The US Department of Commerce has banned dealings with 27 foreign entities based in China, Japan, Pakistan, and Singapore. Eight are developing quantum computing technologies, which the US has now recognized as a national security concern.
All eight entities developing quantum computing technologies were found to be pursuing potential military applications on behalf of the Chinese government. Three of them were found to be acquiring or attempting to acquire American technologies to assist them.
The Department of Commerce believes that quantum computing could support a number of military applications that China is interested in, including “counter-stealth and counter-submarine applications, and the ability to break encryption or develop unbreakable encryption.”
One of the eight entities was the quantum computing branch of the University of Science and Technology of China, which claimed to have built the fastest quantum computer in the world earlier this year. It theorized that the computer was two to three times faster than America’s best.
Several of the entities have downplayed the bans. QuantumCTek is describing the situation as “manageable,” according to Nikkei Asia. It said that because it owns the essential technologies and mostly relies on Chinese sources, it was never dependent on the US.
Of the 19 non-quantum computing entities that were also banned, three were Chinese-owned companies based in China, Japan, and Singapore selling American technology to Iran’s military and space programs and North Korean front companies.
The remaining 16 were blacklisted because they’ve contributed to Pakistan’s “unsafeguarded nuclear activities or ballistic missile program.” Some are based in Pakistan, while others are Chinese. Curiously, one was a refrigeration and air conditioning company.
In addition to the banned entities list, the Department of Commerce also maintains a list of entities that have a military end-user (MEU) for their products. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has been added to that list.