China says US chipmaker Micron failed national security review

China says US chipmaker Micron failed national security review

BEIJING: US semiconductor giant Micron has failed a national security review, China’s cybersecurity watchdog said on Sunday (May 21), 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 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 (CAC) 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.

“We have received the CAC’s notice of conclusion of its review of Micron products sold in China,” Micron said in a statement.

“We are evaluating the conclusion and assessing our next steps.”

When asked if the company will appeal the decision, a spokeswoman for Micron said: “We look forward to continuing to engage in discussions with Chinese authorities.”

About 10 per cent of Micron’s US$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.

China in 2021 announced rules to protect critical information infrastructure with stricter data security requirements.

It has recently also strengthened the enforcement of its data security and anti-espionage laws.