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Chinese government to use only licensed software
Publication Date : 18-07-2012
All China's government departments at central and provincial levels are using licensed software after a national anti-piracy campaign, a senior official said yesterday.
Authorities at and above county level and above will do the same by the end of 2013, said Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration.
Most of the software used was licensed by 2003 thanks to a three-year campaign starting in 2001.
However, following reports of piracy, another nationwide inspection was launched in 2010. Operating systems and software worth 1 billion yuan (US$157 million) have been installed to address the problem.
Centralised procurement was adopted, which has enabled government agencies to obtain licenses at a 30 to 50 per cent discount, said Li Baorong, deputy head of the Government Offices Administration of the State Council.
The inspection included 159 out of 600 cities and 594 out of 2,900 counties. The rest will be covered next year.
Yan stressed that foreign and Chinese software providers were treated equally in the procurement.
"Foreign software companies are encouraged to sell their products in China and are protected under Chinese law. We also like to see our own companies develop more quality software," Yan said.
The gross income of China's software sector topped 1.8 trillion yuan ($282.4 billion) in 2011, accounting for about 15 per cent of the global market.
The government's move was welcomed by Roger Somerville, senior director for government and policy in the Asia-Pacific for the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
"Adopting genuine software is not only a focal point for government agencies in the strategic development of China's national digitalisation efforts, but also helps them maximise their returns from their IT investments," he said.
"The legalisation of software for government bodies is a proactive and meaningful step for the software industry. We hope the intensified implementation of the legalisation work will help to create a fair, competitive environment for software development and business for all."
"In addition to government, as the mainstay of many Chinese industries, BSA also expects that State-owned enterprises will play a key role in legalising their software use," Somerville said.
Yan said the work is under way.
"We are working on this but it has to be done step by step. It may take a long time," he said.
Chen Limin contributed to this story.