Applied Materials, a U.S. chipmaking equipment supplier, must comply with U.S. export restrictions on China, but the company is under investigation. It is suspected of violating American sanctions by supplying its products to the Chinese contract manufacturer SMIC.
As mentioned Reuters Citing its own sources, Applied Materials is suspected of violating US export control regulations when shipping equipment to China. According to the investigation, Applied Materials allegedly imported its equipment for SMIC’s needs through South Korea without obtaining required export licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is believed that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment were shipped to China this way.
As early as October 2022, investigators became interested in Applied Materials’ activities in the Chinese logistics sector. Company officials say it cooperates with government authorities and complies with laws and regulations in this area. Representatives of American investigative agencies refused to comment on these rumors. According to unofficial information, representatives of the National Security Agency are involved in the investigation.
The Chinese company SMIC came under direct US sanctions in December 2020. As the investigation shows, in 2021 and 2022, Applied Materials supplied sanctioned equipment for SMIC’s needs through its representative office in South Korea.