Trump administration backlists Chinese firms including Xiaomi

15 Janvier, 2021, 20:40 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • U.S. bans Americans from investing in Xiaomi, citing ties to Chinese military

The administration of President Donald Trump has ratcheted up tension with China in his final weeks in office.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been added to a US blacklist that will restrict American investment into the company, as the outgoing Trump administration ratchets up tension with Beijing by intensifying its crackdown on Chinese corporate interests.

Xiaomi "confirms that it is not owned, controlled or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a "Communist Chinese Military Company" defined under the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act]".

It's unclear where these allegations stem from, but it's concerning nonetheless.

By designating Xiaomi as one of these military companies, which also happens to be the number 3 smartphone maker in the world, the Administration hopes to get U.S. companies to divest in Xiaomi by November 2021.

Contrary to the USA, where more expensive cellphones dominate, the lower-priced offerings from Chinese companies have proven increasingly popular in South Africa.

The Department released its initial list of companies to Congress in June 2020 and has now included Xiaomi.

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"Department of Commerce (Commerce) imposed new controls on any United States technologies and specific activities of USA persons who may be supporting foreign military-intelligence end uses and end-users in China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela, as well as in terrorist-supporting countries", the release said.

Founded in 2010 and nicknamed "China's Apple" in its early days, the Beijing-based smartphone maker has since made a name for itself by offering products with premium specifications at affordable prices.

The move was the latest in escalating sanctions against the firm that prompted S&P Dow Jones Indices to de-list the company late Wednesday.

A statement from Pompeo said the United States was imposing visa restrictions on Chinese individuals, including executives of state-owned enterprises and officials of the Chinese Communist Party and navy.

Beijing hit back at the latest sanctions, accusing the USA of "abusing state power" to crack down on Chinese companies "for no reason".

The US has targeted scores of Chinese companies for the stated goal of protecting national security, but going after Xiaomi is a surprise. "The company will take appropriate course of actions to protect the interests of the company and its shareholders", a Xiaomi spokesperson said in a statement. This blacklist is different and should not be confused with the US Commerce Department's Entity List, which includes telecom equipment maker Huawei, ZTE, and others. They are barred from purchasing shares or securities of companies on this special blacklist. And now with a few days left of the Trump administration, it looks like Xiaomi may have to "suffer".

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