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China in the past suggested it would make WAPI a mandatory national standard, but it dropped that effort under pressure from the U.S. government. If it had, companies would have had to manufacture two sets of chips: one for the Chinese market with encryption technology licensed from one of 11 Chinese companies, and the other for use in other countries.
China is pushing other standards to foster domestic companies, but it also hopes to promote them abroad. China still isn't influential enough to force its own standards on international organizations, but it won't give up. "China may retreat for a period of time in the efforts to initiate standards but will keep trying later in other areas with different approaches," says Oliver Xu, a Gartner analyst in Shanghai.
The Standardization Administration of China didn't respond to interview requests. The IEEE says it's prepared to work with China to "harmonize WAPI technology with existing IEEE and international standards." It's unclear if the SAC wants to do the same.
-ELENA MALYKHINA (email@example.com)
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Where China is pushing its own standards
Video compression technique aimed at providing better compression than MPEG-2 and avoiding royalties to MPEG licensors.
Technology for transmission of 3G mobile communication, championed by eight Chinese telecom companies.