back to article US-China chip cold war? It's only helping the Middle Kingdom, silicon makers warn

China's cold war with the US on chips isn't slowing down the country's rapid growth in semiconductors, the Semiconductor Industry Association said this week. The US sanctions on Chinese companies didn't have the intended effect of restricting China's semiconductor industry. In fact, the saber-rattling is only serving for China …

Page:

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sanctions

    Sanctions rarely have the desired effect. After the fall of the US supported government in Cuba, the six decades of sanctions haven't resulted in regime change. Instead they have only strengthened the hardliners. The same happened with the four decades of sanctions in Iran that followed the overthrow of the US supported Shah.

    Looking at the Soviet Union, it was broken up not by sanctions but by economic competition while the Russian sanctions against Putin seem to have little effect.

    The US needs to take a hard look at what the effect of sanctions in China are and reassess its actions. If the sanctions had helped Taiwan (or Ukraine), or if they had helped ethnic minorities, that would be one thing. But they haven't.

    Unfortunately the Red Scare mentality is still alive and well in both parties and a reassessment is unlikely.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Sanctions

      This whole 'them and us' mentality is the problem. We have one planet and we're all sharing it. We're past the time when we should have grown up and stopped this squabbling over imaginary lines drawn in geography.

      1. John Jennings

        Re: Sanctions

        That is laudable, but unfortunately would only work if it was reciprocal. Its not.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Sanctions

          Oh I agree. I wasn't advocating that we should start it now. I was just lamenting that we have yet to get ourselves into a position where it's possible. It's been hurting us as a species for at least half a century now and only looks to be costing us more each year that passes.

    2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      Re: Sanctions

      I would claim that sanctions are extremely effective.The total economic and social isolation of the Soviet bloc hampered their ability to gain technological parity with the West and allowed us to maintain a military advantage big enough to dissuade them from embarking on military adventures.

      Russia and China currently face no such embargoes and students and knowledge workers from those countries are still able to work and study here.

      The US is finally realizing that this needs to end in order to maintain its hegemony. China is already banned from purchasing the advanced Dutch EUV machines and this could lead to them losing more and more ground in the electronics market if the sanctions are broadened to other Chinese companies.

      Finally the West needs to stop allowing Russian and Chinese students to study here and exporting our technological know-how which could eventually be used against us.

      In the case of Russia this could be straightforward.In the case of China it's more difficult due to the enormous dependency of the West on Chinese goods and products.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctions

        It was not the US embargo that nobbled the Soviets, but their own embargo attitude that closed them off from the west.

        China is not shooting itself in the foot that way.

        1. ST Silver badge

          Re: Sanctions

          > China is not shooting itself in the foot that way.

          No, they're doing it in various new and innovative ways.

          > It was not the US embargo that nobbled the Soviets [ ... ]

          Buy a Cold War history book - published someplace other than Russia or China - and start reading on page 3. Assuming pages 1 and 2 are the inner cover.

          1. HildyJ Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions

            You obviously skipped the pages on the invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan.

          2. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions

            find a cold war history book written by someone without a bias towards one side or the other and I'll be surprised.

            The Cold war was just that, both sides were on a war footing without any actual fighting.

            Both sides rapidly developed technology and weapons that one-upped each other.

            the latest MiGs and Sukhoi aircraft are a match for the frankly failed Raptor and Lightning.

            Each side would convince you that they won the cold war, but to be fair the only ones who did were the arms dealers.

            The Russians could always be guaranteed to do what was in their own interest, but Xi is a completely different animal, under his stewardship, the PRC have surpassed the Russians and his rhetoric is about as aggressive as you can get. I have no doubt that he means what he says and his actions bear that out. what was before him a semi-capitalist country, is rapidly returning to the hardline state control, and building up its military and industrial capability.

            In the not too distant future, the western economies will be sidelined by the two behemoths from the east with populations over 1bn, China and India, that are both rapidly becoming skilled digital workforces and outputting superior products at a greater rate and lower cost.

