Applied Materials under criminal investigation for allegedly evading chip controls on China

Asian Tech Press (Nov 17) -- U.S. chip equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc. is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly evading chip export controls on China, according to Reuters.

Citing sources, the report said Applied Materials shipped equipment to China's largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) through South Korea without an export license.

The equipment in question was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

Applied Materials said Thursday that it first disclosed in October 2022 that it had received a subpoena from the US Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts for information about shipments to certain Chinese customers.

In a statement, the chip equipment supplier said, "The company is cooperating with the government and remains committed to compliance with global laws, including export controls and trade regulations."

When asked about the issue at a regular press conference on Friday, Mao Ning, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said China has repeatedly stated its position on U.S. export controls on chips to China.

"The U.S. should stop politicizing, instrumentalizing and weaponizing economic, trade and science and technology issues, and stop disrupting the stability of the global production and supply chain," Mao said.

She concluded, "China will pay close attention to the relevant movements and resolutely safeguard its own rights and interests."

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