The Chinese government has declared that memory chips produced by American firm Micron Technology pose a national security threat. This warning came from China’s cyberspace regulator, which indicated that the US’s largest memory chip manufacturer presents “serious network security risks.”
American firm Micron Technology
The proclamation implies that Micron’s products will be excluded from crucial infrastructure projects within China, the world’s second-largest economy. This marks the first significant action China has taken against a US chip producer, amid escalating tension between Washington and Beijing.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) stated, “The investigation revealed that Micron’s products have grave network security risks, posing a considerable security threat to China’s critical information infrastructure supply chain, thereby affecting China’s national security.” The CAC, however, did not elaborate on the nature of these risks or the specific Micron products where these risks were detected.
A representative from Micron verified to the BBC that the company had indeed received the CAC’s warning after an evaluation of Micron products sold in China. “We are scrutinizing the findings and determining our future course of action. We anticipate maintaining an open dialogue with Chinese authorities,” they said.
In retaliation, the US government vowed to collaborate with its allies to counteract what it terms “market distortions of the memory chip sector caused by China’s actions.” A spokesperson from the US Commerce Department said, “We sternly oppose constraints that lack factual grounding. This move, coupled with recent intrusions and the targeting of other American businesses, contradicts China’s claims of market liberalization and commitment to a transparent regulatory framework.”
The CAC’s pronouncement adds fuel to the growing conflict between Washington and Beijing, with the US implementing various actions against China’s chip manufacturing industry. The CAC’s statement was issued a day after the G7 leaders’ meeting in Japan, where a collective statement was issued criticizing China, including its use of “economic coercion.”
On the same day, US President Joe Biden expressed that G7 countries aimed to “mitigate risk and diversify our relationship with China. This necessitates diversifying our supply chains,” he stated.
Micron’s CEO, Sanjay Mehrotra, was present at the summit in Hiroshima as a part of a business leaders delegation. The company announced last week its plans to invest around 500bn yen ($3.6bn; £2.9bn) for the advancement of technology in Japan.