China's top chipmaker denies ties with military, expresses 'shock and perplexity' at claims
Updated 16:51, 06-Sep-2020
SMIC's office in Shanghai, China, May 20, 2020. /CFP

SMIC's office in Shanghai, China, May 20, 2020. /CFP

China's top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) declared on Saturday that it has no ties with the Chinese military, as the Trump administration is reportedly considering adding the semiconductor foundry to a trade blacklist.

"We have no relationship with the Chinese military," the company said in its official WeChat account, "Any assumptions of the Company's ties with the Chinese military are untrue statements and false accusations."

The chipmaker noted that it has maintained "long-term strategic partnerships with multiple U.S.-based semiconductor equipment suppliers" and will keep open to communication with the U.S. government agencies "in the hope of resolving potential misunderstandings," even though it is in "shock and perplexity to the news."

According to a Reuters report, a Pentagon spokeswoman said on Friday the U.S. Defense Department was working with other agencies to determine whether to make a move against SMIC, which would force U.S. suppliers to seek a difficult-to-obtain license before shipping to the company.

Reports said earlier this week that the Pentagon had proposed placing SMIC on the Commerce Department's entity list, which includes more than 275 China-based firms deemed "national security risks" by the U.S. government. The Trump administration has used the entity list to hit several Chinese giants including Huawei, ZTE and Hikvision.

Last week, the U.S. added 24 Chinese companies to the entity list for their role in China's construction in the South China Sea, while Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier said the sea is the shared home for the countries in the region and should not be a wrestling ground for international politics.

SMIC is the largest Chinese chip manufacturer and made its trading debut on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market in July, marking China's biggest IPO in a decade. The Shanghai-headquartered chipmaker was listed in Hong Kong and New York in 2004 and delisted from the U.S. last year due to sluggish demand for its shares.

As one of Huawei's manufacturers, SMIC has been embroiled in U.S. restrictions on Chinese tech firms since May. At the time, the United States placed new restrictions on smartphone maker Huawei, which prevent its suppliers from accessing services from American companies.

Read more: SMIC debut in Shanghai becomes China's biggest IPO in a decade