The move shows the extent of Washington’s effort to ban sales of technology to Chinese firms and is ensnaring non-American firms that are not obliged to follow US law.
Tokyo Electron said: ““We would not do businesses with Chinese clients with whom Applied Materials and Lam Research are barred from doing businesses. It’s crucial for us that the US government and industry see us as a fair company.”
Another major Japanese chip equipment supplier is considering halting shipments to blacklisted Chinese firms, a person familiar with the matter said.
Executives at other equipment suppliers said they were communicating closely with the Japanese industry ministry although they have not had instructions from the Japanese government.
“We are aware that we could be in deep trouble if we take advantage of the U.S. export ban to expand businesses with China.”
The Tokyo Electron executive did not specify the names of the Chinese clients, but state-backed memory chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co is on a list of entities that cannot buy technology goods from US firms.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, a global leader in chip production and maker of many Huawei chips, has said it would continue to be a supplier to Huawei. US law specifies that any product comprising 25 percent or more US content is subject to the export control restrictions.
“It’s not impossible for Japanese companies like Tokyo Electron to replace their US rivals and complete production lines for China. But in reality, that’s very difficult considering a US backlash.”