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China bans Micron chips over “national security” concerns

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  • 3 min read

After launching an investigation into Micron early in April, China has now banned the sale of some Micron products in the country. 

The decision is being seen as a response to the US-China economic competition and to the US banning multiple Chinese tech companies from selling their products on US soil in the past.

According to the Chinese Cyberspace Administration, domestic firms that provide “key information infrastructure” have to stop buying from Micron as its products apparently have serious cybersecurity issues that “pose a big risk to the country’s key information supply chains, raising cybersecurity concerns”.

Of course, the Chinese announcement doesn’t mention it, instead saying that the “purpose of this network security review of Micron’s products is to prevent product network security problems from endangering the security of national critical information infrastructure, which is a necessary measure to maintain national security”.

Micron is well known for producing computer memory and data storage devices.

The announcement didn’t include the exact issues with Micron products, instead citing the Chinese Cybersecurity Law. Passed in 2016, it’s generally aimed at strengthening the Chinese government’s grip on the internet inside the country.

China is one of Micron’s biggest markets, third-largest to be exact. The country accounted for 10.7% of Micron’s revenue in 2022. In its 2022 annual report, Micron did have the foresight to see this coming, as the Chinese government heavily invests in the semiconductor industry and that it might restrict Micron from selling in the country as well. 

Other than that, the ban might also benefit Micron competitors like Samsung and SK Hynix, but the Financial Times has reported the US has been asking South Korea to not aid China in filling the market gap left by Micron’s ban. 

The ban might seem to indicate that Chinese efforts to close down US’ technological advancement, at least in the semiconductor industry have been successful to some degree as it can now start relying on home-made chips.

The US Department of Commerce has opposed the restrictions stating that they have “no basis in fact” and that it’ll be engaging directly with the Chinese government to state its position and clarify their actions. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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