Blacklisted China Chip Giant YMTC Cuts ‘Hundreds’ Of Staff

Chinese memory giant YMTC reportedly cutting up to 10 percent of workforce after being placed on US Entity List in December

China’s biggest memory chip maker, Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YMTC), is reportedly laying off hundreds of staff after being placed on a key US trade blacklist.

The news comes as the US administration is said to have reached an agreement with the Netherlands and Japan for the two allies to restrict the export of advanced chipmaking equipment to Chinese firms.

But YMTC faces far more stringent controls than other Chinese chipmakers after being placed on the US’ Entity List in December.

The move bars US companies from selling products or services to YMTC without a licence.

ASML's TWINSCAN NXE:3400B semiconductor lithography tool. ASML chip
ASML’s TWINSCAN NXE:3400B semiconductor lithography tool. Image credit: ASML

Economic sanctions

Following a round of US restrictions in October targeting Chinese chipmakers, YMTC was still recruiting new graduates with generous salary packages, the South China Morning Post reported.

But the Wuhan-based company is now laying off up to 10 percent of its nearly 6,000 staff, the Hong Kong newspaper reported.

The paper cited an unnamed source and said it had spoken with an unidentified former YMTC employee who wrote about the layoffs on social media.

The former employee’s post on social media platform Zhihu gained public attention after the person wrote YMTC had asked him to pay back a subsidy it had given him to purchase local housing.

National security

Last year Apple said it was considering adding YMTC to its list of memory suppliers for the iPhone, earning it a sharp rebuke from US lawmakers.

The US administration argues China’s efforts to manufacture advanced chips rather than importing them presents a national security risk.