ZTE’s business became untenable after a US government order banned American companies from exporting technology to the Chinese smartphone maker. ZTE is heavily dependent on US-made components, especially Qualcomm chips and Google’s Android software stack.
Last year, ZTE admitted to an elaborate multi-year scheme to sell US-made technology to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions laws. ZTE paid $890 million in penalties and said it was in the process of disciplining dozens of senior company officials who had orchestrated a scheme to violate US sanctions laws. — Ars Technica
I knew that back in the cold war era, western companies were not allowed to export technology to the Soviet block. For example, it was illegal to export Intel chips to the USSR, but I had this as a thing of the past in my mind.
We tend to forget that the countries that “hold” the technology can use it as a leverage. I’m not arguing for or against the specific sanctions, but it’s interesting.