Recently, we have reported on PC tech titans like AMD, Intel, and Nvidia halting Russia-based business activity. However, some of the biggest names in PCs and components haven't clarified their intentions yet. This unwillingness, or simple inertia, about the Russia issue could weaken the actions taken by the aforementioned trio. With this in mind, it isn't surprising to see Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, make a personal appeal to Asus.
Day 15 of invasion: Russian tanks and missiles continue killing peaceful Ukrainians! @ASUS, Russians have no moral right to use your brilliant technology! It's for peace, not for war!March 10, 2022
Asus is one of the world's biggest pre-built PC and laptop OEMs, as well as being a major supplier of components for PC builders and peripherals. As Fedorov highlights in his personal note to Asus's affable Chairman, Jonney Shih, the IT industry is generally highly supportive of peace and democracy. The Ukraine politician thus pleads that the Russian invaders "have no moral right to use your brilliant technology."
Fedorov, who is also the Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, reminds Asus it will be in good company if it stops its hardware and electronics supplies and ceases tech support within the Russian Federation.
Jonney Shih is very much the public face of Asus, and many will be familiar with his relaxed presentation style. He certainly seems to be the right person to appeal to as his Chairmanly duties include guiding the company vision and corporate culture.
Fedorov's Success Rate
Other successes the Ukrainian minister seems to have had, if one peruses his Twitter feed full of similar company requests, include the likes of Intel, SAP, PayPal, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple - all of which have since complied with his wishes.
We can't be sure it was Fedorov reaching out to these companies on social media (and perhaps other channels) that helped inspire the subsequent business blockade actions, but it probably greased the wheels.
Asus Under Pressure, but What About MSI and Gigabyte?
A report was published by Taiwan News earlier in the week regarding the vague plans of the likes of Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte, in relation to their Russia business activities. It highlighted that these firms seemed cautious to act and were still considering options and how to make sure their actions would fit in with the Taiwanese government’s trade policy.
Interestingly the report indicates that MSI has actually fallen in line with the big US tech companies already in withdrawing sales in Russia but has done so in a quiet manner. MSI is said to be the biggest gaming PC brand in Russia.
Gigabyte's stance is quite simple, too. It says its actions concerning doing business in Russia will fall in line with chip vendors like AMD, Intel, and Nvidia. A spokesperson added that Gigabyte's business wouldn't be significantly impacted by this move as it has limited exposure in the market, which accounts for less than 5% of its worldwide sales.
Probably the biggest hit with regard to Russia's IT business, courtesy of Taiwan, was TSMC's decision to participate in the US lead sanctions. This move will seriously reduce Russia's hope to become more reliant on homegrown chips.