MediaTek Inc (聯發科) has hired a former US Department of Commerce official to help it navigate worsening US-China tensions that have already ensnared its customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為).
Patrick Wilson, who most recently served as director of the department’s Office of Business Liaison, has been appointed vice president of government affairs at MediaTek USA to lead its public policy initiatives, the chip designer said in a draft press statement seen by Bloomberg News.
Wilson previously worked at the Semiconductor Industry Association, where he led the trade group’s dealings with the US federal government.
Technology companies with ties to or operations in China have come under increasing scrutiny from Washington amid growing tensions with Beijing, forcing them to ramp up spending on lobbying efforts in the US.
The department said in May that it would require licenses before allowing US technology to be used by Huawei or its 114 subsidiaries, including its chip-design unit HiSilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體), thus preventing suppliers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) from shipping HiSilicon-designed parts to the Chinese company.
Earlier this year, TSMC hired former Intel Corp lobbyist Peter Cleveland, while ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), the Chinese owner of the TikTok app that has also come under US scrutiny, spent a record US$500,000 on federal lobbying in the quarter ended June 30.
Analysts are expecting Huawei to rely on MediaTek for chip design after TSMC said it would not ship new chips designed by HiSilicon after Sept. 15.
MediaTek might supply its chips to Huawei for a flagship handset that is expected to be introduced this year as US export controls affect supply from Qualcomm Inc and TSMC, Sanford C. Bernstein analysts, including Mark Li, wrote in a note on Thursday last week.
MediaTek shares closed up 0.29 percent at NT$682 yesterday in Taipei trading. The stock has gained 148.9 percent since its March low of NT$274, Taiwan Stock exchange data showed.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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