(Beijing) “An unwavering commitment”: the American technology giant Micron announced on Friday an investment in China of more than 725 million, despite the Beijing-Washington rivalry in this sector and the group’s recent setbacks in the country.
Micron was targeted in March by an investigation by Chinese authorities for alleged safety deficiencies in its products, amid tensions between China and the United States.
Following its investigations, Beijing last month banned Chinese companies from sourcing from the group for their sensitive infrastructure.
The case marked an escalation in the battle between Beijing and Washington in the strategic semiconductor sector.
And yet: Micron will invest more than 4.3 billion yuan (about $800 million) in its Xi’an site.
The investment will make it possible to acquire equipment and create a new factory there, said the world’s fourth largest semiconductor manufacturer on its official WeChat account.
“This proposed investment underscores Micron’s unwavering commitment to our China operations and our China team members,” Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said in the statement.
Microchips, which fuel the modern global economy and are the subject of fierce competition between countries, are found in LED bulbs, washing machines, cars or smart phones.
The procedure launched in March against Micron was the first to target a foreign company since Beijing tightened cybersecurity rules in 2021.
It is widely seen as a retaliatory measure, as the United States steps up its blows against Beijing in the technology sector.
In recent years, Washington has blacklisted Chinese companies to cut them off from supply chains of American technologies, including the most advanced chips.
In the name of “national security”, Washington announced in October 2022 new export controls to limit Beijing’s purchase and manufacture of high-end chips “used in military applications”.
China then filed a procedure with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
These measures have since been reinforced by restrictions on the export of semiconductors.
China, which seeks to become self-sufficient in semiconductor design, believes the moves are aimed at maintaining US supremacy in this area.
Beijing has already spent billions of dollars on its own semiconductor industry over the past 10 years, in order to no longer depend on imports for its electronic chips.