            1. Tilda Rice

              Re: Sanctions

              LOL, not sure why you are being downvoted EnviableOne :)

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Sanctions

        It's far too late to talk about "maintaining US hegemony". That moment passed 20 years ago. What's left is maintaining US security, which is best done by restoring the network of alliances that Obama neglected and Trump wiped his arse on.

        China can't be "isolated" - what does it even mean to "isolate" the biggest country on earth? If they need to be completely self-sustaining in all things tech, they absolutely can do it. They've got the people.

        And they're neither stupid nor ignorant. Given a clear objective, Chinese engineers are every bit a match for their American counterparts. (Witness their significant lead in hypersonic missile technology, for instance.)

        What's still holding them back is a centralised decision making process, which prevents them from exploring many lines of investigation at all. But once they know a technology is useful - be it nanometer chip fabs, quantum computing or whatever - they can develop it for themselves.

        1. ST Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Sanctions

          > Chinese engineers are every bit a match for their American counterparts.

          Yeah. Maybe when it comes to microwave ovens or dishwashers. Otherwise, they're really not.

          > Witness their significant lead in hypersonic missile technology, for instance.

          As demonstrated by what, exactly? Propaganda videos?

          > [ ... ] quantum computing or whatever [ ... ]

          Ah, yes, China - the world leader in quantum computing. Based on copying MIPS and RISC-V designs from the US.

          Tell your boss you need a new propaganda script. This current one is too transparent and, frankly, a bit lame.

          1. FIA Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions

            > Chinese engineers are every bit a match for their American counterparts.

            Yeah. Maybe when it comes to microwave ovens or dishwashers. Otherwise, they're really not.

            So, you believe a group of humans on one side of a large spinning ball has a different distribution of intelligence amongst them than another group of humans at a different point on the same large spinning ball?

            Really??

            Ah, yes, China - the world leader in quantum computing. Based on copying MIPS and RISC-V designs from the US.

            Building on what came before is generally how progress works. (What that's framed as is generally how politics works. ;) )

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Sanctions

              2 people with undergrad maths degrees living in a swamp designed the ARM.

            2. ST Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Sanctions

              > you believe a group of humans on one side of a large spinning ball has a different distribution of intelligence amongst them than another group of humans at a different point on the same large spinning ball>

              1. Intelligence has very little to do with accomplishment.

              2. Look at the documented track record, and see how far behind China still is. Have Chinese engineers been able to design and build an 80Hp 4-cylinder automobile combustion engine that can operate at USA/EU/G7 standards? Oh, they haven't? Why is that? There are plenty of EU or US designed car engines to copy from.

              3. Totalitarian regimes that impose fear and terror on their general population do not progress as quickly as liberal democracies. Fear of severe punishment - up to and including death - is not an incentive for risk-taking, be it intellectual risk or business risk.

              4. If The CCP disapproves of someone's qubit error correction design ideas, because they contradict Mao Xi Pooh's invaluable contributions to quantum mechanics, that someone's design ideas will end up nowhere. Under the best of circumstances, that someone doesn't end up being sent to a re-education camp, for failing to internalize The Party's ideological vision.

              > Building on what came before is generally how progress works.

              5. Except for the fact that, in quantum computing, nothing came before, except quantum mechanics. It's all brand new with no past implementation experience to draw on. It still has to be invented.

              6. Show me China's quantum computer. I don't care about the number of qubits. Just show me a Chinese quantum computer. Oh, there isn't one?

              1. Alumoi Silver badge

                Re: Sanctions

                Have Chinese engineers been able to design and build an 80Hp 4-cylinder automobile combustion engine that can operate at USA/EU/G7 standards? Oh, they haven't? Why is that?

                Because they don't give a flying fuck about those standards?

                Fear of severe punishment - up to and including death - is not an incentive for risk-taking, be it intellectual risk... except when said intellectual risk is required by the state.

