It seems that the next stage of escalation in the chip war between the U.S. and China was triggered last week. According to media reports, the U.S. Department of Commerce has strengthened sanctions to such an extent that experts believe the Chinese semiconductor industry will be severely damaged. The embargo is similar to the measures introduced against Huawei in 2019.
- The Bureau of Industry and Security (BSI) introduces drastic U.S. sanctions.
- The Chinese chip industry will be massively damaged.
- Samsung and TSMC will receive an exemption license for 1 year.
Drastic U.S. sanctions introduced against Chinese semiconductor industry
We all remember the 2019, by the then U.S. President Donald Trump, initiated measures against the then very successful Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei. To date, in Western regions, Huawei smartphones without 5G support and Google Mobile Services (GMS) have extremely limited relevance.
Now, an even more devastating scenario seems to be looming. Because last week, according to a media report from "Computer Base", sanctions were issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BSI), which could now endanger the entire Chinese chip industry.
In detail, the new export controls were published on October 7 and the U.S. sanctions have been in effect since October 12. In simple terms, this means that, with immediate effect, no more US technology may be used in the production of semiconductors with a structure width of less than 16 nanometers.
This affects both hardware, such as manufacturing tools, and software. In this case, EUV exposure systems and DUV scanners from the USA play a major role. DRAM and NAND memory chips are also affected. Here from a structure width of 18 nanometers and 128 layers.
Furthermore, U.S. citizens are now prohibited from participating in the development or production of Chinese semiconductor plants. Failure to comply will result in the revocation of their US citizenship. US engineers are currently leaving China en masse, as the South China Morning Post reports.
The world's largest Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation), SK Hynix and Samsung are also affected by the sanctions. However, TSMC and Samsung have received an exemption license, valid for one year.
The USA justifies the sanctions with "national security"
As was the case with Huawei at the time, the official explanation for the drastic measures taken by the US is national security. In this regard, the BSI Under Secretary states as follows:
As I told Congress in July, my north star at BIS is to ensure that we are appropriately doing everything in our power to protect our national security and prevent sensitive technologies with military applications from being acquired by the People’s Republic of China’s military, intelligence, and security services.
For those who have so far thought that the embargo on Huawei was one of Donald Trump's many incomprehensible decisions, it is worth mentioning here that the current US President Joe Biden is also following this ideology. According to his statements, he is planning chip manufacturing that starts and also ends in the US.
What do you think? Will this chip war backfire for the U.S. in the end, or does America have its back against the wall anyway and is more or less forced to take such drastic measures in order not to completely lose touch? Write us your opinion in the comments.