Intel apologizes for asking suppliers to avoid Xinjiang

The symbol for Intel appears on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York, Tuesday Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Intel Corp. apologized Thursday for asking suppliers to avoid sourcing goods from Xinjiang after the chipmaker became the latest foreign brand to face the fury of state media regarding the region, where the ruling Communist Party is accused of widespread abuses.

The company, in a statement on its social media account, said the reference to Xinjiang in a letter sent to suppliers was aimed at complying with U.S. regulations. Washington has barred imports of goods from Xinjiang over complaints of mass detentions of mostly Muslim minorities, forced abortions and other abuses in the northwestern region.

State media and comments on Chinese websites criticized Intel for what Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling party, called its “arrogant and vicious move.” Some called for a boycott of Intel products.

The letter caused “concerns among our cherished Chinese partners, which we deeply regret,” said an Intel statement. It said the mention of Xinjiang referred to the need to comply with regulations, not a company position.

Other companies including retailer H&M and shoe brand Nike have been targeted for criticism and calls for boycotts after expressing concern about Xinjiang or saying they would stop using materials produced there.

Pop singer Wang Junkai, also known as Karry Wang, announced Wednesday he was pulling out of a deal to act as “brand ambassador” for Intel’s Core line of processor chips. Wang joined a series of Chinese singers, actors and other celebrities who have broke ties with foreign brands over Xinjiang, giving up millions of dollars in income to avoid retaliation by the ruling party.