YMTC Increases Technical Capabilities While Commerce Department Dithers

A new report from Dylan Patel of SemiAnalysis paints a picture of a NAND chip market over which Chinese chipmakers like YMTC are poised to grab massive market share. Over the past few years, the NAND chip market has enjoyed explosive growth, with Patel writing that “the number of bits of NAND manufactured and shipped has grown at a pace of 30% to 35% every year.” Earlier this month, YMTC announced the ability to develop 232-layer chips, a major technological breakthrough that puts it on par with rival global leaders. Writes Patel, “YMTC is not just a copycat with trailing edge technology like many erroneously perceive Chinese semiconductor companies on the leading edge. They are building their own innovative and… Read More

New Heritage Foundation Report: Chinese Technology Infiltrating State Governments

Michael Cunningham of the Heritage Foundation has written an excellent new report: “Why State Legislatures Must Confront Chinese Infiltration.” The report covers myriad Chinese influence and intrusion activities taking place inside the U.S. One of the reports key imperatives is, “Preventing companies linked to the Chinese government from obtaining contracts to build critical infrastructure or supply technology to state government organizations.” Cunningham elaborates on the dangers of state governments letting Chinese-owned companies into their systems: When Americans allow firms controlled by a geopolitical rival to build their critical infrastructure, they practically invite the Chinese to embed vulnerabilities they can exploit in times of conflict. When Americans procure technology from a geopolitical foe, they invite that foe inside the systems used… Read More

New Forbes Column: Commerce Department Inaction on YMTC Harms Americans, Shames Sec. Raimondo

For months China Tech Threat and other national security leaders have pressed the Commerce Department to put Chinese military-linked chipmaker YMTC on the Entity list. That move would prohibit U.S. firms from selling high-tech tools to YMTC – a much-needed step to protect Americans’ privacy and national security. Unfortunately, YMTC this week announced the ability to develop 232-layer chips, a major technological breakthrough. Any new Commerce Department export controls targeting YTMC will now be too little, too late. Forbes columnist and China Tech Threat co-founder Roslyn Layton’s new column elaborates on the problem: The Commerce Department is clearly failing on its mission to promote and protect US technologies from China. Many of its existing restrictions are not enforced, and bad… Read More

Bipartisan Group of Senators Pushes Commerce Department to Restrict China’s YMTC

As Chinese military-backed chipmaker YMTC continues to depend on American technology to gain market share in the semiconductor sector, seven U.S. Senators have sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo characterizing the company as an “immediate threat” and urging it to be placed on the Commerce Department’s Entity List – meaning American firms would be banned from selling key technologies to YMTC. While senators including Bill Hagerty, Marco Rubio, and Mark Warner have long raised the dangers of YMTC and called for placement on the Entity List, this letter represents the most definitive and bipartisan statement from Congress to date on the issue, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senators John Cornyn, James Risch, and Mike Crapo joining Hagerty,… Read More

ALEC Passes Model Policy to Restrict State Contracts with Chinese Government-Owned Tech Companies

China Tech Threat co-Founder Dr. Roslyn Layton served as an expert advisor at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Atlanta this week, explaining to state lawmakers China’s strategy to infiltrate state governments through the purchase of risky technology embedded in state level networks.   Conference members considered and approved a model policy introduced by Georgia State Representative Martin Momtahan to help states restrict the purchase of risky technology. The model is based on a bill Rep. Momtahan led in Georgia and Governor Brian Kemp signed into law in May 2022. During his presentation, Rep. Momtahan emphasized China’s escalating strategy to target state lawmakers as part of its influence campaign. Legislators unanimously approved the legislation in both the International Relations and Commerce… Read More

Update in Progress: State Contracts with Banned Chinese Tech Manufacturers

Chinese information technology vendors that have been restricted by U.S. military and intelligence networks still contract with state governments. Once the products from these vendors – such as Lexmark and Lenovo – are put to use, they can serve as backdoors to access sensitive personal and financial information held by courts, police departments, elections departments, education departments, children and family services, and other government agencies. In March 2020, China Tech Threat did a deep dive and took a state-by-state look at this tech threat disconnect. Our findings are laid out at ChinaTechThreat.com/StateContracts/. We started a process to update this information and are aiming to have a fresh analysis in the fall. In the meantime, here’s a list of currently-known, active… Read More

China Tech Threat joins diverse group of policy scholars and organizations in support of the integrity of satellite broadband in the 12 GHz

Today China Tech Threat joined a diverse group of organizations on a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee in support of the integrity of satellite broadband in the 12 GHz band. Some 10 million U.S. households use satellite broadband today, and the number is growing. Ensuring secure, high-quality broadband for all Americans is an important countermeasure in the connectivity competition with China. A historic effort to close the digital divide is underway, and 12 GHz frequencies are well-suited to deliver connectivity to unserved and underserved communities across America. Actions taken by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have paved the way for global U.S. leadership in 5G and can… Read More

Commerce Department Reportedly Focused on SMIC, But What About YMTC and CXMT?

Reuters reports that the Commerce Department is considering banning exports of chipmaking tools to Chinese factories that make advanced semiconductors at the 14 nanometer node and smaller. This would significantly impact the ability of Chinese military-linked chipmaker SMIC from making the most advanced chips. The threat of SMIC is already clear. In a widely covered report provided to federal officials, James Mulvenon and his SOSI colleagues determined that SMIC – the largest and most sophisticated Chinese government-owned semiconductor maker – has multiple close ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Specifically, PLA researchers use SMIC chips and processes, indicating it is tailored for their purposes. For example, radiation hardening – which is used for military and space purposes – employ… Read More

Estevez Senate Hearing: Mixed Messages on YMTC Continue

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Under Secretary Alan Estevez testified to the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday about issues related to U.S. Export Controls. There is still no clarity what the U.S. government’s stance is on Chinese military-linked chipmaker YMTC. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia told Estevez that American memory chip manufacturers have complained to him about YMTC’s activities, which he said are “typical of a lot of the new Chinese memory and chip-related firms.” That is to say, they are tied to the Chinese military and benefit from massive subsidies designed to kill off foreign competitors. Sen. Warner also noted a recent Financial Times story detailing YMTC’s ties to Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications firm on the Commerce Department’s… Read More

CTT Issues Memo In Advance of BIS Oversight Hearing: What is the Commerce Department’s Export Control Policy?

In advance of Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Under Secretary Alan Estevez’s appearance before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee July 14 hearing on export controls, China Tech Threat issued a memo to congressional staff and interested parties on BIS’ failure to apply China-related export controls. The memo highlights the potential dissonance between Estevez’s stated long-term priority to “stop [China] from using our technology against us” and Secretary Raimondo’s assertion that “selling a commodity product to a Chinese company is in and of itself not problematic.”  It also poses a set of key questions that would help clarify Commerce Department’s position on employing China-focused export controls:  Does the Commerce Department plan to impose export controls in response to the threat from YMTC? If not, why… Read More