                If The CCP disapproves of someone's qubit error correction design ideas, because they contradict Mao Xi Pooh's invaluable contributions to quantum mechanics, that someone's design ideas will end up nowhere in public. It will go to secret government labs. Just like in the free world.

                1. ST Silver badge

                  Re: Sanctions

                  > Because they don't give a flying fuck about those standards?

                  Aaaaah, yes. The I can't build it so it must not be important excuse.

                  If it's not important, why do they keep trying (and failing)?

                  1. EnviableOne Silver badge

                    Re: Sanctions

                    Geeley currently own

                    Volvo, Proton, Lotus, LEVC (maker of London taxis)

                    SAIC own MG and have joint ventures with:

                    Volkswagen Group and General Motors

                    Most of the major manufacturers have Joint ventures in China only Tesla has its own factory and Elon must be paying Xi for it.

                    SAIC, Dongfeng, FAW, Chabg'an, BYD, GAC, Geely, Brilliance and Chery all make cars to EU/US Spec

                2. Peter Imran

                  Re: Sanctions

                  Don't blame you for your comments because you obviously have not been to anywhere, what more China. I have been to China multiple times from my little island he in South East Asia. Only thing I've to say is that the US is great in producing millions of homeless, drug addicts, gun violence deaths, military veteran suicides etc. I can go on but I feel you know the situation in the US much better than me.

                  1. ST Silver badge
                    Facepalm

                    Re: Sanctions

                    > [ ... ] you obviously have not been to anywhere, what more China.

                    And you would know that.

              2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
                Big Brother

                Re: Intelligence has very little to do with accomplishment. @ST

                I would disagree wholeheartedly, ST, and counter with the exact opposite being true and would state that the one cannot be accomplished without the other and with oodles of the one delivering vast smidgens of the other.

                Such is surely undoubtedly misinformation and worthy of a downvote.

                1. ST Silver badge

                  Re: Intelligence has very little to do with accomplishment. @ST

                  > [ ... ] one cannot be accomplished without the other [ ... ]

                  I'll give you one counter-example: Donald J. Trump. Intelligent he is not.

              3. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Sanctions

                >2. Look at the documented track record, and see how far behind China still is.

                So what?

                Suggest you look at where they were when Mao came to power and thus how quickly they have got their act together.

                Like it or not the odds are China will surpass the USA in the coming decade, unless the US decides to throw its toys out of the pram and nuc Bejing...

                >6. Show me China's quantum computer. I don't care about the number of qubits. Just show me a Chinese quantum computer. Oh, there isn't one?

                A Desktop Quantum Computer for Just $5,000 ...

                1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                  Re: Sanctions

                  Isn't Google's Quantum Computer Canadian

                  1. Kaufman

                    Re: Sanctions

                    I think Canada is just collaborating. In fact I'm sure that Google has reached out to all US allies to help them stay ahead of China.

                    1. ST Silver badge

                      Re: Sanctions

                      > I think Canada is just collaborating. In fact I'm sure that Google has reached out to all US allies to help them stay ahead of China.

                      You have no clue what you're talking about.

                2. ST Silver badge

                  Re: Sanctions

                  > A Desktop Quantum Computer for Just $5,000 ...

                  Here's one from Alienware: https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/cty/pdp/spd/alienware-aurora-r13-desktop. They've been making and selling them for the past 10+ years. And it's made with alien space-age technology.

                  It's only $1,399.99.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sanctions

                It amazes me every time someone thinks that China are far behind the US in everything when the fact is that the Chinese are in front of the US on many fronts. Let's not talked about the millions of homeless in the US as It's not part of this topic. If the Chinese are not innovative, she wouldn't have built her own Space Station something which the US can't build herself as the ISS was built by a bunch of countries. Hence we have the name International Space Station.No one said that China has Glided Hypersonic Missiles not even China but it was the Pentagon that gave the news to the World. Everything that the Chinese did must be stolen. If Western technologies were stolen for 1 year, 2 years or even 5 years, one can understand but for 40 long years since China opened herself to the world in 1978. You mean to say that the the West are so stupid to have their techs stolen for 40 long years or is it that the West are too idiotic to let those thefts happened? Those who have never been to China or perhaps believed too much from the news they hear or received that every advances that China made must be stolen. Like 5G for instance? What about landing on the dark side of the moon? What about having the most patents for 6G in the world? What about having the only quantum GPS Satellites System in the world? All these must be copied even though the West or even the US don't have it.

