Tech & Science

Tech war brewing as China hits back at U.S. restrictions on advanced computer chips – National

China’s leaders, enraged by U.S. efforts to cut off access to technology to make advanced computer chips, have no idea how to retaliate without undermining their own ambitions in communications, artificial intelligence and other industries. seems to be struggling to find

read more:

China says latest US export curbs on chips will ‘isolate and backfire’ US

President Xi Jinping’s government is using the chips in everything from cell phones to kitchen appliances to fighter jets as part of its strategic competition with Washington and its efforts to gain wealth and global influence. regarded as an important asset in Chips are at the center of the “technology war,” a Chinese scientist wrote in his February official journal.

China has its own chip foundries, but they only supply low-end processors used in cars and electronics. The US government, which began under then-President Donald Trump, has cut off access to tools for making chips for computer servers, AI, and other advanced applications. Japan and the Netherlands have joined in restricting access to technology they claim could be used to make weapons.

The story continues under the ad

In March, Xi used unusually sharp words to accuse Washington of trying to hinder China’s development with a campaign of “containment and suppression.” He called on the public to “dare to fight.”

Despite this, the Chinese government has been slow to retaliate against US companies. Perhaps to avoid disrupting the Chinese industry that assembles most of the world’s smartphones, tablet computers and other consumer electronics. They import over $300 billion worth of foreign chips each year.

The ruling Communist Party has spent billions of dollars trying to speed up chip development and reduce the need for foreign technology.

China’s biggest complaint is being prevented from buying machines available only from ASML, a Dutch company that uses ultraviolet light to etch circuits into silicon chips at the nanometer or billionth of a meter scale. Without it, China’s efforts to make transistors faster and more efficient by packing them into a piece of silicon the size of a fingernail would be deadlocked.

Click to play video: 'Biden administration announces plans to invest $50 billion in semiconductor industry'

Biden administration announces plans to invest $50 billion in semiconductor industry

Manufacturing a processor chip requires approximately 1,500 steps and technology owned by US, European, Japanese and other suppliers.

The story continues under the ad

“China will not swallow everything. If damage is done, we must take action to protect ourselves,” Tan Jian, China’s ambassador to the Netherlands, told Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad. rice field.

“I’m not going to speculate on what it is,” Tan said. “It’s not all about harsh words”

The conflict has issued warnings that the world could be cut off or divided into separate territories by incompatible technological standards. This means computers, smartphones, and other products in one region may not work in another. It can drive up costs and slow down innovation.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at an economic forum in China last month that the divide between technology and economic systems is deepening. “This will impose a huge economic cost.”

read more:

Biden-Xi Jinping meeting heralds new era in U.S. export controls on computer chips

Sino-U.S. relations are at their lowest level in decades amid a security dispute, Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong and its Muslim minority, territorial disputes and China’s multibillion-dollar trade surplus.

According to Handel Jones, a tech industry consultant, China’s industry will “hit the wall” in 2025 or 2026 if it can’t get its hands on next-generation chips and proprietary tools.

China “will start to fall far behind,” said Jones, CEO of International Business Strategy.

The story continues under the ad

However, Beijing may hold the weight as the largest source of electric vehicle batteries, Jones said.

Chinese battery giant CATL supplies U.S. and European automakers. Ford Motor Co. plans to use his CATL technology at his $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan.

“China will fight back,” Jones said. “What the public may see is that China is not supplying the US with batteries for EVs.”

On Friday, Japan joined Washington in stepping up pressure on Beijing by imposing controls on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. China was not mentioned in the announcement, but the trade minister said Tokyo does not want its technology to be used for military purposes.

Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, warned Japan that “weaponizing science and technology and trade issues” would “harm not only itself but others”.

A few hours later, the Chinese government released an investigation of Micron Technology Inc., the largest US memory chip maker, a major supplier of Chinese factories. China’s Cyberspace Administration said it would look for national security threats in Micron’s technology and manufacturing, but did not provide details.

