The U.S. continues to crack down on Chinese technology, and this time they are targeting the mainframes that power China’s military. The Commerce Department has added seven supercomputer companies and organizations to its list of entities, barring U.S. companies from supplying equipment or otherwise doing business. They build supercomputers that contribute to “destabilizing” military modernization efforts, nuclear weapons, and hypersonic technology, U.S. officials said.
The companies targeted include Sunway, the Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, and Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, as well as supercomputer centers in Jinan, Shenzhen, Wuxi, and Zhengzhou.
It is not yet certain how China will respond besides anger. The country has taken steps to reduce its dependence on U.S. technology through domestic production, but U.S. trade bans have limited those efforts. Many of the factories producing advanced chips are located outside mainland China and are often partially dependent on U.S. technology, leaving the country with little choice but to either invest heavily in domestic production or use outdated manufacturing techniques.
Unlike similar bans on companies like Huawei and DJI, there are no allegations of espionage or human rights abuses to justify the move. This is strictly about curbing technological development for China’s military. With that said, it is noteworthy that trade bans on supercomputers are seen as important political tools – it is not just the factories or the weapons themselves that are of concern.
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