China Issues Ban on US Chipmaker Products

Security

China has banned products sold by US chipmaker giant Micron, citing cybersecurity concerns.

The Cyberspace Administration of China announced the decision on May 21, 2023, following a cybersecurity review of Micron products sold in China that was initiated in March 2023.

In the statement, the Chinese government said the review had flagged “serious cybersecurity problems” with Micron products, “which posed major risks to China’s critical information infrastructure supply chain and affected China’s national security.”

As a result, “operators of critical information infrastructure in China should stop purchasing Micron products.”

The specific cybersecurity concerns were not explained, although the Cyberspace Administration of China cited the country’s cyber and information security laws as the reason.

The US Commerce Department was quick to condemn the decision, stating: “We have seen the announcement by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) regarding Micron. We firmly oppose restrictions that have no basis in fact. This action, along with recent raids and targeting of other American firms, is inconsistent with the PRC’s assertions that it is opening its markets and committed to a transparent regulatory framework.”

The US government agency added that it will be engaging with allies and partners “to ensure we are closely coordinated to address distortions of the memory chip market caused by China’s actions.”

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Micron said it is “evaluating the decision” and looking “forward to continuing to engage with discussions with Chinese authorities.”

The announcement has come amid growing geopolitical tensions between the US and China, which has spilt over into fields such as semiconductor chip manufacturing and cybersecurity.

For example, the US has placed heavy restrictions on semiconductor sales to Chinese tech giant Huawei in recent years, while the same company has faced substantial restrictions on access to countries like the US and UK.

Additionally, the EU, US, Canada and others have recently issued restrictions on the use of Chinese social media site TikTok.

These decisions are a result of concerns about the links and data sharing relationships between the Chinese government and private companies based in the region.

Image credit: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

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