Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Remember WAPI?

According an article on Sina.com, the WAPI Indutrial Union is indicating that there will be volume shipments of WAPI products this year. There will be more than 30 WAPI certified products on the market and Lenovo has a line of WAPI laptops. In fact, the MII has a document that requires government purchase programs to first consider WPAI products. The WAPI Industrial Union forecasts hundreds of millions of dollars in sales of WAPI products just for 2007.

It's been a while since I last read about WAPI (Wireless Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure). Wiki has a good definition here. WAPI is the Chinese technology standard for WLAN networking. Although the focus appears to be on security and national interest, the Chinese government is effectively shutting out foreign vendors from the Chinese wireless home networking market. The WAPI specs are only disclosed to 11 Chinese vendors and any foreign vendor who wants to make WAPI products would have to work with one of these 11 vendors. Although the Chinese government wants to set up its own technology standard, such tactics maybe considered technology trade barriers and harm the long-term development of Chinese technology companies. The South Korean government is taking a different route. It wanted to push its own mobile broadband standard WiBro but later folded it into Mobile WiMAX, so that Korean power houses such as Samsung and LG can leverage their early to market advantage and become strong mobile WiMAX competitors on a worldwide basis.

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