The Chinese military also needs semiconductors to develop stealth fighters, cruise missiles and other weapons.

read more:

Canada, US ready to ‘fight China’ on defense, trade: Ambassador

The story continues under the ad

China’s vigilance grew after President Joe Biden expanded Trump-imposed restrictions on chip-making technology in October. Biden also banned Americans from aiding Chinese manufacturers in some processes.

To nurture Chinese suppliers, the Xi Jinping government is stepping up support, with research grants and other subsidies amounting to $30 billion a year, according to industry experts.

Yangtze Memory Technology Co., Ltd. (YMTC), China’s largest memory chip maker, received an injection of 49 billion yuan ($7 billion) from two public funds this year, according to financial information provider Tianyancha.

One was the China National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund (Big Fund), the government’s main investment vehicle. Founded in 2014 with 139 billion yuan ($21 billion), it has invested in hundreds of companies.

Big Fund launched a second entity known as Big Fund II in 2019 with 200 billion yuan ($30 billion).

In January, chipmaker Hua Hong Semiconductor donated 1.2 billion yuan ($175 million) to Big Fund II’s planned 6.7 billion yuan ($975 million) wafer fabrication facility in Wuxi, eastern China. announced.

In March, the cabinet promised tax cuts and other support to the industry. It didn’t give a price tag. The government also set up “integrated circuit talent training bases” in 23 universities and 6 other schools.

The story continues under the ad

Junwei Luo, a formal semiconductor research institute scientist, wrote in the February issue of the Journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences: Mr. Luo called for “self-reliance and self-improvement of semiconductors.”

The scale of spending required is enormous. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), a global leader in the industry, is entering the third year of his $100 billion three-year plan to expand research and production.

Industry researchers say developers such as Huawei Technologies Inc. and VeriSilicon Holdings Inc. can design logic chips for smartphones with performance on a par with the likes of Intel, Apple, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Britain’s Arm. However, manufacturing is not possible without the precision technology of foreign foundries such as TSMC.

Trump crippled Huawei’s smartphone brand in 2019 by blocking Huawei from buying US chips and other technology. U.S. officials have said Huawei, China’s first global technology brand, may be facilitating Chinese espionage, a claim the company has denied. In 2020, the White House tightened controls to stop TSMC and others from using US technology to make chips for Huawei.

Click to play video: 'What China's retaliation could look like after Canada bans Huawei's 5G tech'

What China’s retaliation could look like after Canada bans Huawei’s 5G tech

Washington in August imposed new hurdles for Chinese chip designers, urging governments in Europe, Asia and other countries to limit the spread of “dual-use” technology that could be used to make weapons. put limits on the software known as EDA (Electronic Design Automation). .

The story continues under the ad

In December, Mr. Biden blacklisted memory chip maker YMTC and other Chinese companies, restricting their access to chips made with U.S. tools and processes.

Chinese foundries can etch circuits at 28-nanometer intervals. In contrast, TSMC and other global competitors can etch circuits at just 3 nanometer intervals. This is ten times the accuracy of the Chinese industry. They are heading towards 2 nanometers.

To make the latest chips, “you need EUV[extreme ultraviolet lithography]tools, very complex process recipes, not just billions of dollars, but tens of billions of dollars,” Bain says. Peter Hanbury, who follows & Co.

“They won’t be able to produce chips for competitive servers, PCs and smartphones,” said Hanbury. “You have to go to TSMC to do that.”

China’s ruling party is trying to develop its own tool vendor, but researchers say it lags far behind its global network spanning dozens of countries.

Huawei said in a video on its website in December that it was working on EUV technology. But creating a machine to rival ASML could cost him $5 billion and take 10 years of research, according to industry experts. Huawei did not respond to a request for comment.

The day when China can supply its own EUV machines is “very far away,” said Hanbury.

The story continues under the ad

— Contributed by Beijing AP researcher Yu Bing and Amsterdam AP writer Mike Corder.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button