(Adds comment from U.S. consulting firms)
May 25 China has told its state-owned
enterprises to sever links with American consulting firms just
days after the United States charged five Chinese military
officers with hacking U.S. companies, the Financial Times
reported on Sunday.
China's action, which targets companies like McKinsey &
Company and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), stems from fears
the firms are providing trade secrets to the U.S. government,
the FT reported, citing unnamed sources close to senior Chinese
"We haven't received any notification of this kind," said
Margaret Kashmir, a spokeswoman for Strategy& - formerly Booz &
Company - in an email, adding that serving clients in China and
globally continues to be the company's main priority.
"We are unaware of any government mandates," added Bain &
Company spokeswoman Cheryl Krauss.
A McKinsey spokeswoman did not return a call seeking
comment. A spokeswoman for BCG was not immediately able to
The companies have large operations in China, the FT
reported. McKinsey, BCG and Strategy& all have Chinese state
enterprises as clients, the newspaper said.
China warned this week it would retaliate if Washington
pressed ahead with allegations that the Chinese officers hacked
into U.S. nuclear, metal and solar companies, including Alcoa
Inc, Allegheny Technologies Inc, United States
Steel Corp, Toshiba Corp unit Westinghouse
Electric Co, the U.S. subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG
and a steelworkers' union.
Officials in Washington have argued for years that cyber
espionage is a top national security concern.
The May 19 indictment was the first criminal hacking charge
the United States has filed against specific foreign officials.
It follows a steady increase in public criticism and private
confrontation, including at a summit last year between U.S.
President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In the wake of the charges, Chinese media labeled the U.S.
government a "high-level hooligan," while officials in Beijing
accused Washington of "double standards" on issues of cyber
China also said it would investigate providers of IT
products and services to guard "national security," and
"economic and social development." It also banned new central
government computers from using Windows 8, Microsoft Corp's
latest operating system.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ in New York; editing by Paul Simao
and G Crosse)