Chinese and American flags flutter in front of the building of an American company in Beijing, China, January 21, 2021.
Tingshue Wang | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department on Thursday put seven Chinese supercomputer companies on a US economic blacklist citing national security concerns.
The division has blacklisted Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, National Supercomputing Center Jinan, National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou.
The seven units were blacklisted for “building supercomputers that are deployed by China’s military actors, destabilizing their military modernization efforts, and / or weapons of mass destruction programs.”
US officials have long complained that Chinese companies are obligated to the People’s Republic of China and collect confidential information on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese Communist Party previously stated that it does not engage in industrial espionage.
“Supercomputing capabilities are critical to the development of many – perhaps almost all – modern weapons and national security systems such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons,” US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo wrote in a statement.
“The Commerce Department will use the full scope of its agencies to prevent China from using US technology to aid these destabilizing military modernization efforts,” she added.
The new rules, which restrict US exports to those companies, will take effect immediately. However, they do not apply to goods from US suppliers that are already in transit.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Under former President Donald Trump, the US blacklisted a number of Chinese companies, including the nation’s leading smartphone maker Huawei, leading chip maker SMIC, and largest drone maker SZ DJI Technology.