The investigation into Taiwanese companies suspected of assisting Huawei in building semiconductor facilities raises concerns about the violation of regulations and the potential security risks associated with sharing sensitive technologies with China.
Taiwan Probes Firms Suspected of Selling Chip Equipment to China’s Huawei Despite US Sanctions
In a recent development, Taiwan’s authorities have launched an investigation into four Taiwanese companies suspected of aiding China’s Huawei Technologies in constructing semiconductor facilities. The Minister of Economic Affairs, Wang Mei-hua, has confirmed that the investigation aims to determine whether these companies have violated regulations that prohibit the sale of sensitive technologies and equipment to China.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has summoned the semiconductor and factory services suppliers for questioning after a report by Bloomberg revealed their collaboration with Huawei in building a network of computer chip plants. The investigation will also examine whether the companies exported any sensitive technologies or products with military applications that are included in Taiwan’s list of Strategic High-Tech Commodities.
The companies under investigation include semiconductor material reseller Topco Scientific Co., cleanroom constructor L&K Engineering Co., construction and design firm United Integrated Services Co., and chemical supply system provider Cica-Huntek Chemical Technology Taiwan Co. If found guilty, these companies could face fines of up to 25 million Taiwan dollars ($777,665) for violating regulations.
Cleanrooms and other high-tech equipment and services are crucial for the delicate process of manufacturing computer chips. Therefore, the alleged involvement of these Taiwanese companies in assisting Huawei’s semiconductor facilities raises concerns about the potential transfer of sensitive technologies to China.
Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council plans to announce a list of key technologies that require control measures to prevent the sharing of semiconductor technology with China. The government will consider national security and technical considerations in deciding what measures to impose. Minister Wang clarified that the four companies under investigation only provided low-end factory services, such as wastewater treatment and environmental protection, and did not offer critical services to Huawei.
However, it is important to note that using U.S. technology and equipment may restrict cooperation with firms included in the U.S. Entity List, which prohibits companies from doing business with listed entities unless they obtain a license to do so. Huawei has been on the U.S. Commerce Department’s entity list since 2019 due to security concerns raised by U.S. officials, who accuse the company of facilitating Chinese spying.
This investigation into Taiwanese companies collaborating with Huawei highlights the need for stricter regulations and control measures to prevent the unauthorized transfer of sensitive technologies and protect national security. As the global technology landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for countries to ensure the responsible and secure development and distribution of advanced technologies.