(JW Insights) Aug 30 -- US memory chip maker Micron Technologies has named Li Xinming, also known as Jeff Li, as its head of China government affairs in a fresh sign that the company is trying to mend ties with Beijing after its products were barred from sales to certain clients in China, its third-largest market, reported SCMP on August 28.
The announcement came amid US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s closely-watched China visit, which some expect to lead to an easing of red hot tensions over technology and trade between Washington and Beijing.
Li, who has served in both government and enterprise sectors for more than 30 years, is experienced in Chinese public affairs and policy and has deep knowledge of the semiconductor industry, according to a Micron statement on August 28, which did not elaborate on Li’s full background.
Li has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management and a bachelor’s degree from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, according to the statement.
“Deeply-rooted in China for two decades, Micron has built a strong operation and client base, including its testing and packaging facilities in Xi’an,” Manish Bhatia, vice-president of global operations at Micron, said in the statement. “Li is a senior government relations professional, we believe his rich experience will make a contribution to our firm.”
Micron’s newly-appointed China head Wu Mingxia welcomed Li’s appointment in the statement and said she expected to “work closely with him”.
Micron unveiled a plan in June to invest $600 million to upgrade its chip packaging plant in Xi’an, including a buyout of its Taiwanese partner Powertech Technology. The investment plan was widely seen as an attempt by Micron to reduce fallout from Chinese sanctions handed down in May.
After a probe by the China Administration of Cybersecurity (CAC) in March, Micron – which made a quarter of its total revenue from China in 2022 – was barred from selling its memory chips to China’s critical information infrastructure operators, which span telecoms, banks, and power grid sectors amid national security concerns, according to press reports.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on August 28 that she raised concerns about a number of U.S. business issues including Intel and Micron with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, reported Reuters.