Xiaomi sues the US government over blacklisting

Smartphone maker Xiaomi has sued the United States government over its inclusion in a military blacklist. The filing, which was submitted on Friday, calls the decision “unlawful and unconstitutional.”

The Chinese smartphone maker adds:

It is not owned or controlled by, or otherwise affiliated with the Chinese government or military, or owned or controlled by any entity affiliated with the Chinese defense industrial base. Nor does the Chinese government or military, or any entity affiliated with the defense industrial base, possess the ability to exert control over the management or affairs of the company.

The filing reflects similar statements by the company in the wake of the listing. The designation came in the waning days of the Trump administration, less than a week before Biden’s inauguration. Huawei and DJI have also been caught up in U.S. blacklists in recent years, though those companies were tagged as part of the separate entity list maintained by the Commerce Department. Huawei filed suit against the government in March 2019.

The listing, which is set to go into effect on March 15, bars investment in the smartphone maker. It’s already had an impact on its bottom line. Xiaomi already has a massive global footprint, ranking No. 2 behind Apple and Samsung, according to the latest figures from Canalys. The company saw a 31% annual growth in market share y-o-y for Q4, as the larger industry continued to stall. Xiaomi hasn’t had much visibility in the U.S., but a potential ban in the world’s third-largest market could severely hamper the company’s growth.

It remains to be seen how the new U.S. administration will impact relations with both China and its hardware makers. Notably, the letter addresses Biden appointees Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

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