A prominent US lawmaker is urging Washington to strike back against China for its decision to bar Micron Technology Inc.’s memory chips, threatening to further inflame tensions between the two countries.
Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican who leads an influential Chinese-focused Congressional committee, wants Changxin Memory Technologies Inc. placed on a blacklist that effectively bars dealings with American firms. That’s in response to Beijing this week blocking Micron from supplying Chinese critical infrastructure on national security grounds, an unusual move that’s already ignited accusations of over-reach on both sides.
Gallagher wants Changxin on a list that already encompasses many of China’s largest technology companies, including networking leader Huawei Technologies Co. and largest storage firm Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. The Entities List blocks the shipment of everything from American software to circuitry without licenses, effectively preventing access to the building blocks of much of modern technology.
Washington should also lean on allies such as South Korea to try and prevent Micron’s peers from stepping in to fill the void in China, argued Gallagher, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. dominate the world’s supply of memory chips, which power most electronics as well as servers and smartphones.
“This is the latest example of PRC economic coercion, designed to intimidate the U.S. government from implementing export controls and harass the U.S. companies that abide by them,” Gallagher, who’s known for his hawkish stance on China, wrote in a statement.
“The Commerce Department should also ensure no U.S.-export licenses granted to foreign semiconductor memory firms operating in the PRC are used to backfill Micron, and our South Korean allies, who have experienced exactly this kind of CCP economic coercion firsthand in recent years, should likewise act to prevent backfilling.”
Changxin Memory is one of a handful of major Chinese firms that embody Beijing’s ambitions to match the US technologically, particularly in the semiconductors that drive most advances from AI to self-driving cars. It plans to file for a domestic initial public offering this year that could value the Chinese chipmaker north of $14.5 billion, a milestone debut that could help galvanize the country’s technology aspirations.
Changxin is already one of the largest Chinese makers of DRAM storage chips, an industry that could serve as a launchpad for more advanced semiconductor development down the road.