In China, US firms feeling ‘Snowden Effect’

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iol scitech nov 1 IBM AFP In addition the company is opening up three new cloud computer facilities of its own in Germany, Mexico and Japan.

Beijing - Battling a perfect storm of government suspicion and pricing probes in China, US technology companies are having to re-think how they sell hardware and services in the world's second-biggest economy.

US multinationals, including IBM, Cisco Systems and Qualcomm, are looking to settle price-gouging investigations and restore trust with Chinese regulators in the wake of reports that US government agencies directly collect data and tap networks of the biggest domestic technology companies.

All US IT firms are “on the defensive” in China, said Scott Kennedy, director of the Research Centre for Chinese Politics and Business at Indiana University. “They are all under suspicion as either witting or unwitting collaborators in the US government's surveillance and intelligence gathering activities.”

Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about US government surveillance may cost US technology firms billions of dollars in lost sales, analysts say. The US cloud computing industry alone may lose as much as $35-billion in worldwide sales over the next three years, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, DC-based non-profit think-tank, estimates.

“The ability of US companies to sell abroad has been seriously compromised by foreign customer concerns about the relationship between the US intelligence community and the tech sector,” said Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at ITIF.

Nowhere is the so-called 'Snowden Effect' expected to have greater impact than in China, says Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi. “US technology companies face the most revenue risk in China by a wide margin, followed by Brazil and other emerging markets,” he wrote in a research note this month. - Reuters

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