Seagate hit with huge fine for selling hard drives to Huawei

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Anton27)

Seagate has been landed with a $300 million fine after allegedly selling storage devices to Huawei without the relevant license for a period of more than 12 months.

Between August 2020 and September 2021, the company reportedly raked in $1.1 billion in revenue for selling 7.4 million hard drives over the course of 429 separate transactions with the Chinese tech pariah.

The settlement agreement between Seagate’s subsidiaries and the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will see the firm pay out $300 million over the course of five years with a $15 million-per-quarter payment plan.

Seagate fine

Huawei is one of many entries on a US list of companies that require specific licenses for certain types of trade, however failure to comply with the regulations has proven to be a costly mistake for Seagate with a fine worth nearly 3% of its entire revenue (not profit).

Huawei entered the US list in August 2020, at which point Seagate’s main rivals had called an end to their supply of HDDs to the Chinese company (via BIS).

“Integrity is one of our core values, and we have a strong commitment to compliance as evidenced by our global team of international trade compliance and legal professionals - complemented by external experts and outside counsel," Seagate Company CEO Dave Mosley said in a press release.

“Today’s action is the consequence: the largest standalone administrative resolution in our agency’s history. This settlement is a clarion call about the need for companies to comply rigorously with BIS export rules,” said Export Enforcement Assistant Secretary Matthew S Axelrod.

While proportionally low compared to total revenue, the $300 million settlement is expected to leave a significant hole in Seagate’s finances to the degree that it has brought forward its third quarter fiscal report announcement by five days.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!