The United States has added seven Chinese companies developing supercomputers to its trade blacklist for posing a threat to national security.
As a result, American companies are no longer allowed to cooperate with or supply parts to Chinese companies without government permission.
These include Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, and the national supercomputing centres of Jinan, Shenzhen, Wuxi and Zhengzhou. According to the US Department of Commerce, they are all active in developing supercomputers for the Chinese military, modernizing China’s arsenal of weapons, or creating weapons of mass destruction.
“Supercomputer capabilities are vital to the development of many – if not nearly all – modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear and hypersonic weapons,” said US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. Its ministry will “use its powers to the fullest to prevent China from harnessing US technology in destabilizing military modernization.”
Blacklisting the seven institutions doesn’t cut them off entirely from American technology. Therefore, foreign companies that make chips with American parts can still do business with the Chinese companies.
With its sanctions against the Chinese telecom group Huawei, the US went even further with the so-called ‘foreign direct product’ rule. The Americans thus impose that chip manufacturers need a license if they want to use American equipment to make semiconductors for Huawei.