Senior Senator Roger Wicker of the United States Republican Party (Roger Wicker) asked three hard drive manufacturers, including Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital, whether they had complied with the requirements for obtaining a license to sell hard drives to Huawei. Regulation.
In August last year, the US Department of Commerce implemented new regulations that require any company that uses US intellectual property to sell hardware, software, equipment or any other assets to Huawei must obtain a special export license from the US government. One of the regulations requires “intensified restrictions on Huawei’s ability to purchase direct products of certain US technology or software, such as hard drives.” Such licenses are usually reviewed under the assumption of a rejection policy, so they are often particularly difficult to obtain.
Wickel said he is “understanding whether the major global suppliers of hard drives are implementing this rule.”
Huawei sells thousands of different products, many of which require HDDs or SSDs to run. Although there are solid-state drives that only use Chinese technology, hard disk drives are manufactured by three companies around the world using machinery and IP designed in the United States. Although Huawei stated that it has stocked enough parts to maintain its business for a period of time, almost all of its inventory will be depleted within eight months. Therefore, the senator wanted to find out whether Huawei purchased hard drives on the open market or continued to be provided by the manufacturer itself, or whether the inventory was still sufficient.
This is the reason why the United States asked the three hard drive suppliers this time. It shocked the mountain and let the manufacturers keep an eye on their sales channels.
In September last year, two US hard drive manufacturers had different views on the new regulations. Western Digital said it has stopped providing HDD and SSD hard drives to Huawei and applied for a license, while Seagate initiated an investigation to determine whether it really needs a license.
Western Digital: has stopped supplying, and applied for permission, but there is no following
Western Digital said in a statement provided to Reuters that the company “stopped shipments to Huawei in mid-September 2020 to implement new regulations issued by the Ministry of Commerce. We requested to obtain supplies to Huawei in September 2020. Permission. Our application is still inconclusive.”
Wick asked the above-mentioned companies whether they believed that this provision “prohibited the shipment of hard disk drives to Huawei and any of its subsidiaries without a license” and asked about the status of all license applications that include products to Huawei.
Wick also copied the US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo (Gina Raimondo) in the letter, encouraging her to take action against companies found to circumvent any provisions of the regulations, on the grounds that Huawei poses “serious harm” to the national security of the United States.
Seagate: Comply with regulations, but don’t think permission is needed
In September 2020, Seagate’s Chief Financial Officer Gianluca Romano said at an investor meeting, “We are still conducting a final evaluation, but as far as I know, in terms of continuing to retain Huawei or any other Chinese customers, I don’t see any special restrictions. So, we don’t think we need a specific license.”
Toshiba is a Japanese company but also uses American IP
Another major hard drive manufacturer Toshiba is a company headquartered in Japan, so it may be easier to cooperate with Huawei. Nevertheless, because Toshiba uses a large number of technologies developed in the United States (for example, it obtained the IP of a 3.5-inch hard drive from Western Digital), it must also obtain a license from the US DoC.