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Taiwan probes Xiaomi phones over cyber security threat

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Three models of China's Xiaomi Mi phones are pictured during their launch in New Delhi in this July 15, 2014 file photo. Reuters.

Three models of China's Xiaomi Mi phones are pictured during their launch in New Delhi in this July 15, 2014 file photo. Reuters.

REUTERS

Three models of China's Xiaomi Mi phones are pictured during their launch in New Delhi in this July 15, 2014 file photo. Reuters.

The Taiwanese government is investigating whether Xiaomi, China's leading smartphone company by sales, is a cyber security threat.

The government is expected to make a decision within three months.

It's not clear whether the probe could lead to a ban on Xiaomi smartphones in China.

Some of Xiaomi's phones automatically send user data to the firm's servers in Beijing, where the company is headquartered, potentially leading to security breaches, according to a statement posted on the website of Taiwan's executive branch on Tuesday.

The probe is a reminder of the scrutiny Chinese technology firms are subjected to abroad, as governments become increasingly wary of potential cyber security threats from the world's second-biggest economy.

Concerns are also mounting that Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province, is over-reliant on the mainland.

Critics of Beijing argue that expanding economic ties allow China to influence the island's fiercely democratic politics.

The statement added that popular Japanese instant messaging service Line, owned by South Korea's Naver Corp, will be banned from use on government work-related computers, also due to security concerns.

A Line spokeswoman said the company is investigating the matter but would not provide more details. (Reuters)

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