Synopsys probed for allegedly passing key technology to Huawei, SMIC

Asian Tech Press (Apr. 14) -- U.S. semiconductor software company Synopsys Inc. is being probed for allegedly passing key technology to banned Chinese companies Huawei and SMIC.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is looking into allegations that Synopsys, worked with its Chinese affiliates, provided chip designs and software to Huawei Technologies Co.'s HiSilicon unit for production by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC).

U.S. companies are barred from selling certain types of technology to Huawei and SMIC because they have been designated as threats to national security by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security.

Synopsys disclosed in December that it had received a subpoena from BIS related to "transactions with certain Chinese entities," but did not specify when it received the request or provide further details.

California-based Synopsys and its rival Cadence Design Systems Inc. dominate the market for software used to design semiconductors, and their products are essential to Chinese chipmakers.

Like many other U.S. companies, Synopsys has done business with Chinese customers through joint ventures in China, the world's largest chip market.

Huawei, a network equipment maker and once one of the world's largest smartphone producers, was added to the U.S. Entity list in May 2019. China's largest chipmaker SMIC was placed under restrictions in December 2020. Both Chinese companies have denied any wrongdoing.

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