Updated May 22, 2023 - Economy

Chinese agency claims U.S. chipmaker Micron poses national security risk

The Micron logo is pictured in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, March 31, 2023.

Photo: CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

China's government told operators of "critical information infrastructure" to stop buying Micron Technology's products Sunday and claimed the U.S. chipmaker threatened national security.

Driving the news: The Cyberspace Administration of China's claims, which a U.S. Commerce Department spokesperson in a statement to media Sunday evening said had "no basis in fact," followed a security review of the Idaho-based firm.

  • The CAC in a statement claimed Micron failed the review, which it said posed "a major security risk" to China's "key information infrastructure supply chain" and threatened the country's national security.
  • The statement did not detail any specific risks.

What we're watching: Micron said in a statement to news outlets it's "evaluating the conclusion" of the CAC report, assessing next steps and looked forward to "continuing to engage in discussions with Chinese authorities."

What they're saying: The Commerce Department spokesperson said it "firmly" opposed the restrictions on Micron.

  • "This action, along with recent raids and targeting of other American firms, is inconsistent with [Beijing's] assertions that it is opening its markets and committed to a transparent regulatory framework," the spokesperson added.

The big picture: The CAC's investigation into Micron and its findings come as the U.S. and other democracies accelerate a tech decoupling from China, with the United States, Japan and United Kingdom last week announcing major chip and quantum computing investments.

  • The Biden administration last October imposed export restrictions aimed at hobbling Beijing's ability to make advanced semiconductors, and the Netherlands and Japan later greatly curtailed their exports of leading-edge chipmaking gear to China.
  • In December, the Biden administration added the memory chipmaker YMTC and other Chinese firms to a trade blacklist.

Flashback: America's chipmakers go to war vs. China

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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