China tightens controls on drone and powerful computer exports

China is restricting the export of some drones and powerful computers in the name of national security, with draft regulation also proposed in the country for control of e-payments.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

China is tightening controls on exports of some drones and powerful computers, and will require firms to register to ensure they do not "compromise national security" according to state media.

From August 15, manufacturers of certain powerful drones and computers will have to give technical details to the authorities to obtain a licence prior to export, Xinhua news agency says.

The new regulations from the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs are aimed in particular at drones which can fly for more than one hour and at heights of more than 15,420 metres.

In the first five months of 2015, China exported some 160,000 civilian drones, a jump of 70 per cent year-on-year, worth more than $120 million, the official China Daily newspaper reported in July.

Leading Chinese maker DJI dominates the global market and has said that its products "were not involved in these (new) export controls", according to a statement reported by Chinese media, suggesting the government was mainly interested in restricting exports of military technology.

The tightening of regulations comes two weeks after an incident in disputed Kashmir in which the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian "spy drone", reportedly Chinese-made.

China is also likely tightening controls on exports of powerful computers as it looks to maintain its edge in the global supercomputer battle long dominated by US-Japanese rivalry.

Since June 2013 China's Tianhe-2 has headed the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful computers, with the machine capable of 33.86 petaflops, which is quadrillions of calculations per second.

Just last week, US President Barack Obama issued demands for a new initiative which will focus on supercomputing research. In a new executive order released by the White House titled "Creating a national strategic computing initiative," the president's order outlines plans to create the world's first exascale computing system in order to establish the country's position in high-performance computing research and development.

Last month, The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) signed a AU$77 million supercomputer contract with Seattle-based manufacturer Cray. The BOM said that the new 4.3PB Cray XC-40 supercomputer is expected to be up and running mid-2016, replacing the ageing Sun Microsystems machine which was commissioned in 2013.

On Friday, the People's Bank of China (PBC) published draft regulation, which if implemented, would see the likes of Alipay -- e-commerce giant Alibaba's third party online payment platform -- forced into offering the payment services of its competitors in addition to its own, Reuters reported.

"Payment institutions should fully respect customer's right to choose, and must not force customers to use the internet payment service they provide, and also must not stop customers using other Internet payment services provided by other institutions," the PBC said in its draft regulations.

With AAP

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