May 22, 2024
A bipartisan group of senators have chips on their shoulders, asking U.S. security officials to review a plan by Apple to use Chinese parts for the iPhone 14.

A bipartisan group of senators have chips on their shoulders, asking U.S. security officials to review a plan by Apple to use Chinese parts for the iPhone 14.

The senators urged Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to review the national security threat that would result if Apple were to use memory chips from China’s state-subsidized Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., according to the Washington Post. The letter was spearheaded by Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) and signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA), and committee member John Cornyn (R-TX).

US UNPREPARED TO DEAL WITH CHINA’S INTEL INFILTRATION, BIPARTISAN REPORT CONCLUDES

“We write to convey our extreme concern about the possibility that Apple Inc. will soon procure 3D NAND memory chips from the People’s Republic of China state-owned manufacturer Yangtze Memory Technologies Co.,” the senators wrote in the letter to Haines. If carried out, the plan “would introduce significant privacy and security vulnerabilities to the global digital supply chain that Apple helps shape.”

The alarm was immediately raised after a Business Korea report on Sept. 6 found that Apple had added YMTC to its list of NAND flash suppliers for the iPhone 14. The company had previously used NAND flashes from Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Kioxia.

Apple stressed it does not plan to use YTMC chips for the iPhone 14.

YMTC, described as a state-run enterprise, and China itself recently overtook Taiwan to become the world’s leading supplier of parts to Apple. YMTC raises concerns for the United States, which fears chips produced by the company could lead to the Chinese Communist Party acquiring U.S. data. The Biden administration went so far last year as to describe YMTC as China’s “national champion memory chip producer,” saying the firm’s rapid development resulted from $24 billion in subsidies from the Chinese government, according to the Washington Post.

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The authors of the letter urged Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo two months ago to place YMTC on an export blacklist, the report said.

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