                1. rcxb1

                  Re: Sanctions

                  > Space Station something which the US can't build herself as the ISS was built by a bunch of countries

                  The US had its own space station in Skylab decades ago.

                  The ISS program was really designed as a Russia welfare program. It gave unemployed Russian rocket engineers something to do (other than build military systems for the highest bidder) while their economy imploded. It's a convenient excuse for the US to financially support Russia without the later losing face. After all the US is just paying for seats on Soyuz launches and funding joint developments, much like it funds a joint program with Russia to secure their nukes. The US is surely NOT sending truck loads of monetary support to Russia because it was on the verge of falling apart...

          2. Max Pyat

            Re: Sanctions

            Your comment comes across as a heady mixture of ignorance and thinly veiled racism.

            Why are you getting so insecure? Even if you are, you'd be better to try and conceal it as it rather gives the impression you've formed the opinion that the "West" is "losing" to China as things stand.

          3. IGotOut Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions

            "Chinese engineers are every bit a match for their American counterparts.

            Yeah. Maybe when it comes to microwave ovens or dishwashers. Otherwise, they're really not."

            NASCAR engines are still made from cast iron, that's high tech USA engineering..... Oh and just to rub it in, many made in the UK. I know, we make them in the same foundry as diesel train engines.

            Now the F1 engines, now they are something else.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sanctions

              Hint is in the name NASCAR: as in Stock Car. NASCAR racing cars are not meant to be the cutting edge. They're meant to run at high speeds, yes, but they're also intentionally limited in various ways to encourage competition on the people end of it rather than the tech end of it.

          4. Kaufman

            Re: Sanctions

            Another great example of the classic American ignorance. No wonder they're a failed state.

        2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

          Re: Sanctions

          Sure, they can be self sufficient, they've got one of the biggest markets in the world. But their isolation will rob them of money and influence and turn them into a hermit kingdom.

          The detente with China was great while it lasted, but we've come to the realization that China won't change in the way we'd like them to so it's time to turn off the tap.

          1. FIA Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions

            The detente with China was great while it lasted, but we've come to the realization that China won't change in the way we'd like them to so it's time to turn off the tap.

            But if we do that which countries poor levels of worker rights will we exploit for our cheap goods next??!?

            Won't someone think of the children!!

            (Typed on a Chinese designed and built keyboard, in an input box I got to by clicking using a Chinese built mouse; the details of which where hard to read, so I had to turn up my Chinese made lights, using a Chinese made button. I found out these were made in China by using my Chinese built phone to google it.

            I've not looked where the monitor is made).

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Sanctions

              >But if we do that which countries poor levels of worker rights will we exploit for our cheap goods next??!?

              The confederacy ?

            2. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Sanctions

              Asia is a big zone. Same as Africa and South America. Hell, there are even some Eastern European countries we can try.

          2. Max Pyat

            Re: Sanctions

            References to Hermit Kingdom like this are pure markers of racism and ignorance.

            You're also rather missing the point that China is showing no intention of isolating itself from the world, even if it does end up being cold-shouldered by the US. They are working hard on building relations across Africa and of course with a range of countries that the US has been strong-arming.

            What one can easily imagine happening next is that you'll have Chinese engineers and other workers operating at large scale in countries that the US would traditionally have considered it had carte blanche to invade/bomb. Except that will get trickier if such actions are likely to involve significant loss of Chinese life.

