Taiwan UMC and Micron reached a settlement on chip trade secret disputes

Taiwanese chip manufacturer United Microelectronics will pay Micron Technology an undisclosed fee to resolve a trade secret dispute that has sparked US concerns about China’s technology theft.

UMC is $60 million fine In October last year, the company pleaded guilty in October last year after pleading guilty to the United States’ allegations of stealing confidential information from Micron and sharing it with China’s Fujian Jinhua during its cooperation with the company.

Taiwanese technology companies are an important part of the global semiconductor supply chain, but often have deep connections with Chinese manufacturers, so the case has been under scrutiny.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, when tensions between Washington and Beijing increased, Taiwanese companies were forced to reduce their dependence on China.

When the UMC dispute is resolved, the United States has tightened restrictions on the transfer of technology to China.

Linghao Bao, an analyst at Trivium China, said that as computer chips are in short supply, manufacturers are at increasing risk of falling into tensions between China and the United States.

“Chips have become the new oil. They are inseparable from geopolitics,” Bao said.

The Biden administration placed more than a dozen Chinese groups involved in quantum computing and other advanced technologies on Wednesday. Export blacklistIt also called for greater transparency in the semiconductor supply chain, which analysts said will Damage competitiveness Some chip manufacturers.

The UMC dispute originated in 2016, when the company signed an agreement with Fujian Jinhua, which included provision for the Taiwanese company to help it increase its production capacity.

In October last year, UMC admitted in court that it had hired engineers from Micron who later worked on the project and allegedly shared Micron’s confidential information with UMC.

The two companies said in a joint statement issued on Friday that after UMC paid an undisclosed fee, both parties would withdraw their complaints against each other. The two companies added that they “look forward” to common business opportunities in the future.

Dan Wang, a technology analyst at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics in Shanghai, said that semiconductors are still “one of the central fronts” of competition between the United States and China, and that the United States has “almost no indication” that it will relax its control over semiconductors. technology.

“Chip manufacturers are in low mood. The US government has made it a policy issue to expel them from a country where everyone has the largest or fastest-growing market.”

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