Chinese server maker Inspur has been added to the US Department of Commerce’s ‘Entity List,’ essentially blacklisting US businesses from working with it.
One of the oldest Chinese tech brands, Inspur has deep ties with western tech companies, including hyperscale cloud providers.
The third largest server manufacturer in the world and the largest in China, Inspur targets cloud, enterprise data centers, and AI workloads. It is an active member of the Open Compute Project.
The company operates joint ventures with IBM and Cisco within China to supply local businesses, and runs its own cloud platform in the country. It supplies hyperscale data center companies around the world, with Microsoft investing $20 million into the company back in 2005.
In March last year, Inspur announced that it was partnering with JD Cloud to sell liquid-cooled servers, and last month revealed that it was a key supplier for Chinese search giant Baidu. Other major Chinese customers include Alibaba, Tencent, and China Mobile.
Nvidia has called the company “fantastic” and “critical to bringing the latest AI technologies to all of our customers,” while Intel is a major supplier.
But now all those relationships will have to be put on hold – US companies can apply for exemptions to the blacklist, but this can be difficult to impossible depending on the severity of the ban.
Back in 2020, the US Department of Defense said that Inspur was linked to the Chinese military, causing Intel to briefly pause chip sales. However, the DoD list did not include any sanctions, so sales were resumed.
The next year, President Biden banned US individuals and businesses from investing in Inspur.
Shares in Inspur Electronic Information Industry Co. fell 10 percent following the new sanctions.
Inspur declined to comment but said that it was evaluating the sanctions.
In total, 28 companies were added to the Entity List. Of note was Loongson, the company behind the promising LoongArch microarchitecture, used by the Chinese military as well as enterprises, and viewed as an eventual competitor to Western instruction set architectures.
Also recently blacklisted were six entities involved in high-altitude balloons, after the US shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon earlier this year.