What happened: Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co denied accusations it had stolen technology after the US Justice Department indicted the state-backed firm for stealing trade secrets from US semiconductor company Micron Technology. Jinhua was last week prohibited from working with US-based companies with officials citing national security concerns. In its first statement since the ban the company said it is pursuing “self-independence” and that there is “no stealing of technology from other companies.”
Why it’s important: Semiconductor development is an important goal for China in closing the gap between the country and the US in key technologies. So far, leaders in the sector are dominated by companies from Japan, South Korea, western Europe, and the US, with no Chinese firms making the top 20 companies in terms of chip sales. The US trade ban on Jinhua is similar to that which was placed on ZTE earlier this year, which nearly crippled the companies operations before it reached a settlement agreement with Washington in July. The move may stall Jinhua’s trial production of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips that it started earlier this year.