U.S. Arbitrary Tech Blockade Cannot Stop China’s Progress

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Mainstream US media have once again touted US restrictions on the sale of cutting-edge chip equipment from Dutch tech giant ASML Holding to Chinese companies and touted the measure’s impacts on China’s technological progress. .

The Biden administration is trying to make sure ASML doesn’t sell China the Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) System, a $ 150 million machine that’s critical to making advanced chips in everything from smartphones advanced and 5G cellular equipment to computers used for artificial intelligence, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

The New York Times previously claimed that by keeping “the most complicated machine” out of China’s reach, US policymakers appear to have found key leverage to prevent China from building a completely self-sufficient supply chain in technology. semiconductors.

However, this is clearly not the case. Just as ASML CEO Peter Wennink has said, Washington’s anti-China technology blockade is a bad idea and will backfire. Export controls against China will not only fail to stop its technological progress, but will also hurt the US economy.

Even in the midst of the global chip shortage, the US obstruction of a possible deal between ASML and Chinese companies, an arbitrary move that violates a fundamental principle of the market economy, will only have to do with limited impact on China.

ASML’s EUV lithography system is mainly used to produce advanced 7nm, 5nm or 3nm chips, which only account for 17% of the total market. Since the remaining 83% of demand is for chips of 10nm and larger, China has a large space for innovation. It is now more important for China to use mature technology to improve chip performance, according to Wu Hanming, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and dean of the School of Micro-nano Electronics at the University of China. Zhejiang.

In the immediate term, it is not an easy task for China to achieve technological independence in advanced chip equipment, but if the United States continues its mistaken technology blockade, China will only intensify its efforts. efforts. Under US blockade and containment, China decided to promote its independent research and development capabilities. From an industrial point of view, when the market momentum is strong enough, advancements in chip equipment will come sooner than expected. It is estimated that China will be able to achieve a key breakthrough in the development of deep ultraviolet lithography (DUV) systems in less than three years, and in UVR in less than five years.

What is certain is that if the United States persists in moving forward and continues to impose a technological blockade and containment on China, only its economy will suffer. According to estimates from the US Department of Commerce, if US business with China on semiconductors is completely shut down, it will likely cost between $ 80 billion and $ 100 billion in sales and 125,000 jobs in the United States.

The author is the managing director of the Chinese telecommunications industry information website, cctime.com. [email protected]

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