Apple is facing heat from lawmakers over its relationship with Chinese chipmakers.
Members of the U.S. House and Senate say they were alarmed by reports that Apple would be purchasing smartphone chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., a Chinese semiconductor manufacturer.
“U.S. lawmakers notified Apple that it may face a probe from Congress if the company uses memory chips from China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. for the new iPhone 14,” says Bloomberg Law.
Apple denied interest in using YMTC’s chips for American phones but said it was considering using them for iPhones sold in China.
“Apple is playing with fire. It knows the security risks posed by YMTC,” says U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
“Apple stated that it was not considering adopting YMTC processors in phones sold outside China. It further said that all customer data saved on the company’s NAND chips was completely secured,” says The Economic Times.
Why it’s important
The accusations are the latest in a continued push by federal legislators to push back against nations like China and Russia by limiting access to sensitive technologies.
“The lawmakers argued that YMTC has extensive ties to the Chinese Communist party and military and broke export control laws by selling goods to Huawei Technologies Co,” says Yahoo!.
As we previously reported, the U.S. government restricted chip sales by Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices to China and Russia in an effort to keep advanced technologies out of hostile foreign militaries. The restriction threatened over $400 million in integrated circuit sales and threatened to reduce China’s capacity to operate commercial advanced computing functions like speech and facial recognition.
The move signaled continued escalating hostility between the United States, Russia, and China, as Chinese hostility toward the island of Taiwan threatens America’s production capability for advanced chips. Russia is still embroiled in a six-month-long war against Ukraine.
Backing up a bit
Concerns over YMTC have floated around for months; going back to similar accusations made earlier this year of the company’s relationship with the Chinese government.
“In April, it was reported that the White House and Commerce Department were investigating charges that YMTC was breaking US export control regulations by delivering semiconductors to Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment business. According to a person familiar with the matter, Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has privately expressed concerns about YMTC to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo,” says The Economic Times.