Apple is reportedly looking to use chips from a controversial Chinese government-linked company in its new iPhone 14 — and several US lawmakers are up in arms. 

Following a report in South Korean media that Apple planned to use chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. in its new lineup of iPhones, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blasted the company for “playing with fire.” 

“If [Apple] moves forward, it will be subject to scrutiny like it has never seen from the federal government,” Rubio raged to the Financial Times. “We cannot allow Chinese companies beholden to the Communist party into our telecommunications networks and millions of Americans’ iPhones.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) likewise told the paper that “YMTC has extensive ties to the Chinese Communist party and military.” 

“Apple will effectively be transferring knowledge and knowhow to YMTC that will supercharge its capabilities and help the CCP achieve its national goals,” McCaul added.

Critics on both sides of the aisle have painted YMTC as being a national security risk, arguing that the company is affiliated and subsidized by the Chinese government. They also say the company may have violated a US technology export ban by selling chips to sanctioned phone-maker Huawei.  

Marco Rubio
“We cannot allow Chinese companies beholden to the Communist party into our telecommunications networks and millions of Americans’ iPhones,” Sen. Marco Rubio said.
Getty Images
Michael McCaul
“YMTC has extensive ties to the Chinese Communist party and military,” Rep. Michael McCaul said.
REUTERS

In July, a bipartisan group of senators including Rubio, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) described YMTC and other Chinese chipmakers as a “growing threat” to American national security in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. They urged Raimondo to add the company to a trade blacklist. 

“By failing to add YMTC to the Entity List, the US Department of Commerce is allowing the PRC to exploit our technological sector and supply sanctioned parties in China,” the Senators wrote, according to Reuters

Schumer has also raised concerns about YMTC to Raimondo in private, according to the Financial Times. 

Apple
Apple said that it is considering using chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. in iPhones.
AP
Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also raised concerns about YMTC.
AP

Spokespeople for Apple, Rubio, McCaul and Schumer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Apple told the Financial Times that it did not use YMTC chips in any products but that it was “evaluating sourcing from YMTC for Nand chips to be used in some iPhones sold in China.” It also said that all user data stored on all of its chips is “fully encrypted.”

The spat over YMTC underscores Apple’s cozy relationship with China, which has manufactured the bulk of its devices for years and has also reportedly started playing a greater part in their design. 

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed Apple’s new slate of iPhones on Wednesday.
Getty Images for Vox Media

Even as Apple has shifted some production to India and Vietnam, Chinese employees and suppliers have played an increasingly large role in the design of the new iPhone, the New York Times reported

Chinese engineers “contributed complex work and sophisticated components” including “aspects of manufacturing design, speakers and batteries,” the newspaper reported. 

Meanwhile, the US has looked to reduce its dependance on Chinese and Taiwanese chip manufacturers through legislation including the “Chips and Science” act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August. The measure seeks to subsidize pricey chip manufacturing facilities in the US. 



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