Taiwan probes firms suspected of selling chip equipment to China’s Huawei despite US sanctions

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HONG KONG (AP) — Taiwanese authorities are investigating four Taiwan-based companies suspected of helping China’s Huawei Technologies build a semiconductor facility.

Economic Affairs Minister Wang Mei-hua said on Friday that an investigation would determine whether the companies violated regulations banning the sale of sensitive technology and equipment to China.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has summoned semiconductor and factory service providers for questioning after a Bloomberg report said they were working with Huawei as it builds a network of computer chip plants.

The investigation will also study whether the companies exported any sensitive technology or products included in Taiwan’s list of strategic high-tech products with military applications, Taiwan’s China News Agency and other reports said.

They said semiconductor materials reseller Topco Scientific Co.; Cleanroom Constructor L&K Engineering Co.; Construction and design firm United Integrated Services Co. and chemical supply system provider Cica-Huntek Chemical Technology Taiwan Co. Huawei was suspected of providing equipment or services.

Companies can be fined up to 25 million Taiwan dollars ($777,665) for violating the regulations.

Cleanrooms and other high-tech equipment and services are crucial to the delicate process of manufacturing computer chips.

The four companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council plans to soon announce a list of key technologies that require regulatory measures to prevent semiconductor technology sharing with China, Wang said. He said the government will take national security and technical considerations into account when deciding what measures to impose.

Earlier this week, Wang said during a hearing in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan that the four companies only provided low-quality factory services such as wastewater treatment and environmental protection and did not provide any critical services to Huawei, the report said.

But Wang reminded companies that if they use US technology and equipment, they cannot cooperate with companies on the US Entity List, which prohibits companies from doing business with a listed company unless they obtain a license to do so.

Huawei was placed on the US Commerce Department’s Entity List in 2019 US officials say the company is a security risk and could aid Chinese espionage, a charge Huawei denies.



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