Rubio blasts Apple for eyeing ‘unacceptable’ Chinese chip supplier deal
By Nihal Krishan
01 April 2022
Sen. Marco Rubio is calling out Apple for considering a purchase of phone memory chips from a Chinese state-owned supplier that he says would be disastrous for American tech leadership and national security.
The Florida Republican warned Apple CEO Tim Cook in a letter Thursday against striking a deal with Chinese chip manufacturer Yangtze Memory, which is funded by the Chinese Communist Party and has extensive links to the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army.
The company plays a key role in China’s broader national strategy of challenging American leadership in economic, military, and tech innovation by building up the technological capabilities of the Chinese military and allowing it to coerce neighbors into accepting Beijing’s sovereignty claims and leadership position in the Indo-Pacific region.
“It is unacceptable that sales of the next generation of iPhones would end up strengthening the Chinese military and put the lives of American service-members at risk as a result,” said Rubio in a letter obtained exclusively by the Washington Examiner.
“If Apple goes through with any deal with YMTC, tens of millions of Americans who own iPhones will end up unintentionally enriching the Chinese Communist Party. If Tim Cook is serious about ‘loving this country,’ he should not go forward with any sale,” Rubio told the Washington Examiner.
Yangtze Memory, which the White House in a June 2021 report described as Beijing’s “national champion memory chip producer,” likely has the capacity to produce twice as much as American chip giant Intel and therefore represents a low-cost threat to U.S.-based memory companies, the White House warned.
If Apple were to help boost a huge, state-subsidized chip supplier in China, U.S. chip manufacturers and those of U.S. allies would face an uneven playing field and have difficulty competing in already unfair circumstances, Rubio said.