US sets restrictions on China’s biggest chipmaker, citing military fears

The Beijing department of Semiconductor Manufacturing Worldwide Company.

Su Weizhong/Getty Photographs

US wariness of Chinese language tech corporations was underlined once more Friday, when the Commerce Division despatched a letter to corporations within the states reportedly telling them they have to get a license earlier than exporting sure items to China’s largest chipmaker, out of issues about navy use of expertise.

The Commerce Division mentioned within the letter that exports to Semiconductor Manufacturing Worldwide Company “might pose an unacceptable risk of diversion to a military end use within the Individuals’s Republic of China,” in line with a Saturday report by The New York Instances.

Final yr, the US positioned restrictions on corporations promoting gear to Chinese language telecommunications large Huawei, over concerns about Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese government and fears that its tools could possibly be used to spy on different international locations and firms.

And standard video app TikTok, owned by Chinese language firm ByteDance, is at the moment facing a potential ban in the US due to worries that the consumer information it collects could possibly be shared with China’s communist authorities. Each Huawei and ByteDance have known as such issues baseless.

The Instances notes that although SMIC is China’s most technologically superior producer of semiconductors, it lags years behind industry-leading chipmakers and might’t make chips that assist essentially the most cutting-edge functions. And for the processors it does make, it depends on tools and software program from American corporations, the Instances mentioned.

Requested in regards to the Commerce Division’s letter and the brand new export restrictions, a spokesperson for the Commerce Division’s Bureau of Business and Safety mentioned in an announcement to PJDM that the BIS cannot remark “on any particular matter.” 

The BIS “is consistently monitoring and assessing any potential threats to US nationwide safety and overseas coverage pursuits,” the spokesperson added, and “will take acceptable motion as warranted,” together with its interagency companions.

SMIC mentioned the corporate makes chips and offers companies solely for industrial and civilian clients and functions and has no relationship with the Chinese language navy.

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Edward Moyer