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China, Signaling Thaw With U.S. Over Trade, Approves Toshiba Microchip Deal

May 18 , 2018

In a prelude to an easing of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, Chinese officials ended a monthslong delay by approving Toshiba’s sale of a majority stake in its lucrative microchip unit to an American-led group.

A lack of approval by Chinese regulators had held up the deal in what was widely seen as a signal from Beijing about how it might punish American businesses if the Trump administration acted on threats to impose tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese-made goods.

In a statement on Thursday, Toshiba said it had received “all required antitrust approvals” for the deal with a consortium led by the United States investment firm Bain Capital. Bain confirmed in its own statement that Chinese authorities had approved the deal.

Bain and Toshiba are not Chinese companies, but antitrust regulators in China still had considerable say over whether the deal would go through. Like American and European regulators, Chinese antimonopoly officials can punish foreign companies through fines or other measures if they believe a deal beyond China’s borders give the resulting business too much market power.


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