Tech

Chinese customs seize thousands of misidentified graphics cards

XFX Radeon graphics cardImage: XFX

In business, success or failure is often found in the margins. So it’s easy to understand why someone might seek to widen them a bit, say, by labeling a $900 Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card as a $250 Radeon RX 6500 XT, and saving a few bucks on your customs declaration form. Something like that has allegedly happened, somewhere between Chinese graphics card manufacturer XFX and its retail supply chains. China’s customs authorities aren’t happy about it, and have seized a shipment of cards worth millions of dollars.

On Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, the official account for China’s General Customs Administration posted a record of a shipment of cards allegedly coming from Pine Technology Holdings Limited, the parent company of XFX. According to the report, three labels were positioned to cover up previous ones, marking the cards within as less expensive models, and thus lowering the apparent value of the shipment and the fees for transporting them. With over 5,800 cards inside, at least some of which were Radeon RX 6700 XT models, the total value of the shipment came out to over 20 million yuan, just over $3 million USD.

The customs account attached a video showing a truck offloading the goods, and authorities opening the packages to find more expensive cards than the ones allegedly promised on the shipment manifest. In an event may or may not be related, the Chinese online portal for XFX graphics cards was offline this weekend, as spotted by MyDrivers.com and VideoCardz. This would hardly be the first time someone decided that legitimate distribution of GPUs wasn’t “efficient” enough: in November an entire truck shipment of EVGA cards was stolen in California.

So if you suddenly find that the supply of high-end Radeon cards is even more constrained than it already was, the GPU you were looking for mighty just be sitting in a customs impound warehouse. Take comfort in that, while you might not be able to run Elden Ring at 60 frames per second, you don’t have to answer to a CCP inspector or an angry board of directors.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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