China has said it found “relatively serious” cybersecurity risks from chips made by US semiconductor giant Micron amid an escalating technology battle between the superpowers.
The world’s second-largest economy announced the American manufacturer failed to pass a cybersecurity review because its components caused “significant security risks to our critical information infrastructure supply chain,” which would affect national security.
Washington has already blacklisted several Chinese tech firms, cut off the flow of sophisticated processors and banned Americans from providing certain help to the Chinese chip industry.
In a statement, the US Commerce Department said Beijing’s conclusion had “no basis in fact” and Washington will continue to try and limit industry disruptions with its allies.
Shares in Micron’s biggest industry rivals, Samsung and SK Hynix gained overnight in Seoul.
Chinese chip stocks including sector bellwethers Semiconductor Manufacturing International and Hua Hong Semiconductor climbed more than 3pc in Hong Kong.
US President Joe Biden had voiced optimism about the China relationship on Sunday at the end of the G7 summit in Japan, saying he expected ties between the two countries will start to “thaw very shortly”.
Read the latest updates below.
Wise chief to step down after ‘quite horrible accident’
Wise chief financial officer Matthew Briers will step down to focus on recovering from a bike accident last year.
He will depart by March next year with the company beginning its search for a new finance chief immediately.
Mr Briers said:
I returned back to work at Wise after a quite horrible accident where I went under the wheels of a bus, and so, with this in mind, my focus will shift to making a full recovery.
Wise has been the most exhilarating and worthwhile experience of my working life. I love my team, and the leaders I work with every day. The customers and shareholders are in great hands.
Chief executive Kristo Käärmann, who is himself taking a three month sabbatical after having children, said: “Matt joined us at the time when only around 500,000 people had used Wise and we were losing money. He helped us scale up into a global service that today 16m people and businesses around the world know they can count on.”
Ryanair returns to annual profit for first time since pandemic
Ryanair rebounded back into bumper annual net profits, boosted by a “strong” post-Covid recovery despite increasing costs.
Profit after tax soared to €1.4 billion euros (£1.2bn) in year to the end of March, after a net loss of €355m in its previous financial year.
The Dublin-based low-cost carrier had narrowed losses in its prior 2021/2022 fiscal year, boosted by the lifting of coronavirus lockdowns.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary said:
Over the last year we have seen a very strong post-Covid traffic recovery.
People have been locked up for two years and wanted to go back to travelling.
Revenues more than doubled to €10.8bn (£9.4bn) on rising fares, as the group reported “strong market share gains” in Italy, Poland, Ireland, Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
Passenger traffic leapt 74pc to 168.6m travellers, with fares 10pc above pre-Covid levels.
Government sells £1.3bn of NatWest shares
The Government has sold £1.3bn of its shares in NatWest, bringing its total share in the bank it rescued during the global financial crisis to 38.6pc.
It is the sixth block sale of NatWest shares since taxpayers saved the bank in 2008, when it was known as Royal Bank of Scotland or RBS.
The Government owned 84pc of the institution at its peak.
Treasury Secretary Andrew Griffith said: “Today’s sale is another major milestone in returning NatWest to full private ownership as promised. The government has now sold well over half of its shareholding.”
Micron assessing next steps after China ban
The Chinese cyber agency – the Cyberspace Administration of China – said in its statement banning Micron that the country welcomes products and services provided by companies of all countries as long as they comply with its laws and regulations.
It said the investigation into Micron products are a “necessary measure” to safeguard national security.
It did not detail what the security risks were or identify specific Micron products that are now barred.
Micron, which has previously said it stood by the security of its products and commitments to customers, said in a statement that it is evaluating the conclusion of the review.
The company is assessing its next steps, adding that it looks forward “to continuing to engage in discussions with Chinese authorities”.
China has banned Micron Technology from the world’s second largest economy, after announcing it failed a cybersecurity review.
Beijing claimed its components posed a “significant security risks to our critical information infrastructure supply chain, but the US said the conclusion had “no basis in fact”.
It comes despite Joe Biden voicing optimism about the US’s relationship with China on Sunday at the end of the G7 summit in Japan, saying he expected ties between the two countries will start to “thaw very shortly”.
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What happened overnight
Asian shares rose after Mr Biden said relations with China are expected to improve “very shortly,” and as the market awaited possible progress in US debt-limit talks.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped more than 1pc, led by technology shares. Historically cheap valuations following consecutive weekly declines added further support.
The advance led in a region-wide rally that including Japanese and mainland China shares but excluded Australian blue chips.
South Korea’s Kospi gained as much as 1pc, on track for its sixth daily advance. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix were among the biggest contributors to the benchmark after China said their US rival Micron Technology had failed to pass a cybersecurity review.
Tokyo stocks closed higher, with the key Nikkei index rising to a fresh 33-year high, as active buying by foreign investors overwhelmed profit-taking.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.9pc to 31,086.82, while the broader Topix index ended up 0.7pc at 2,175.90.