back to article Server buyers ask Lenovo for made-in-Mexico models instead of Chinese kit

Some server-buyers are asking Lenovo to supply equipment made in Mexico rather than gear made in China. So says Nutanix senior veep and head of Asia-Pacific-and-Japan Matt Young, who in conversation with The Register today said he’s aware of buyers in India who’ve made the request. Security suspicions are one reason some …

  1. nematoad Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "...that has seen some organisations divest made-in-China products "

    You know I have been trying to do the same, on a personal basis and it's bloody hard.

    Chinese sourced goods seem to be everywhere even with reputable sellers. For example, having been let down with some truly awful drill bits that were Chinese made I decided to go for a set of Bosch ones. I have use their Forstner bits in the past and they are excellent. I can't remember why I didn't get some when I needed some twist bits. However, the bits came and look good and work well. Then I saw a tiny label on the bottom of the box "Made in China". My perceptions of both the bits and Bosch have plummeted. I thought I was getting stuff made in Austria and now it turns out I might have been palmed off with the product of some back-street workshop.

    Knowing Bosch's reputation I hope not, but getting stuff made In China is not what I want both for quality and political reasons.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      I too am finding it almost impossible to buy products across the board that aren't made in China. Bosch are getting bad at this, and anything that involves moving, non-electronic parts seems doomed to fail sooner rather than later. And personally I'm getting fed up with seeing products stating Designed in [Not China], made in China.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why do you want to stop buying things made in China now? What is different now compared to two or even ten years ago?

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Who said anything about stopping buying Chinese made stuff now?

          I've been trying for over five years. Things have changed but only for the worse. You can't get away from Chinese made stuff, a lot of it is poor quality and the actions of Xi Jinping only add salt to the wound.

          1. -tim

            I'm finding that it takes more research to avoid made in China but it can be done. Most of my new servers have motherboards, power supplies and drives that aren't made in China but the Ryzen CPUs are. My home solar system has some of the roof mounts that are made in China but the rest is made in Australia, Canada, Malaysia or Finland. The new floor I had installed was made in Germany. New kitchen tap was made in New Zealand but used Chinese made cartridges which failed and were replaced by Spanish ones. New tyres were made in the UK. I haven't bought an electronic device over $120 that was made in China in more than a year. China is involved in a trade war and I'm not going to play that game and I don't have to if I read labels.

          2. Facts-are-Facts

            Chines products are junk but the irony is most reputed Western companies make their products in China.

            Thank the politicians for opening the doors and thank the corporate honchos for rushing in to feed their greed.

        2. Mark Exclamation

          If you have to ask that question, you need to get your head out of the sand.

    2. Alumoi

      Two words: quality control.

      If a product made in China for #famous_brand doesn't pass the quality check it is then reported as destroyed and sold under some Chinese brand. If it passes it's labeled as #famous_brand and sold to foreign devils :)

  2. Peter2 Silver badge

    To be honest, given that China killed twenty Indian soldiers a month or so ago while trying to move a disputed border in their favour it's hardly surprising that Indians are trying to avoid buying from China. Can you imagine what people would be saying or doing if a country killed twenty of our troops in a border skirmish?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BAe Systems would sign a big military contract with that country, with help from uk.gov?

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Wow, you're right. I couldn't believe it, so I went looking and, damn. 20 men dead and not a shot was fired. Unbelievable.

      A century ago this would have meant war.

      It still could, apparently.

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      It was more like a border brawl. The reason why so many people were killed is that when you brawl on the side of a cliff people are going to fall off.

      No military weapons were involved in this conflict. (We can be greatful for small mercies.)

      1. Mark Exclamation

        No *modern* military weapons, but the Chinese used pre-made clubs with nails poking out. Completely pre-meditated on their side. I would call it murder.

    4. rcxb Silver badge

      Can you imagine what people would be saying or doing if a country killed twenty of our troops in a border skirmish?

      A border skirmish? Hmm. Something along the lines of:

      "Wow, I guess Atlantis is real after all. I, for one, welcome our new fish-man overlords."

