As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to grow, the U.S. Commerce department reportedly on Thursday added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List will effectively bar U.S. firms from supplying key technologies to organizations believed to pose a significant threat to U.S. interests.
The blacklisted entities were reported to have been assisting the Chinese military efforts and thus were added to the America’s economic blacklist. The Commerce Department stated that the entities were “involved in building supercomputers used by China’s military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or weapons of mass destruction programs.”
“Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many – perhaps almost all – modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo declared in a written statement, adding that “the Department of Commerce will use the full extent of its authorities to prevent China from leveraging U.S. technologies to support these destabilizing military modernization efforts.”
The department, citing national security reasons, has reportedly added Chinese entities namely, Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, the National Supercomputing Center Jinan, the National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, the National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and the National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou to its blacklist.
The law requires companies or others listed on the U.S. Entity List, that face tough scrutiny, to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department when they seek permission to receive items from U.S. suppliers.
During the administration of President Donald Trump, the U.S. had added dozens of Chinese companies to its economic blacklist, including the country’s top smartphone maker Huawei Technologies, top chipmaker SMIC and the largest drone manufacturer, SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.
Thus, the last time Chinese supercomputing organizations were added to the blacklist, it was in June 2019, which had impacted Sugon, Higon, Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit, Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology, and Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology. The move had reportedly derailed Sugon’s plans to debut a new 300+ petaflops system that would have topped the supercomputing charts.
Further back in 2015, the following Chinese organizations had been placed in the entity list: National University of Defense Technology, the National Supercomputing Center in Changsha, National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou (NSCC–GZ), and the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin.