USA stops trading with eight Chinese quantum computing groups



In the letter: The US Department of Commerce has banned 27 foreign companies based in China, Japan, Pakistan and Singapore. Eight are developing quantum computing technologies that the US has now recognized as national security concerns.

All eight companies developing quantum computing technologies are pursuing potential military applications on behalf of the Chinese government. Three of them were found to be acquiring or trying to acquire American technology to support them.

The Commerce Department believes quantum computing could support a number of military applications China is interested in, including “counter-stealth and counter-submarine applications and the ability to crack encryption or develop unbreakable encryption.”

One of the eight units was the University of Science and Technology of China’s quantum computing department, which earlier this year claimed to have built the fastest quantum computer in the world. The theory was that the computer was two to three times faster than the best in the US.

Several of the entities have downplayed the bans. QuantumCTek describes the situation as “manageable” according to Nikkei Asia. It said it never depended on the US because it has the essential technologies and mainly relies on Chinese sources.

Of the 19 non-quantum computing companies also banned, three were Chinese companies based in China, Japan and Singapore that sold American technology to Iranian military and space programs and North Korean front companies.

The remaining 16 were blacklisted for contributing to Pakistan’s “unsecured nuclear or ballistic missile program”. Some are based in Pakistan, others are Chinese. Oddly enough, one was a refrigeration and air conditioning company.

In addition to the list of Prohibited Entities, the Department of Commerce also maintains a list of entities that have a Military End User (MEU) for their products. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology was added to this list.

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