U.S. Aims to Counter China’s Semiconductor Lithography Gap

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A recent conference of Chinese chip manufacturing equipment producers shed light on the state of affairs in the semiconductor industry amidst ongoing U.S. sanctions. A significant observation emerged from a Chinese manufacturer suggesting that the United States intends to ensure that China remains at least five generations behind in lithography technology.

Image Source: LinkedIn

According to the South China Morning Post, Gerald Yin Zhiyao, the CEO and Chairman of AMEC, a Chinese lithography equipment manufacturer, expressed his views on the matter. He remarked, “The October export controls exposed the true intentions of the U.S., which seeks to keep China’s lithography at the 28nm technology level, at least five generations behind the global advanced range of 14nm to 3nm.” He emphasized that Chinese equipment manufacturers are not willing to accept this setback.

U.S. sanctions against specific Chinese companies began in 2019, but the export control restrictions, especially those impacting Chinese chip contract manufacturers, have proven most detrimental to the local industry, as stated by the head of AMEC. The recent executive order signed by the U.S. President to limit investments in three sectors of the Chinese economy marks the 16th restrictive measure taken by the U.S. in this regard.

Gerald Yin Zhiyao highlighted that Chinese chip manufacturing enterprises rely on domestic equipment for only 15% of their needs, with the remaining 85% being supplied from the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands. Following the October sanctions, the U.S. initiated efforts to rally its allies in Japan and the Netherlands for synchronized action. AMEC itself was listed as one of the Chinese firms suspected of collaborating with China’s defense complex in 2021 by the U.S. After four months of intense negotiations, these accusations were eventually dropped.

In the grand scheme of things, the head of AMEC believes that professionals who returned to China following sanctions after working in foreign corporations will aid the domestic industry’s progress in achieving import substitution. He asserts that the West cannot impede China’s progress in the semiconductor field by blocking equipment supplies. The semiconductor industry’s transformation is being propelled by a global drive for technological advancement, and China remains committed to achieving self-sufficiency.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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