if they were to procure equipment to banks. The document prompted strong protests from governments and business groups in the US and Europe.

China then halted its plan so it could gather feedback from local banks, with the move deemed a diplomatic win for the US government, according to Reuters.

The latest move to resume work on the regulations comes weeks before Chinese president Xi Jinping is due to make a visit to Washington.

Both countries have had numerous tussles concerning national security, with the US government accusing China of instigating Chinese telco equipment makers -- namely Huawei -- to spy on its behalf, while the US National Security Agency (NSA) itself had infiltrated Huawei's servers, according to Edward Snowden's leaked documents.

Both sides had urged their local businesses to refrain from deploying equipment manufactured by the other's tech vendors. China in May last year advised its banks to replace high-end IBM servers with locally made systems, while the UK government in January last year banned Huawei's videoconferencing equipment from government departments over cybersecurity concerns.