China reportedly defers banking technology regulations, relieves pressure on foreign firms

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China has reportedly agreed to delay a rollout of regulations that would restrict state-operated banks from purchasing or employing foreign equipment and technology.

Citing an unnamed U.S. official, Reuters reports U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met with Chinese officials, including Premier Li Keqiang, in Beijing presumably to discuss concerns over security measures designed to protect state-backed banking institutions from outside threats.

While government officials did not comment on the matter, the publication said industry groups found the news promising. Specifically, the report mentions BSA The Software Alliance, which represents Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others, as well as the Software and Information Industry Association, which represents a number of firms including Google.

Lew recognized China's strict banking protections could present problems for U.S. companies in the region, even if those rules are pending.

"We made clear that suspending them is the right approach," Lew said earlier.

China's decision particularly affects Apple, which is looking to expand its Apple Pay mobile payments service into international markets. As China represents Apple's largest area of potential growth, the country is expected to play a major role in the rollout.

Reports of China's procurement regulations first surfaced in January when western tech companies cried foul over what was deemed to be overly protectionist safeguards. Critics of such measures claim these proposed mandates could potentially hurt the global economy.

Today's report comes two weeks after China decided to halt work on a separate draft counter-terrorism law that would require foreign companies providing telecommunications services to install backdoors, furnish encryption keys and keep gathered data in China.

Earlier this year, Apple reportedly acquiesced to Chinese requests calling for regular product audits. It is not known if these security audits pertain to either China's banking technology regulations or anti-terror legislation.