The Beijing city government has bought an awful lot of Microsoft software. After cancelling a controversial Rmb29m ($3.5m) order for the US company's Office suite and Windows operating system late last year, the Beijing city government has decided to push through the purchase of Office and Windows products in spite of widespread local opposition.

Under China's Law on Government Procurement, big government purchases must be "open and transparent" - but this deal looks pretty hush hush; the Government have refusal to make public any information about the purchases.

The city's finance department and its "Office of Informatisation" declined yesterday to give details of Beijing's software spending since the cancellation of the tender won by the US company last year.

The tender for Microsoft software was scrapped after local software companies complained it had been mishandled and local commentators criticised it for not giving enough support to local vendors.

However, a municipal official with knowledge of its technology policy said the city bought Microsoft's products anyway and that its purchases from the US company "were greater than those made from domestic vendors".