Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Those who thought that the arrival of Joe Biden to the US presidency was going to eliminate the different vetoes on Chinese technology companies have discovered how not only has this not been the case, but that they are expanding. The semiconductor war has only just begun: a battle that may have consequences for the Western technology market. The Americans are fully committed to reining in China’s thriving and lucrative semiconductor industry. The latest objectives are focused on stopping the advances of the YMTC firm, creator of the fourth-generation TLC 3D chip that has 232 layers of memory cells and that allows it to compete with and even surpass the chips of North American companies. The product is so good that Apple was one of the first companies to indicate that it plans to use these new chips in its iPhones. The response from the US government was almost immediate, indicating to the apple firm that it would face an investigation by Congress if it dared to use them. Last October, the Department of Commerce added 31 Chinese companies to its “Unverified List”, which which effectively prevents them from importing controlled US products out of fear that they could be used to undermine US foreign policy or national security. Among them is YMTC. The war is on because the White House is intensifying its efforts to curb China’s national semiconductor industry and its policy seems to be having an effect. The objective is none other than that the most advanced cutting-edge technologies do not fall into the hands of the Chinese army.

The American decline

The Chinese regime, which already knows how to handle itself in this environment, is making heavy investments aimed at making its own industries more self-sufficient, and they seem not to be very concerned about Biden’s measures, at least relatively. The truth is that other circumstances are hidden behind the policies of the White House: what the government really wants is to promote its own semiconductor industry given the progress that Chinese technology is making, which is putting more and more resources and money into its development. . That is why the Chip Law that Biden carried out last August.

The semiconductor war has only just begun: a battle that may have consequences for the Western technology market

Although this technological war does not occupy so many headlines, the strategy of both giants can affect the technological sector, as a report by the Financial Times assures. The business daily claims that cutting off access to Chinese technology will drive up prices for businesses and consumers around the world, all in an environment of runaway inflation. The FT is not wrong: in the UK, telecommunications companies are asking for more time to be able to abandon Huawei technology due to the cost that this entails. Meanwhile, the new export restrictions that Biden has implemented appear to be affecting China since that semiconductor imports have fallen by a little more than 12.4% during the past month of September. The problem for China, according to the FT, is not related to innovation, but rather that it does not find the necessary equipment to manufacture its advanced semiconductors since most of the manufacturers that have to provide them with the material are North Americans, so if they cannot export to the Asian giant, the Chinese factories would remain unemployed. They could only access the less rigorous European market where companies like the Dutch ASML could export the material. However, the American lobby is already working for the Commission or the Dutch government itself to impose the same type of import restrictions. China does not want to miss the opportunity to lead this market and get ahead of the Americans in what it has always been his garden of Eden. So, with Huawei’s lesson learned, it is injecting money into various companies so that they can manufacture the necessary materials for the production of advanced semiconductors themselves and, in this way, counteract US policies. new conflict to the already stressed world of component manufacturing. A conflict that will affect all hardware manufacturers dependent on Asian production. The consulting firm Gartner already forecasts that the revenue of the global semiconductor industry will decrease by 3.6 percent next year, which would leave the 4% growth of this 2022 practically nothing. The figure, even being bad, is worse in the case of memory chips: its revenue will fall by more than 16% next year. One more figure to add to the technological conflict between the two superpowers.

By Alvaro Rivers

Award-winning student. Incurable social media fanatic. Music scholar. Beer maven. Writer.