  3. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    Devil

    Just because your kit isn't made in China, Lenovo is still a Chinese (Hong Kong) company and beholden to the CCP. The Triads..er..umm...PLA may still kidnap your data if you use it.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Agreed

      If you are worried the devices are compromised, Security 101 would tell you that you should assume the alteration is deep enough that having the integration take place in Mexico isn't going to help. You should change vendors. Having said that, you should also insist none of the components were made in China including seemingly innocuous things like connectors. There's no reason to believe the Chinese are not the equals (or even superior) to the NSA in this area:

      "The NSA has also developed a set of tiny surveillance electronics dubbed HOWLERMONKEY that hides within computer hardware, such as an ordinary Ethernet port, Appelbaum said. The one pictured above, dubbed FIREWALK, looks no different to a standard RJ45 socket, but can inject data into and slurp any bytes from packets coming through the physical connection automatically, and relay the information back to base via a radio link." from

      https://www.theregister.com/2013/12/31/nsa_weapons_catalogue_promises_pwnage_at_the_speed_of_light/?page=2

      Also see

      https://www.theregister.com/2013/07/29/lenovo_accused_backdoors_intel_ban/

      And for the truly worried, once you've received your hopefully "safe" kit, have multiple independent security outfits have a go at it looking for compromises since there are other governments out there that do this kind of stuff.

      1. cyberdemon
        Devil

        Re: Agreed

        Perhaps, but I'd be skeptical about those two. Not all of the NSA hardware has to actually -work- in order to achieve the desired effect. In fact, I'd hazard to say that the ones that they leak to the press are probably the ones that never actually worked, e.g. the radio link is too unreliable - but they still serve as a useful deterrent against those who might otherwise try to hide stuff from the NSA.

        But your point stands, and I'd expect that the Chinese secret service has a hell of a lot more resources than the poor old NSA. The Chinese are well known for inserting chips into your laptops as you enter the country (perhaps a simple keylogger, perhaps something else) and then removing them when you leave.

        It's scary that they are departing from western-made technologies even faster than we are trying to boycott theirs. That just feels like a precursor to War, if I have ever felt one.

    2. nielhirjee

      The PLA has data of all the low cost GPS devices which we use - these use subsidiary of Baidu and PM Modi is busy banning Chinese app in India instead of doing something about this. The man is a genius.

  4. Wolfclaw

    So made in China, shipped to Mexico, change the label, distribute world wide, problem solved, Lenovo keeps costs down, PRC keeps on spying, allegedly.

    1. Abominator

      Thats what happens with aluminium ingot imports to the US.

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Part Sourced?

    The final assembly point is not that important. Parts can be shipped around the world to an assembly point. So the real question is where were the parts made. I tend to doubt the core parts are NA sourced but come from the PRC. So Mexican assembly is meaningless.

    1. Wormy

      Re: Part Sourced?

      It may be meaningless from a security standpoint, but that's not what most of the importing companies actually care about (probably). That may be what the Indian government claims to care about, but the companies importing the kit almost certainly care more about the delays with kit sitting on in a customs warehouse when they need it than they do about the minimal security risks.

      Security is likely just the buzzword they use to pressure the vendor to bring in kit from a country that's not likely to get it held up in customs.

      1. Missing Semicolon

        Re: Part Sourced?

        Extra plus from the USA standpoint - increased trade with Mexico will make Mexico a friendlier nation.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Part Sourced?

      Given the woeful level of ignorance about both technology and supply chains its worth the extra trouble to get a bunch of brainless bureaucrats off your back.

  6. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Let's hope China doesn't tacOffence!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feel better now?

    Look for the "Made in Mexico" label of quality and security.

    -PRC (look no hands)

  8. Ringo Star

    But why? It's still a Chinese company. I doubt they have people manufacturing the boards, making the silicon, doing the pick and place on the boards in Mexico, or do they? Surely they are just assembling Chinese made electronics but in a factory in Mexico, so what's the difference?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of Motorola

    Legend said they had a factory in Israel. Neighbouring sandy lands would not touch the kit with “made in Israel” for... reasons.

    Sales improved when their Israeli factory streamlined their build process to add a reel of labels at the end of the product line, one saying made in Israel for the rest of the world, and made in England for Sandy lands.

    Yeah of course our kit was made by a Chinese company in Mexico. Look, it even says hecho en Mexico on the box! Trust us!

    Ac because some sandy lands don’t have a sense of humour...

  10. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4

    I don't buy it

    I don't buy the security suspicions argument.

    Lenovo are quite capable of putting surveillance technology into their Mexican production line if they choose.

    If you're worried about that, don't buy Lenovo (like I don't).

  11. sketharaman

    Nutanix for Lenovo

    What exactly is the locus standi of Nutanix's VP to talk about Lenovo? What makes him so confident that he can make assurances like "Lenovo will go out of its way to make sure the customer is happy” on behalf of another company?

  12. Facts-are-Facts

    Doe it matter?

    Lenovo still have to spy for China when told to do so. It is Chinese law.

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