Washington is increasingly restraining Beijing’s economic ambitions in the chip market. To do this, the US is restricting China’s access to chip-making equipment, reports Bloomberg with reference to two major manufacturers.
Previously, Washington banned the sale without a license of equipment that can be used to produce chips of 10 nm or better. The restriction concerned the leading Chinese manufacturer Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.
Now the ban has been extended to chips smaller than 14 nm. Presumably, the moratorium applies not only to the specified manufacturer, but also to other enterprises under the management of contract manufacturers of microcircuits from China including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. so the new ban will cover a wider range of semiconductor equipment.
“We were recently notified that there was to be a broadening of the restrictions of technology shipments to China for fabs that are operating below 14 nanometers. That’s the change, I think, people have been thinking might be coming and we’re prepared to fully comply. We’re working with the US government,” said Tim Archer, chief executive officer of Lam Research Corp.
The US Department of Commerce announced that it is strengthening the policy towards China, but did not specify the geometry of the chips. Meanwhile, in the past two weeks, all U.S. hardware manufacturers have received an offer not to supply equipment to the Chinese for manufacturing at 14nm or below, according to insiders. Since many 14nm licenses have already been revoked, the changes will have little financial impact.