USA restricted semiconductor exports to China

USA restricted semiconductor exports to China

US authorities are sweeping limits on the sale of semiconductors and chip-manufacturing equipment to China, The New York Times reports with reference to the US Department of Commerce. Washington believes this measure will make it harder for Beijing to access critical technologies that are needed in a wide range of fields, according to the newspaper. One of the department’s regulations bans a broad range of products made outside the United States with American technology from being sent to 28 Chinese companies.

Those companies include Megvii Technology, Dahua Technology, iFLYTEK, Sunway Microelectronics, Yitu Technologies and others, as well as a variety of labs and research institutions linked to universities and the Chinese government.

Technology experts interviewed by NYT pointed out that these appear to be the broadest export controls issued in a decade. While similar to the measures implemented by the administration of former US President Donald Trump with regard to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the new rules are even wider in scope, affecting dozens of Chinese firms.

The new package of restrictions demonstrates the United States’ desire to establish control over advanced computing and semiconductor technology that is essential to China’s military and economic ambitions, according to NYT. The restrictions aim to significantly slow the progress of Chinese military programs, which use supercomputers to model nuclear blasts, guide hypersonic weapons, and establish advanced networks for surveilling dissidents and minorities, among other things.

The new restrictions include a requirement that, in order to supply the aforementioned products to China, companies will have to receive a special license. Most of those licenses will be denied, though certain shipments to facilities operated by US companies will be evaluated case by case, a senior administration official said.

According to industry executives, American graphic processing units, which will now be restricted, are used by many Chinese enterprises that rely on artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms. Those include companies developing autonomous driving and gene sequencing technologies, as well as the artificial intelligence company SenseTime and ByteDance, which owns TikTok.

In August, the USA threatened to withdraw funding from integrated circuit manufacturers if they expanded chip production in China, while the US Congress approved $52 billion funding to aid domestic chip production.