AMD halts chip sales to Russia

AMD halts chip sales to Russia

AMD said its actions are not expected to affect sales to other customers.

Credit: Dreamstime

AMD is halting sales of its products to Russia in a move which seems to be the first explicit commitment from the chip industry in taking action against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to AMD, the chip ban extends to Belarus, which Russia has used as a staging ground for its attacking forces. 

"Based on sanctions placed on Russia by the United States and other nations, at this time AMD is suspending its sales and distribution of our products into Russia and Belarus," an AMD representative said in an email. It is all AMD products and products we power (PCs, etc) in Russia and Belarus.

On February 24, the U.S. Department of Commerce implemented a new Commerce Control List-based license requirement for Russia. This requirement restricts exports to the country for key industries including microelectronics, avionics, navigation equipment, and more. Essentially, the new export rules blacklist Russia and businesses operating there from legally buying the restricted goods.

To date, however, the chip industry has been somewhat vague in how it has reacted to the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

On February 26, for example, an Intel representative merely said that Intel complies with all applicable export regulations and sanctions in the countries in which it operates, including the new sanctions issued by OFAC and the regulations issued by BIS. 

At the time, the representative declined to comment further when asked if that indicated a specific ban on sales to Russia. 

A source close to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest and most important fab, told the Washington Post that the foundry has suspended all sales to Russia and to third parties that supply products to Russia. On the record, however, a TSMC representative told the paper that it would simply comply with the new export rules.

Compared to the overall market, however, chip sales to Russia represent a small fraction of total sales. On February 24, the Semiconductor Industry Association released a statement that characterised Russia as not a significant direct consumer of semiconductors.

While the impact of the new rules to Russia could be significant, Russia is not a significant direct consumer of semiconductors, accounting for less than 0.1 per cent of global chip purchases, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organisation, the SIA said in a statement. 

The broader Russian ICT market totalled only about US$50.3 billion out of the US$4.47 trillion global market, according to 2021 IDC data.

In addition, the semiconductor industry has a diverse set of suppliers of key materials and gases, so we do not believe there are immediate supply disruption risks related to Russia and Ukraine, the SIA added.

The AMD representative echoed what the SIA said, specifically regarding its own supply chain. Currently, we do not believe that the conflict will impact our ability to provide products, support, and services to our partners and customers, the AMD representative said in his email.

A representative for Intel didn't have any further comment when reached Thursday morning. Representatives for Nvidia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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