YMTC Asks U.S. Employees To Leave Due To Chip Export Restrictions

Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp has asked American employees in key tech positions to leave as it rushes to comply with new US export controls.

Four company insiders said it was unclear how many US citizens and green card holders would leave YMTC, but several in China had already left the memory chip producer.

A senior YMTC engineer said some Americans were key to Nand memory chip breakthroughs. "But they can't stay," said the person.

Chip companies in China, the US, and Europe are scrambling to make sure they are in line with the strict export rules that Washington announced this month.

The three largest US companies that make chip equipment—Lam Research, Applied Materials, and KLA Corporation—have stopped selling to and working with Chinese companies that make semiconductors.

ASML, based in the Netherlands, has instructed its US staff to cease serving all Chinese customers while it investigates the sanctions.

Yang transformed YMTC into China's leading memory chip producer with Rmb220 billion ($30 billion) in government funding.

This summer, the company was on the verge of securing a spot for its semiconductors in Apple's iPhone until political pressure and new US sanctions clouded its prospects.

Three YMTC employees claim Yang stepped down as CEO in late September to become the company's deputy chair.

People say that because of the latest US restrictions, it's not clear what his role is at the company. China's business records show that Yang is still working at YMTC for now.

Another Chinese executive at a Shanghai-based state-backed chipmaker said the company was negotiating the departure of several Americans who refused to give up their US passports.

American executives can be found at the top of the most prestigious Chinese semiconductor manufacturers and suppliers, according to corporate records.