Russia China

Russia is interested in expanding the use of servers, storage systems and telecommunications equipment from China and hopes for more active promotion of Russian software on the Chinese market, said the head of the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Nikiforov at the meeting with the Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China, Miao Wei.

“Cooperation in this area will strengthen the position of Russia and China in the global market [..] There should be competition in all branches because it allows the development and preservation of information sovereignty. In the field of information technology, unfortunately, there is a dominance of the products of individual countries. Therefore, countries such as Russia, China and other members of the BRICS should make efforts to develop software to ensure the information sovereignty [..] We are significantly increasing the amount of IT professionals trained in our universities, but this year we plan to open six new industrial parks in the cities of Russia. Also we want to built two separate satellite towns: Skolkovo near Moscow and Innopolis near Kazan.” - Russian minister Nikolai Nikiforov[1]

China has been accused of spying many times in the past, but Russia’s claims of Chinese espionage using household items were a first few month ago. Russian authorities were claiming that some water-boiling kettles imported from China ware bugged, and used unsecured Wi-Fi networks nearby to send data back to Chinese servers. U.K. publication The Register translated the original Russian article and found that the report seems legitimate, explaining the plausibility of the "spy chip" technology. [2]

What changed?

Sanctions from the West over the crisis in Ukraine have pushed forward the Kremlin’s relations in China. In May, the two counties signed a historic $400 billion gas deal. Bilateral trade between the countries is nearly $90 billion and in June, Russia and China were among the countries launching the Shanghai-based BRICS Bank, which will provide funds for infrastructure projects in both countries. Most recently, Russia unveiled its plans to start using the China UnionPay credit payment system to rival Visa and MasterCard.

Who will benefit?

Kaspersky Lab is one Russian software developer that would greatly benefit from the new relationship. In August, Kaspersky, along with other non-Chinese anti-virus companies, lost the right to supply security software to Chinese state-run banks and companies. Also in August, the Chinese government required all offices using IBM servers to replace them with Chinese-made servers to protect them from perceived American spying. China and Russia also discussed working together on global internet management, working off of a multilateral transparent model.[3]

What’s next?

In the meantime, for the rest of the world the internet is full of articles and questions about "how to block Russia and China traffic". Both countries present a major security threat in this area from financial cyber crimes to cyber warfare. Can this approach mean a much closer relation between the two countries, and what are the implications for the rest of the world? Remains to be seen.

If we consider the closing policy toward US and European Software and Computers companies, we may ask what are the risks for over 300 million Kaspersky Lab users worldwide and more than 250,000 corporate clients globally and what measures must be considered.

[1]"Качество связи в РФ может вырасти за счет китайских серверов", Ria Novosti, August 19, 2014, at the Internet address

[2]Michelle FLORCRUZ, "Russia Accuses China Of Spying VOa Imported Tea Kettles And Irons", International Business Times, August 19, 2014, at the Internet address

[3]Tech Trade: Russia to boost software imports to China, get more servers in return, RT, August 19, 2014, at the Internet address

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