Globally critical chip firm tells U.S. staff to stop servicing China customers after Biden export curbs


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Chip maker Xilinx has instructed its employees to stop servicing its China-based customers due to US export curbs, according to an internal email seen by Reuters. The restriction on trade between the United States and China could potentially affect millions of Xilinx’s end customers in China, according to another person familiar with the matter and public documents reviewed by Reuters. Spokesmen for Xilinx and the U.S. Commerce Department both declined to comment.

As the effects of Washington’s most recent export restrictions start to affect the worldwide chip business, ASML, one of the most significant manufacturers of semiconductor tooling, instructed U.S. personnel to halt providing services to Chinese clients.

Any American employees, including U.S. residents, green card holders, and foreign nationals residing in the U.S., “are forbidden from delivering some services to advanced fabs in China,” according to a message from the Dutch company.

While ASML is actively determining whether specific fabs are affected by this limitation, U.S. personnel of ASML “must desist – either directly or indirectly — from servicing, delivering, or providing support for any clients in China until further notice.” The term “fab” is another term for a chip fabrication facility.

The authenticity of the ASML note, which was making the rounds on social media, was confirmed by a corporate representative.

Due to the fact that ASML manufactures a machine needed to create the most cutting-edge chips in the world, it is one of the most important participants in the semiconductor supply chain. These ultra-violet lithography equipment, which are utilised by companies like TSMC, the most sophisticated chip producer in the world, are made only by the business with its headquarters in the Netherlands.

The U.S. administration passed broad regulations last week with the intention of denying China access to crucial chips and machinery for the semiconductor industry.

According to those regulations, “U.S. people” need a licence in order to assist in the research or manufacturing of specific chips in China, including those used for military applications.

Companies are attempting to understand the rule’s practical implications because it seems to cover a wide range of situations.

The business stated in its statement that it was “working carefully to examine the new laws and their impact on ASML.”

Some of the largest chipmakers in the world have also received exemptions from the U.S.’s new restrictions.

According to Friday’s Nikkei, TSMC has been granted a one-year permission to keep purchasing American chipmaking equipment and shipping it to its production site in China. Less complex chips are produced at the TSMC facility in Nanjing, China.

Washington is particularly concerned about China gaining access to the most cutting-edge processors that may be utilised for military, artificial intelligence, or supercomputer purposes.

An inquiry for comment from TSMC was not answered.

The U.S. has also granted one-year exemptions to South Korean chipmakers Samsung and SK Hynix so they may continue shipping equipment to their plants in China without obtaining a licence, the Korea Times reported on Thursday.

Samsung chose not to respond.

In a statement, SK Hynix stated that it has received permission “to participate in operations essential to continue present manufacture of integrated circuits in China for one year without further licence requirements” for both the company and its current suppliers and business partners.


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