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US renews investigation into Chinese applied materials business

US renews investigation into Chinese applied materials business

(Bloomberg) — U.S. government agencies have issued a new round of requests for information about Applied Materials Inc. shipments. to Chinese customers, reviving a sensitive topic as Washington tries to cut off sales of advanced chipmaking equipment to its geopolitical rival.

Read now from Bloomberg

Applied, the largest supplier of equipment needed to manufacture semiconductors in America, disclosed “multiple subpoenas” last February from agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. This comes on top of requests from the Commerce Department and other agencies dating back to 2022, when the Biden administration stepped up its sanctions campaign to block the flow of advanced chips to China.

Applied, which did not elaborate on the latest recall, is one of several American companies at the heart of efforts to contain China's technological rise. It provides much of the essential equipment for the highly delicate task of manufacturing semiconductors, and the United States has sought its cooperation – as well as that of its counterparts – in that campaign.

But last year, Reuters reported that the Justice Department launched an investigation into its dealings with Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. That company, which is China's largest chip maker, was able to make an advanced processor in 2023 for Huawei Technologies Co. Which was previously thought to be beyond China's reach. This sparked controversy in Washington about the effectiveness of trade sanctions.

“We are fully cooperating with the government on these matters,” Applade said in a filing Tuesday. “These matters are subject to uncertainties, and we cannot predict the outcome, nor a reasonable estimate of the range of losses or penalties, if any, related to these matters.”

See also  China is highly involved in the AI ​​competition, and new AI models are emerging one after another

Despite the sanctions, equipment makers like Applied are getting more of their revenue from China than ever before, given the country's appetite for electronics and efforts to stock up before tougher restrictions are imposed.

Read more: Chipmakers are getting more sales from China than ever before

Read now from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P

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