Major US chipmaker Intel apologized in China after its controversial letter to suppliers sparked public and political backlash in the country, including calls for a boycott.
In an annual letter sent out this month, the company said it was “required to ensure” that participants in its supply chain did not use labor or source goods from Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China. The Xinjiang stipulation followed allegations of human rights abuses in the region and restrictions imposed by “multiple governments.”
The letter, published on the company’s website in several languages, triggered widespread criticism in China from state and social media.
The latest calls for a boycott forced Intel to address Chinese users via its official WeChat and Weibo accounts.
The multinational said that its commitment to avoid supply chains from Xinjiang was an expression of compliance with US state regulations rather than a statement of its position on the issue.
“We apologize for the trouble caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners and the public. Intel is committed to becoming a trusted technology partner and accelerating joint development with China.”
Intel, which has 10,000 employees in China, became the latest multinational to come under fire in the country as it aims to comply with sanctions related to Xinjiang while continuing to operate in one of the biggest markets and supply bases.The company’s China presence includes assembly and test sites in Shanghai and Chengdu.