In brief: China's largest manufacturer of 3D NAND Flash chips and 30 other companies will not be able to acquire US technology anymore. The Commerce Department is ramping up its fight with Beijing to curb further development of the country's military capabilities. For the time being, at least.
According to new rumors coming from Washington, the US Government is ready to further increase its pressure on China's high-tech industry. The US Commerce Department is seemingly preparing new, high-profile additions to its infamous Entity List, making the companies involved unable to obtain US-made technology and components.
The list of companies that would be essentially banned from the US market as early as this week, the rumors say, include Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) and more than 30 other enterprises. YMTC, a partially state-owned company headquartered in Wuhan, is China's largest manufacturer of 3D NAND Flash products. The company was recently in talks with Apple to provide memory chips for future iPhone releases, but its addition to the Entity List would likely end the discussion for good.
If confirmed, the new decision coming from Washington would be just the latest – and possibly the largest – escalation in the US-China clash over technology provisioning. The Biden Administration is allegedly trying to put even more political pressure on China's communist dictatorship, avoiding further development of companies that are supporting Beijing's military industry.
Yangtze Memory and other chipmaking companies were already put on the US Commerce Department's Unverified List in October, pending inspections of the Chinese organizations by US officials. Once on the Unverified List, companies have a 60-day period to prove that their business is not involved in any activity that could pose a threat to US national security.
This time, Beijing was seemingly willing to co-operate with Washington to avoid losing access to critical US technology, with China's Ministry of Commerce "helping" YMTC and other companies to comply with US official checks to prove they were doing nothing wrong.
The rumored update to the Unverified List would come while the aforementioned checks are still ongoing, making YMTC and other ventures unable to purchase equipment, software and components manufactured by US-based companies. The blacklisting could be just temporary, if Washington and Beijing are still willing to ease the tension a bit, or it could further deteriorate the relationship between the two countries and their respective technology industries.