February 20, 2024

Chinese technology company lashes back at US claims it has ties to military

A Nasdaq-listed Chinese technology company that makes components for self-driving autos is threatening to sue the U.S. authorities after it was included in a listing of firms the Pentagon says have hyperlinks to the Chinese military.

Hesai Technology’s core product is LiDAR highway sensing gear, utilized in passenger and business autos, autonomous driving autos, supply robots and different purposes. It was amongst 17 firms the U.S. Department of Defense lately added to its checklist of firms it considers “Chinese military companies.”

The revised checklist additionally consists of Megvii, a Beijing-based synthetic intelligence company and IDG Capital, a serious personal fairness funding company with holdings in lots of Chinese technology firms, and main Chinese power, telecoms and aviation firms. Its buyers embody U.S. pension funds and foundations.

Hesai’s inclusion on the checklist got here with none rationalization and the company plans to file a lawsuit, Hesai CEO Yifan “David” Li stated in an announcement that described the transfer as “unjust, capricious and meritless.”

“Hesai will not be a military company. Hesai merchandise are for civilian use solely and have by no means been designed or validated for military use,” he said.

Li did not give any details on the company’s plans for legal action. The statement accused Hesai’s critics of conducting a smear campaign against it for unfair commercial advantage.

In a statement issued last week, the company said its LiDARs were not designed to conform to military specifications. The U.S. Department of Commerce has designated them as not being suitable for any military application, it said.

Hesai’s stock price has fallen to about $4 from about $22 a year ago.

President Joe Biden’s administration has kept in place tariffs imposed by his predecessor Donald Trump after he launched a trade war against Beijing in 2018. Under Biden, the U.S. has additional restricted China’s entry to superior U.S. technology, restricted U.S. investments in strategically delicate Chinese industries and expanded sanctions on main Chinese firms like Huawei Technologies.

The Defense Department periodically updates its checklist of now practically 4 dozen Chinese military firms to counter hyperlinks between Chinese military and firms and different entities that it says seem to be civilian.

China’s international and commerce ministries protested the transfer after the checklist was expanded final week.

In 2021, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., which overtook Apple Inc. because the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker by gross sales for a time, was faraway from the blacklist after it sued the U.S. authorities, demanding to be eliminated and denying it has any hyperlinks with China’s People’s Liberation Army.