China court 'bans sales' of chips from US firm Micron

Shanghai (AFP) –


A Chinese technology firm embroiled in a patent dispute with US chip giant Micron said Wednesday that a court had ruled in its favour and ordered an immediate halt of several Micron products in China.

According to the state-owned Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co, a court in the southeastern city of Fuzhou has ruled that Micron must stop sales of more than a dozen solid-state drives, memory sticks and chips.

The court ruling was not immediately available.

A Taiwanese partner of Jinhua, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), issued a similar statement, saying the court had issued a preliminary injunction against 26 Micron products.

The case comes amid increasing trade friction between the world's top two economies, with billions of dollars in fresh trade tariffs due to come into force on Friday.

Earlier this week, US authorities blocked a seven-year application from China Mobile to enter the domestic market, citing national security concerns.

Micron is the world's fourth-biggest semiconductor supplier by sales revenue following South Korean firms Samsung and SK Hynix and US chip giant Intel.

More than half of its net sales come from China, the Idaho-based firm said in its 2017 earnings report.

It said in June the case could "have a material adverse effect" on its business, requiring changes to its China operation.

China established Jinhua in February 2016 in a bid to make its own home-produced chips, with the firm investing 37 billion yuan that year to build a production line with technology support from UMC.

Jinhua said Micron's "unbridled behaviour" had caused "irreparable damage" to the firm and it will keep monitoring any other products that used Micron's chips.

Semiconductors are among China's biggest imports, rivalling oil, and have become a stark reminder of its dependence on US technology.

Earlier this year, Washington banned Chinese telecom and smartphone giant ZTE from purchasing crucial US components for seven years, threatening its survival, as punishment for breaking US export controls.

In a politically charged settlement reached last month, Washington then temporarily allowed ZTE to resume some activities while it works to meet conditions set by US officials.