Chinese Chipmaker Dropped by Apple Asks US Employees To Leave in Compliance With Export Restrictions

China's semiconductor industry continues to be hurt by the tightening export restrictions imposed by the U.S.

Credit: Reuters

Chinese state-owned chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YMTC) has asked its American employees in core tech positions to leave to comply with new restrictions, as the Financial Times reports.


Quoting four people close to the situation, the report claims some U.S. citizens and green card holders have already left the company, though it's still unclear how many in total would be affected.


One engineer for the Wuhan-based chipmaker said some of the Americans who have since left were key to the company’s production of NAND memory chips. NAND memory chips are non-volatile storage solutions that are commonly used in consumer electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and cameras.


The departures come amid a rush among Chinese chipmakers to comply with the new export rules unveiled by Washington this month. Under the new rules, any US citizen or entity has to seek permission from the Department of Commerce to providing support to fabrication plants in China. This includes ethnic Chinese individuals who were educated and trained in the U.S. and later returned to their birth country.


“You either give up your citizenship or quit your job,” one Chinese semiconductor executive told the Financial Times.


Lawyers also claim the U.S. commerce department is unlikely to make exceptions for any American to continue to work in China's semiconductor industry.

Credit: Reuters

Apple last week backtracked on its plans to source memory chips from YMTC for its products after the Chinese chipmaker was blacklisted by Washington. Nikkei (via Reuters) reports that the Cupertino electronics giant was initially considering purchasing up to 40% of the NAND chips it needs for all iPhones from YMTC, but those plans have now been put on hold.


According to analysts, the move won't have a big impact on Apple's production as YMTC is among the smaller companies in the iPhone maker's profile. However, the new restrictions do limit Apple's ability to diversify its supplier base and possibly improve costs as it continues to move some of its production needs to Vietnam and India.


Reuters said YMTC declined to comment on Apple's plans.

 
  • Chinese state-owned chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YMTC) has asked its American employees in core tech positions to leave to comply with new export restrictions.

  • Some U.S. citizens and green card holders have already left the company, though it's still unclear how many in total would be affected.

  • The departures come amid a rush among Chinese chipmakers to comply with the new export rules unveiled by Washington this month.

  • Under the new rules, any US citizen or entity has to seek permission from the Department of Commerce to providing support to fabrication plants in China.






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