The US Department of Justice today announced that it has placed Xiaomi and several other Chinese companies on its so-called entity list, preventing it from doing business with companies based in the United States. Oddly, Xiaomi is described by the US government as a military company.
“Today, the Defense Ministry released the names of other ‘Communist Chinese military companies’ operating directly or indirectly in the United States in accordance with the statutory requirement of Section 1237 of the Law on Authorization of national defense for fiscal year 1999, as amended, ”the DOJ announced. “The Department is determined to highlight and counter the development strategy of the Civilian-Military Fusion of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which supports the modernization objectives of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to cutting-edge technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even the PRC companies, universities and research programs that appear to be civilian entities. “
The unexpected move comes just days before the controversial Trump administration was finally removed from office and appears to mirror the action against Huawei in that it comes after Xiaomi overtook Apple for become the third largest smartphone seller in the world. But there are also differences. Xiaomi does not make network equipment, just consumer smart devices. And the military angle is unique: along with Huawei, the United States says the firm could act on behalf of the Chinese government.
Xiaomi says he has no connection with the Chinese military.
“[Xiaomi] has been in compliance with the law and operating in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which it operates, ”said a statement from Xiaomi. “The company reaffirms that it provides products and services for civil and commercial use. The Company confirms that it is not owned, controlled[,] or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a “Chinese Communist Military Company” defined in the NDAA. The Company will take appropriate measures to protect the interests of the Company and its shareholders. “
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