Taiwan’s UMC settles chip trade secrets dispute with Micron

Taiwanese chipmaker United Microelectronics Corporation pays Micron Technology a hefty fine to end a trade dispute that has sparked US fears that China is stealing technology.

UMC was $ 60m fine in October last year after pleading guilty to US charges of stealing Micron secrets and sharing them with Chinese Fujian Jinhua during an agreement with the company.

The case is being handled by Taiwanese technical companies that play a key role in semiconductor manufacturing companies around the world but often have deep links with Chinese manufacturers.

Taiwanese companies have been forced to reduce their reliance on China amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing led by Donald Trump.

The end of the UMC crisis comes as the US expands its campaign to reduce technical transfer to China.

Linghao Bao, a research analyst at Trivium China, said that due to the lack of computers, manufacturers are at increased risk of getting caught up in US-China conflicts.

“Cheese has become a new oil. They are indistinguishable from geopolitics, “Bao said.

Biden government on Wednesday installed 12 Chinese groups participating in quantum computers and other state-of-the-art technologies export blacklist. It has also called for greater transparency in semiconductor supply chains, which researchers said could do more. destroying competition about other chipmaker manufacturers.

The UMC dispute began in 2016 when the company signed an agreement with Fujian Jinhua, which includes requirements for a Taiwanese company to help develop its manufacturing capabilities.

In October last year, UMC admitted to a court that it had hired engineers from Micron who later worked on the project and allegedly shared the secrets of Micron and UMC.

In a statement issued on Friday, the two companies said that in filing an unspecified fine from the UMC, both sides would drop their grievances against each other. The companies also added that they are “looking forward” to future business opportunities.

Dan Wang, a technical expert at Shanghai at Gavekal Dragonomics, a research company, said semiconductors remain “one of the middle ground” in US-China competition and that the US has provided “limited demonstrations” to release its controls. skills.

“Chip makers are in a state of shock. The US government has imposed a ban on evictions in the largest or fastest growing market in the world. ”

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