Chinese move could hit foreign software firms


The Chinese government is drafting a new set of guidelines aimed to wipe out pirated software, which could limit government spending on foreign software, say officials and academics.

The planned restrictions, which aim to ensure that government offices buy legitimate software, may favour China’s own up and coming companies as opposed to foreign software retailers that may have to qualify as "preferred non-domestic" software suppliers before selling their products.

The news comes at a crucial time for foreign software companies which are currently trying to tap into China’s potentially enormous public sector, which is expected to spend 14 billion yuan ($1.69 billion) on software in 2004.

"They haven’t specifically excluded foreign companies, but it looks like a step towards that," Michael Judd, Asia Pacific director of public policy for the Computing Technology Industry Association told The Wall Street Journal. "It could lock a big portion of our members out of a significant part of the market."

Beijing (CHN)