US units restrictions on China’s greatest chipmaker, citing navy fears

The Beijing department of Semiconductor Manufacturing Worldwide Company.

Su Weizhong/Getty Pictures

US wariness of Chinese language tech companies was underlined once more Friday, when the Commerce Division despatched a letter to firms within the states reportedly telling them they have to get a license earlier than exporting sure items to China’s largest chipmaker, due to considerations 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 response to a Saturday report by The New York Occasions.

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

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 person information it collects may very well be shared with China’s communist authorities. Each Huawei and ByteDance have referred to as such considerations baseless.

The Occasions 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 help probably the most cutting-edge functions. And for the processors it does make, it depends on tools and software program from American firms, the Occasions 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 a press release to CNET that the BIS cannot remark “on any particular matter.” 

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

SMIC did not instantly reply to CNET’s request for remark, however a spokeswoman for the corporate instructed the Occasions that SMIC makes chips solely for business and civilian functions and has no relationship with China’s armed forces.

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