With mere days left in office, the Trump administration has added another Chinese smartphone maker to its list of blacklisted companies.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Defense added Xiaomi to the list of “Communist Chinese military companies operating directly or indirectly in the United States.”
“The Department is determined to highlight and counter the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Military-Civil Fusion development strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even those PRC companies, universities, and research programs that appear to be civilian entities,” the statement from the DoD reads.
Xiaomi has thus joined Huawei and numerous other Chinese companies, mostly from the aviation, nuclear energy, infrastructure, and semiconductor sectors, on this list. U.S. companies are prohibited from investing in companies on the list, and those who are invested must divest their holdings in these firms by Nov. 11, 2021.
In a statement posted on its site, Xiaomi said it is “not owned, controlled or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a “Communist Chinese Military Company” as defined under the NDAA.
“The Company has been in compliance with law and operating in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of jurisdictions where it conducts its businesses. The Company reiterates that it provides products and services for civilian and commercial use,” the statement reads.
It’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean U.S. companies are prohibited from doing business with Xiaomi, as they are in the case of Huawei. Besides being on this list, Huawei is also on the U.S. “Entity List,” which imposes a far more restrictive set of rules on listed companies.
Xiaomi is a consumer-oriented company and does not produce telecommunications equipment like Huawei, but being singled out as a potential threat in the U.S. surely doesn’t do the company any favors. With Trump on his way out and Joe Biden taking over on Jan. 20, Xiaomi can hope that the new administration will revert the decision.