            It's the same reason you had British and American soldiers in Germany in cold war, and why they brought their families. So that if Soviet tanks ever did roll across the border, No. 10 and the White House wouldn't have to justify intervention purely on the basis of "our friends in Germany" but also "our troops, their wives and children are in harm's way"

          3. Little Poppet
            WTF?

            Re: Sanctions

            You're all over the place here; trying to fit in a narrative that is incorrect.

            "But their isolation will rob them of money and influence and turn them into a hermit kingdom."

            Maybe pay attention to what the Middle Kingdom has been doing for the past 40 years or so.

            Also don't conflate China's track record of non-interventionism and keeping to themselves with isolationism.

            Hint, it's the US and it's lackeys who are trying to isolate and contain China.

            "but we've come to the realization that China won't change in the way we'd like them to so it's time to turn off the tap."

            Spoken like a true Imperialist.

            "China won't change in the way we'd like them to" - To think you have the morals and right to cast judgement and punish a sovereign nation because it goes against you're own agenda is a product of entitlement and arrogance.

            As for 'turning off the tap'... that opportunity has long gone. Gone are the days when the US could bully everyone into submission. At least there is now another actor on the world stage who can balance out the US, and I think everyone agrees, this is a good thing!

          4. claimed

            Re: Sanctions

            Ah the old, "it's my football so if I can't be a striker I'm taking my ball home" technique

          5. Peter Imran

            Re: Sanctions

            How are you going to turn off the tap that despite trade barriers and tariffs from the US, trade between China and the US grew by 28% last year and China enjoys a trade surplus of $367 billion against the US. In per capita income, China is still far behind the US. But as a country, China is richer than the US with $3.6 trillion in foreign reserves and with US owing China $1.1 trillion making China total wealth at $4.7 trillions. The US have debts of almost $100 trillion consisting of foreign debts of almost $30 trillions, internal debts that consists of domestic consumers debts of $15 trillion, Corporate debts of $15 trillion, students debts of $2 trillion with rest owed by the US government to the FEDs. Like it or not, China growth is inevitable.

        3. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Sanctions

          The Chinese also think long-term, not just a year or two ahead by decades. This is what is created the powerhouse that is now China and why they are so successful.

          If something does not work, they go back, learn, refine & repeat until is does. All the things the "developed" countries used to do in the 19th/20th Centuries before short term money making on stock markets became so important.

          The only way for the West to even start to be able to regain parity on manufacturing is to move the view ahead beyond greedy shareholders, Venture Capitalist funds and politics.

          All have been completely destructive in the race for quick money.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanctions

        I beg to differ.

        The most interesting result of the sanctions on Russia was that they became FAR more efficient in coding and the use of resources, whereas the Western world was tied up in the Intel/Microsoft cycle of wasting more and more resources on .. well, I still don't know why a word processor needs so much CPU while it's mostly waiting for me to press a key.

        As for China, Trump's sanctions have merely resulted in making it aware where the US has leverage, and it's hard to work to undo that, and as it sits on a new source of energy that the US due to political pressures has only just started to explore I suspect the US is going to be more and more about posturing - the power to actually control China was lost a good decade ago, and they know it.

        The problem with the US and others is that they still seem to arrogantly assume that smart people only live in the West. Major mistake.

      4. Rol

        Re: Sanctions

        It's interesting that a socialist model would have one bureaucratically managed industry, churning out an homogeneous product to meet demand, with little or no choice for the consumer, while the capitalist model seeks the same lack of choice for the consumer by getting rid of the competition by any means.

        One model supplies me with what I need at cost plus a small margin, and is overseen by party officials to ensure certain standards are maintained, while the other will only be supplied to me if I am willing to contribute towards the cost of another luxury jet for the directors and accept whatever dross falls off the end of the conveyor belt, because they have already bought and paid for several politicians and a clutch of judges.

        We are all too aware of how America will about face on its mantra of free trade when it finds its own industries cannot compete, and will apply any and all measures to stifle international competition. It's like free trade is great, but only if our companies are dominant in the market.

