AMD Denies Report It Gave China ‘Keys to the Kingdom,’ Violated National Security

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A few years ago, AMD announced a major joint venture with a newly created Chinese subsidiary company. That venture, called THATIC, has helped fund some of AMD’s activities over the last few years (at the time the venture was announced, AMD declared a value of $293M). Last week, we covered the news that the US government had placed several of AMD’s partners on its Entity List, restricting the export of technology to these companies.

Now, the Wall Street Journal has published an article attacking AMD’s JV as an assault on national security. The (paywalled) article begins by claiming that AMD gave China the “keys to the kingdom, that the THATIC deal was the beginning of AMD’s Ryzen-fueled transformation, and that the entire deal ‘alarmed’ US national-security officials, ‘who saw it as a threat to their goal to rein in China’s supercomputing industry.’”

AMD’s response to these claims, written by senior vice president and general counsel Harry Wolin, minces no words. According to the company, the report contains “several factual errors and omissions and does not portray an accurate picture of the joint ventures that AMD entered into with THATIC in early 2016.”

According to Wolin:

Starting in 2015, AMD diligently and proactively briefed the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce and multiple other agencies within the U.S. Government before entering into the joint ventures. AMD received no objections whatsoever from any agency to the formation of the joint ventures or to the transfer of technology – technology which was of lower performance than other commercially available processors. In fact, prior to the formation of the…

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