China electronics

China opens probe into US chipmaker Micron

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The Chinese government has opened a cyber-security investigation into US chip manufacturer Micron, citing national security concerns.

China's cyber-space regulator has announced it will conduct a cyber-security review of products sold in the country by US-based Micron Technology, in what has been perceived as a retaliatory measure against US trade restrictions. 

According to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the decision is aimed at protecting the security of the supply chain for critical information infrastructure, preventing hidden risks and safeguarding national security. 

The agency specifically cited “security risks caused by hidden product problems” in chips sold by Micron in China as a cause for concern.

The company has responded by saying it is collaborating with the investigation. 

“Micron is committed to conducting all business with uncompromising integrity and we stand by the security of our products and our commitments to customers,” a company spokesperson said.

The CAC announcement was made on the same day that Japan revealed it would restrict the sale of advanced chip manufacturing equipment to China, following in the footsteps of the Netherlands and other nations. 

The claims are also strikingly similar to the accusations made by the Trump and Biden administrations against Chinese manufacturers.

The US has restricted China’s access to semiconductor technology since at least 2019 when the Trump administration banned Huawei from buying vital US technology. In August 2022, the US further prohibited the export of four technologies tied to semiconductor manufacturing, citing how they were “vital to national security” and signed an “historic” bill aimed at boosting the domestic production of semiconductors.

In December, China launched a trade dispute at the World Trade Organisation against the US’ chip export control measures, saying the curbs “threaten the stability of the global industrial supply chains”. 

Micron derives around 10 per cent of its revenue from China, but the announcement did not make clear whether the review would affect the company's sales to non-Chinese customers in the country, which form the bulk of the company's customers in the region. 

The CAC has given no details regarding which Micron products it was reviewing.

Last month, E&T analysed how the latest waves of sanctions could affect Chinese tech manufacturers. 

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