If ever there was an example of ‘going out with a bang’, US President Donald Trump is coming very close to it. During his presidency, Trump’s administration has managed to place more than 60 Chinese firms (including Huawei and DJI) on an Entity List, barring any US trade with the companies listed. Turns out there’s an additional list called the military blacklist that restricts US investors from buying stock in listed Chinese companies. The US government recently added Xiaomi to this list.
What it means for Xiaomi
Xiaomi is currently the third-largest smartphone maker in the world and happens to be Chinese-owned. Last week, the Trump administration added Xiaomi to its military blacklist (called the NDAA), which essentially means no US person can invest in the smartphone-maker. The administration believes that Xiaomi is linked to the Chinese military. Thing is, the US has no definite proof of this. At all.
Since the announcement, Xiaomi has responded, saying it “… provides products and services for civilian and commercial use,” and that “… it is not owned, controlled or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a ‘communist Chinese military company’ defined under the NDAA.
All this really means is that US investors will have to divest their holdings in Xiaomi (and other blacklist firms) by 11 November 2021. Huawei and the Chinese semiconductor maker SMIC are also on the blacklist (in addition to being on the Entity List). Lucky for us, South Africans aren’t affected by this at all. Or at least, we won’t be until it is added to the Entity List and also loses access to Google’s Mobile Services.