Saturday, November 21, 2015

China Aims to Build Its Own Secure Smartphones

By:EVA DOU in Beijing and 
JURO OSAWA in Hong Kong
For years, China’s technology was lagging. In China, the world’s largest smartphone market, most handsets are either Apple Inc. iPhones or are powered by Google’s Android operating system. China would like to gain dominance in the smart phone industry. Therefore, seeking to make its own secure smartphones, in an attempt to insulate its handsets from U.S. surveillance. Beijing wants to build a homegrown tech industry that eliminates U.S. suppliers. China’s efforts stem from revelations in 2013 of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA had placed surveillance “back doors” in some American gear sold overseas.

Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp. is working on a secure smartphone for government agencies using an operating system developed in-house, and a processor chip from a Chinese supplier. The country’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, last year switched publicly to a Chinese-made smartphone, the ZTE Nubia Z5, after being criticized for using an iPhone, yet the Chinese device ran on Android and included a Qualcomm Inc. processor, according to its specifications list.Multiple Chinese technology companies are making progress toward eliminating Western technology.

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has also joined with China’s Ministry of Public Security to develop a secure mobile operating system for police officers. that it bills as more secure. All of the efforts target a niche group of government agencies and state-owned enterprises and are unlikely to target the average consumer. For example, ZTE’s secure phone will come without camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections to minimize security risks.

The trend is unlikely to have much impact on the market share in China of U.S. mobile components and software. Analyst James Yan of market-research firm IDC estimates secure phones might make up 3% of China’s smartphone sales next year, or about two million units. But if more made-in-China operating systems and processors emerge into consumer handsets that could possibly pose a challenge for Google’s Android and for Qualcomm. 

China's desire to create its own smartphone in order to avoid U.S. surveillance can be related to chapter 6 , which discusses cyber security. China wants to avoid the incident that took place when Snowden leaked confidential information. Therefore, China deems it necessary to create their own secure phone.

1 comment:

  1. Shelvia, I think that you article was really interesting especially with all the security risk in the cyber community right now and it seem smart on China part. I know that China has also banned their citizens from using many U.S. Social Media and browsing sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. There hunger to create a world of independence is understandble but it certainly can get to the point where it is too much at some point in my opinion. As technology continues to improve, there will obviously be more complication in the cyber security world and it is very interesting to learn what China is doing in the hopes of combatting the issues.