BEIJING, China (AFP)—US semiconductor giant Micron has failed a national security review, China’s cybersecurity watchdog said Sunday, telling operators of “critical information infrastructure” to stop buying its products.
It marked the latest escalation in the bitter chip war between the United States and China, with Washington looking to cut off Beijing’s access to cutting-edge semiconductors.
Chinese authorities had launched a review in March of products sold in the country by Micron, one of the world’s major chip manufacturers.
Micron’s products “have relatively serious potential network security issues, which pose a major security risk to China’s critical information infrastructure supply chain and affect China’s national security”, the cybersecurity administration said in a statement.
“Operators of critical information infrastructure in China should stop purchasing Micron products.”
China’s broad definition of critical information infrastructure includes sectors ranging from transport to healthcare.
About 10 percent of Micron’s $30.8 billion annual revenue last year came from China, according to company data.
But a large portion of Micron products sold in the country were bought by foreign manufacturers, analysts had said earlier, and it was not clear if the cybersecurity watchdog’s decision affects sales to foreign buyers.
AFP has reached out to Micron for comment on the cybersecurity administration’s announcement.
China in 2021 announced rules to protect critical information infrastructure with stricter requirements over data security.
It has recently also strengthened the enforcement of its data security and anti-espionage laws.
The chip war between Beijing and Washington escalated last year when the United States imposed restrictions on China’s access to high-end chips, chipmaking equipment and software used to design semiconductors.
Washington also blacklisted Chinese firms, including Micron rival Yangtze Memory Technologies Co Ltd.
Washington cited national security concerns, and said it wanted to prevent tech that could help develop advanced military equipment from being acquired by China’s armed forces and intelligence services.
The United States imposed targeted controls on the ability of domestic industry leaders to sell their products overseas.