HPE said that it did not believe it had supplied the Chinese military through its joint-venture New H3C, after the business was sanctioned by the US government.

The company told The Register that it was unclear why subsidiary New H3C Semiconductor Technologies Co., Ltd had been added to the Entity List, and that it had yet to hear from the Commerce Department.

The company, a joint venture between HPE and Chinese Tsinghua Unigroup, was added along with 11 other Chinese tech and quantum computing firms late last week. New H3C is the exclusive provider of HPE servers, storage, and associated technical services in China.

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“We are reaching out to the Commerce Department to understand why this action was taken,” a spokesperson told the publication. “Given the holiday weekend in the US, we have not yet had the opportunity to discuss this matter in depth with the Commerce Department.”

The spokesperson added: "At this time, our due diligence suggests no indication that sales to the Chinese military have taken place. We’re working to understand why the Commerce Department has taken this action. We remain engaged with all relevant stakeholders to research this matter.”

Being added to the Entity List means that US companies are blocked from working with the firms, unless they get specific permission from the Commerce Department.

HPE's partner in New H3C, Tsinghua Unigroup, is separately going through its own struggles. This summer, the tech and semiconductor firm filed for bankruptcy, with more than 200bn yuan ($30.8bn) in debt.

A consortium led by Alibaba is thought to be close to acquiring the cloud chip division of Tsinghua.

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