Chipmaker MediaTek Enlists Former US Official To Steer Firm Amid US Trade War, STAR Stock Surge

The high-level hire comes as the ongoing US trade war against China intensifies, with numerous firms such as TikTok and others stepping up efforts to combat knock-on effects from US-imposed trade restrictions and sanctions.

MediaTek Inc has hired a former official from the US Department of Commerce to steer the company amid the ongoing US trade war with China, it was reported on Wednesday.

Former director of the Office of Business Liaison, Patrick Wilson, is set to be named the vice-president of government affairs at MediaTek’s US wing, according to Bloomberg News.

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Mr Wilson is a former employee at the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group of chip manufacturers.

The news comes after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co hired Peter Cleveland, a former lobbyist for Intel Corp, just months before the Hsinchu-based firm halted chip shipments to Huawei after the Trump administration imposed new restrictions on processors using US technologies.

Huawei subsidiary Honor will seek to use MediaTek Dimensity chip series in its future 5G mobile handsets, company business unit president Zhao Ming hinted at a product launch in May. Huawei’s chipmaking wing HiSilicon uses Kirin chipsets with some US technologies, prompting the potential shift to MediaTek processors.

The bitter trade war against Beijing saw Washington extend trade restrictions on Huawei, ZTE and over 70 Chinese firms in May a further year, with Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai declaring the former two national security threats, without citing further evidence.

Downing Street also reversed a key decision in January to approve Huawei a role in building UK 5G networks, citing pressure from Washington and potential supply chain disruptions from US sanctions.

Huawei and the Chinese government have repeatedly denied the allegations and demanded US officials to provide evidence on its claims, which has not been submitted to date.

Despite the challenges, China’s semiconductor industry has surged in recent months, namely after mainland chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation posted its initial public offering on Shanghai’s Science and Technology Innovation (STAR) board, which saw massive levels of foreign and domestic investment.

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