Trump administration blacklists China's largest chipmaker

SMIC headquarters
SMIC headquarters (Image credit: SMIC)

What you need to know

  • The Trump administration has added SMIC to a blacklist of entities with alleged ties to the Chinese military.
  • The move is the latest in a series of restrictions placed on the manufacturer over the course of the year.
  • At this point, it's unclear if the Biden administration will overturn these changes once the president-elect takes office next month.

The Trump administration has added Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China's largest chipmaker, to a blacklist of entities that have alleged ties to the Chinese military. The move is the latest in a series of restrictions that were put on the chip manufacturer over the course of the year.

A few months ago, the U.S. government mandated that U.S. companies will need a license to do business with SMIC after stating that the company posed an "unacceptable risk of diversion to a military end use in the People's Republic of China."

SMIC relies on U.S. equipment in its manufacturing facilities, and the move restricts its ability to get the requisite hardware it needs to set up a new fabrication plant. SMIC lags behind the likes of Samsung LSI and TSMC when it comes to foundry innovation, but the Chinese government has invested over $3 billion this year to establish new production facilities.

China is increasingly looking to reduce its reliance on the U.S. in the semiconductor segment, but it still needs equipment and patents that are owned by U.S. businesses. With the Trump administration out the door in just over a month, we'll have to wait and see how Biden approaches this particular situation.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • Wow so Qualcomm get the OK to with huawei then SMIC ask to work with them again and the USA blacklist them. I'm sorry but Trump is really starting to show his true colours and not orange 😂😂. The sooner he is our the better.
  • Yep, entire world will be a better place when he's gone.
  • The world will be a much better place when ppl /counties finally wake up and get some balls to stand up to China. As far as I'm concerned Trump is the only person in power that actually spoke up and called out China for the virus, they way they handled it and of course for continuing to steal IP from the U S.
  • While our Presidents return to the private sector can't come soon enough I'm not so sure Biden will be as soft on China as some predict.