In a move that seems to mirror the actions of its geopolitical rivals, China has taken the decision to sanction US-based chipmaker Micron on national security grounds. The Cyberspace Administration of China has completed its review of the company and concluded that its products pose a threat to the nation’s security. As a result, operators responsible for key national information infrastructure, which includes IT and telecoms sectors, are now banned from using Micron products.
Although the source material has not been published in English, several reports confirm the nature of the decision. It is somewhat surprising that such a move took this long, given that the US has been banning the use of products from Chinese vendors for years and shows no signs of stopping its efforts to undermine the Chinese tech sector.
Micron is known for specializing in RAM and flash storage, as opposed to processors, making it relatively straightforward for their products to be replaced by equivalents from market leaders, such as Samsung and SK Hynix. Faced with the inevitability of Micron’s sanctions, the US took preemptive action last month by applying pressure to the South Korean government to intervene and prevent the replacement process from happening. It remains to be seen how effective this pressure will prove to be.
This latest development between China and the US highlights the increasing likelihood of retaliation from both parties, each side taking unilateral aggressive actions against the other. The potential for escalation in tit-for-tat moves is virtually limitless, with countless other US companies that could be targeted by China under the guise of national security concerns. This ongoing exchange of blows is sure to prompt swift and equivalent responses, with no end in sight.
As the situation continues to unfold, it is crucial for all parties involved in the tech and telecommunications sectors to remain informed and vigilant.