Lenovo complies with China's web filtering demand

Posted July 2, 2009 6:28 a.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2009 8:21 a.m. EDT

— Lenovo, the world’s fourth largest PC manufacturer, will comply with Chinese government demands that a controversial web filtering software be included on computers sold in that country.

In its first comments on the issue that has sparked protests in China as well as from numerous businesses and trade groups, Lenovo told Local Tech Wire and that it would comply with the mandate.

Although the so-called “Green Dam” software deadline had been set for July 1, the government on Wednesday announced a delay. The mandate is still expected to be implemented despite global complaints about censorship.

“Lenovo sells in over 160 countries and in so doing we obey the law and abide by local regulations wherever we do business and we will continue to do so,” Lenovo spokesperson Kristy Fair said in an e-mail statement.

“Many of the applicable PCs we sell in China will include either a copy of Green Dam available on the PC's hard drive, which the customer can activate as he/she chooses, or a Green Dam CD-ROM,” she added. “The software is installed and used at the customer's discretion, and Lenovo is not responsible for its performance.”

Lenovo, which bases its global headquarters in Morrisville, is the top PC seller in China where the company launched 25 years ago. Lenovo does most of its business in China and has a second headquarters in Beijing. Its stock is traded in Hong Kong.

Lenovo did not answer questions about costs related to the software and whether consumers would have to pay additional fees.

Green Dam is manufactured in China.

Several other PC makers also have said they will comply with the Chinese government’s demand.

According to the Associated Press, Acer, Sony and China-based Haier Group are shipping Green Dam. Acer, the world’s No. 3 PC maker, is based in Taiwan.

However, Hewlett-Packard said it is working with the U.S. government on the issue and declined comment. Dell did not respond to AP inquiries about the matter.

HP is No. 1 and Dell No. 2 in global PC sales and also are large players in the Chinese market.

Shortly after media reports that the government would delay Green Dam, a government official was quoted in the China Daily on Thursday as saying the requirement would still be made.

"The government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam. It's just a matter of time," an official, who was not named, of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told the China Daily.

Lenovo will make “adjustments” as necessary, Fair said in the Lenovo statement.

“We will continue to monitor closely developments regarding Green Dam as they relate to our China PC sales and will make further adjustments according to market and customer needs,” she said.