Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China re­stricts su­per­com­puter ex­ports


Main­land China will ban ex­ports of high- per­for­mance drones and com­put­ers due to na­tional se­cu­rity rea­sons, trade and cus­toms author­i­ties said on Fri­day.

The ban, which will be ef­fec­tive from mid-Au­gust, urges man­u­fac­tur­ers not to ex­port drones that are ca­pa­ble of fly­ing in gusty winds, hov­er­ing above 15,420 me­ters and hav­ing more than an hour of flight du­ra­tion.

Com­put­ers with greater than 8 tera float­ing- point oper­a­tions per sec­ond will also not be al­lowed for ex­ports, said an an­nounce­ment jointly is­sued by the Min­istry of Com­merce and the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms. It is the first time that the main­land is im­pos­ing ex­port re­stric­tions on such prod­ucts.

The author­i­ties did not ex­plain how the de­vices are a threat to na­tional se­cu­rity in the short an­nounce­ment. How­ever, the de­ci­sion will have lim­ited im­pact on ex­port of com­mer­cial drones, in­dus­try in­sid­ers said.

“The ban is tar­get­ing drones not de­signed for com­mer­cial use and will pro­tect key tech­nolo­gies of Chi­nese com­pa­nies,” said Shao Jian­huo, vice- pres­i­dent of DJI Tech­nol­ogy Co, a Guang­dong­based com­pany that con­trols about 70 per­cent of the global drone sales.

None of the DJI prod­ucts will be banned, the com­pany said af­ter a re­view of the stan­dards.

“It was a sur­prise de­ci­sion for the in­dus­try, but it re­ally makes sense in terms of na­tional se­cu­rity and the healthy growth of the in­dus­try,” Shao said.

The ban came two weeks af­ter a drone likely made by a Chi­nese com­pany was caught in in­ter­na­tional cross­fire.

On July 15,


said it had shot down a spy drone owned by In­dian mil­i­tary in the bor­der area of the two na­tions while In­dia dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tion. The fly­ing ob­ject looked like a China- made prod­uct in shape.

The ban over su­per­com­put­ers also makes sense, said Gene Cao, a se­nior in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy an­a­lyst at mar­ket re­search firm For­rester Re­search Inc.

“I think it def­i­nitely proves that China has the world’s lead­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties on su­per- com­put­ing,” he said.

Main­land China’s rapid growth in the su­per- com­put­ing sec­tor has al­ready raised eye­brows in na­tions like the United States, said ex­perts.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment banned pro­ces­sors used in Chi­nese su­per­com­put­ers some months ago, cit­ing in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity con­cerns. The move hurt In­tel Corp’s busi­ness with a num­ber of labs and univer­si­ties.

China is one of the world’s largest mak­ers of su­per­com­put­ers. China-based Tianhe se­ries is al­ready the world’s fastest su­per­com­puter. The U.S. and Ja­pan are also in­vest­ing on build­ing the next-gen­er­a­tion of su­per­com­put­ers to leapfrog the Tianhe.

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