US Entity List bans hit AMD joint venture

Five Chinese companies added to list of companies acting against US national security.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The Trump administration added a quintet of companies to its Entity List last week, including the AMD joint venture Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Company (THATIC).

Coming into effect on Monday, the ban dated 18 June from the US Department of Commerce limits export licences and requires US companies to gain approval to transact with them.

The five entities added are:

  • Hygon, and two aliases Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit and Chengdu Haiguang Jincheng Dianlu Sheji;
  • HMC, and a pair of aliases Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology and Chengdu Haiguang Wei Dianzi Jishu;
  • Higon and five aliases Higon Information Technology, Haiguang Xinxi Jishu Youxian Gongsi, THATIC, Tianjing Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment, and Tianjing Haiguang Xianjin Jishu Touzi Youxian Gongsi;
  • Sugon and its aliases including Dawning, Dawning Information Industry, Sugon Information Industry, Shuguang, Shuguang Information Industry, Zhongke Dawn, Zhongke Shuguang, Dawning Company, and Tianjin Shuguang Computer Industry
  • Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology, and two aliases Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology and JICT.

"There is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States," the Department of Commerce said.

Sugon and the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology was of particular attention for the department due to its work on the Chinese development of supercomputers.

"Sugon has publicly acknowledged a variety of military end uses and end users of its high-performance computers," the department said.

"Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology is owned by the 56th Research Institute of the General Staff of China's People's Liberation Army. Its mission is to support China's military modernization."

Also see: Huawei compares US trade restrictions against it to the Berlin Wall

AMD's Chinese joint venture was announced in April 2016 and focused on the server market. AMD and THATIC agreed to develop server CPUs, but did not cover GPUs.

The new listings join Huawei and ZTE on the Entity List.

Speaking in Shenzhen last week, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said the Chinese giant would look to switch out some of its technical foundations, which could hit US component makers, after which the company would become stronger.

"We are strong, I think there is no way we will be beaten to death," he said.

Ren also brushed aside accusations of intellectual property theft by the company, saying the company has always behaved itself.

"Even if we were small, we have very strong business ethics and integrity, otherwise we cannot come to where we are today," Ren said.

"The claims of Huawei theft of IPR, that's not possible."

The US Consumer Technology Association released a report last week stating the trade war would increase prices for electronic goods across the board.

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