China Bans Micron From Key Infrastructure

China’s internet regulator has banned chips made by US semiconductor firm Micron from being used by operators of critical infrastructure, after finding the company’s products posed a “major security risk”.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said a network security review announced in late March found Micron’s products pose “serious potential network security issues” for the country’s critical information infrastructure supply chain.

The decision could affect sectors such as telecoms, transport and finance under the CAC’s definition of critical information infrastructure.

“The review found that 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 CAC said in a statement on Sunday.

Image credit: Sergei Starostin/Pexels

Critical infrastructure

It ordered critical information infrastructure operators to stop purchasing Micron products, citing the Network Security Law introduced in September 2021 that imposed stricter requirements on operators in areas such as data security.

The regulator did not give details of what risks it had found or in which Micron products it had found them.

Micron said the company had received the CAC’s notice and was “evaluating the conclusion and assessing our next steps”.

“We look forward to continuing to engage in discussions with Chinese authorities,” the company said in a statement provided to Silicon UK.

‘Distortions’

The US government said in response that it would work with allies to address “distortions of the memory chip market caused by China’s actions”.

“We firmly oppose restrictions that have no basis in fact,” the US Commerce Department said.

“This action, along with recent raids and targeting of other American firms, is inconsistent with [China’s] assertions that it is opening its markets and committed to a transparent regulatory framework.”

The CAC announcement came a day after G7 leaders meeting in Japan issued a joint statement that criticised China’s use of “economic coercion”.

Political tensions

On Sunday US president Joe Biden said the G7 countries were looking to “de-risk and diversify our relationship with China”, including “taking steps to diversify our supply chains”.

The US has imposed a series of export controls on Chinese chip firms that seek to prevent them from developing advanced manufacturing capabilities, amidst growing tensions between the two countries.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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