        So my Chinese supplied router, might....and that is a really tiny and unproven might, be passing all my details onto the communist party of China, whereas the very fact I live in the "free world" means my data is most definitely being hoovered up by the self appointed custodians of the "free world". One of those parties can have a very huge influence on my life, while the other hasn't, so guess which cheap and reliable router I'd plump for, if I was allowed a choice?

        1. Tilda Rice

          Re: Sanctions

          Your missive completely ignores competition. Rides rough shod over the fact that most corps aren't this corrupt judge buying entity. Bit juvenile.

          I'm not in love with our data tracking big tech Google/ FB etc.

          But i'll take that over a regime that has covered up C19, killed its owned citizens with guns and tanks and choses what you consume on the Internet.

          The fact you think they are close or even preferable is illustration of some of the nonsense in these comments sections.

          I dare say you would feel very differently if they whisked you off to a "re-education" camp.

          Ask Jack Ma (if you can find him) boss of Alibaba what he thinks.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Sanctions

            I am not sure Jack Ma gave me a honest answear and I am not also all that convinced that perhaps Facebook & Co did not get too much power a bit too easily.

            It is complicated and there is the part built on ideology and our view on what is right, but there is also the damned reality of the reality.

            This by Richard Wolff is much about the reality:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CydroIVRT_I

            PS. I would rather share a bier with Jack Ma than with Zuck, as I think he is more of a human, but who knows.

      5. adriboca

        Re: Sanctions

        Sorry, but you do not have the slightest idea about the real effect of sanctions.

        I have grown up in a country occupied by communists, so it was affected by the Western sanctions, but in reality those did not have any effect on the technological capabilities.

        The local engineers knew perfectly well how to make anything that could be made in the US or UK, both from local research and from reverse engineering, and also from technical information provided by spies, which included even such things like complete mask sets of integrated circuits.

        Despite that, they almost never could do anything close to what their technological know-how would have permitted.

        The real reason why there was a large and continuously increasing technological disparity between the Western countries and the communist countries had nothing to do with sanctions.

        The local engineers could not make what they knew how to make because they were crippled by the parasitic communist management that infested every company and institution, which ensured that any kind of rewards or promotions had nothing to do with the quality of the work and which resisted any kind of improvements in any domain.

        The communist countries failed entirely due to internal causes, not due to any kind of external sanctions and pressures. Few actions of USA or allies had any successful influence, and that was only by indirect effects, e.g. the show played by Reagan with the Strategical Defense Initiative, which fooled the Russians into increasing their military spending even more over what they could sustain.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

          Re: Sanctions

          No, it's because knowledge in itself is useless if you lack the industrial infrastructure to make use of it.

          Behind the West's scientific and technological superiority is an enormous industrial and financial might that is able to utilize these advances to stay two steps ahead of the Communist bloc (and we that holds with China too, apart from the fact that it's currently less than one step ahead because we allow Chinese students in our colleges and universities).

          1. Little Poppet

            Re: Sanctions

            "No, it's because knowledge in itself is useless if you lack the industrial infrastructure to make use of it."

            You probably haven't any experience of China I see. When was the last time you lived there? They are literally the leaders in industrial infrastructure.

            "Behind the West's scientific and technological superiority is an enormous industrial and financial might"

            Clearly you've not been paying attention to what China has been doing through the past 40 years. Also, you've not read the article aswell...

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Sanctions

            >No, it's because knowledge in itself is useless if you lack the industrial infrastructure to make use of it.

            Japan didn't have the industrial infrastructure after WWII, however people there actually read the management and quality books and papers being published in the USA and used the knowledge to create an industrial infrastructure that made use of it.

            We saw similar in post-war Germany, where the military was put in charge of the reconstruction of industry and not western businessmen, result, this required them to read and apply western management thinking without a "self-aggrandizement" and "exploit the workers" mind set, the rest is, as they say, history...

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022