The Taiwanese government is investigating whether the Chinese outfit Xiaomi is a cyber security threat. Some Xiaomi phones automatically send user data to the firm's servers in Beijing, where the company is headquartered, and Taiwan is concerned that this will be a security breach.
Concerns are also mounting that Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province, is over-reliant on the mainland. However it is not the only outfit facing similar problems. The Japanese instant messaging service Line, owned by South Korea's Naver will be banned from use on government work-related computers, also due to security concerns. Taiwan's police force has encouraged employees not to use Tencent’s mobile messaging app WeChat since August.
Xiaomi recently came under fire for unauthorised data access, spurring the company to upgrade its operating system and let users refuse to allow it to collect information from their address books. Xiaomi has been setting up shop elsewhere in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. It is also eyeing expansion into countries like Thailand, Brazil and Mexico.
Hong Kong's public broadcaster quoted the head of the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office as expressing dismay over Taiwan's decision, saying "one cannot stop the attractiveness of Xiaomi phones among compatriots across the strait."