back to article Economic cold war looms as Chinese chipmakers feel sting of US trade restrictions

The Biden administration's efforts to stymie China's semiconductor industry appear to have got the attention of chipmakers. This week Bloomberg reported that China's Ministry of Industry and Information called an emergency meeting, inviting some of the country's largest chipmakers to voice their concerns. Many, including …

  1. Lordrobot Bronze badge

    John Wayne Flunks MATHS Class.

    A few simple facts...

    1) Narrow gated semiconductors comprise only 5% of the global Market.

    2) The great big stupid Chips Act that portends to make Columbus OH as the center of the global semiconductor Universe is a 6 year pipe dream that will end much like Foxconn as nothing but a real estate windfall.

    3) Korea and Taiwan are not going to surrender their FAB supremacy to prop up old man Biden and Trump.

    4) China is focused on chips of 14 nm and greater gate size. That is 95% of the market. And they are in fact reducing foreign dependence.

    5) China's approach to repackaging will allow math coprocessors to blow past narrow gate processors. Remember the more narrow the gate the greater the noise from ambient Heat. Moore unfortunately wasn't a physicist.

    6) Blocking sales to the largest global buyer only destroys your own semiconductor seller.

    7) Teck has a very short shelf life, like bananas in a broken-down refrigerator car in Needles California. If you are not in the game you are GONE from the game.

    8) Semiconductor account for just 1.2% of the US GDP. Why does that matter. Well if the US becomes irksome, China can hit the US hard in ways that can destroy the US GDP. Example Chemicals. Chemicals are 25% of the US GDP. China is gobbling up global Chemical companies and now has 60% global market share heading to 90%. A big chunk is at the US expense. But of the US has Gov help with OSHA, EPA, and Litigation like ROUNDUP. China manufacturing is big and they can hurt you Murica. Joe Bide is a Mosquito, China can raise prices by 5% and send the US into a recession.

    9) China gets 7nm in half the time Murican experts claimed. This has always been the trend when China has been backed against the wall. I can give example after example where the US has pushed China into self-reliance and a short time later was pushing for global market share. China is committed to RISC-V. Meanwhile, ARM is suing its biggest US customer Qualcomm.

    So what is it that China needs to tip the US semiconductor industry out by the tonsils? Simple. Lithography or some other new technology. That's it. China has all the other raw materials and substrates it needs. That only holds China back from 5nm or less. 5% of the market. But but but... Korea's largest customer is China and Taiwan's largest trading partner is Mainland China. Europe is feeling the same pinch. As CEO of ASML said, China will have an EUV device in 5 years or less, then Europe gets blown out along with Korea, Taiwan and the US. Forcing China to be self-reliant will destroy the largest buyer market in the world. In spite of all the USA grandiosity, the projection calls for a continued shrinkage of US semiconductor industry of 3% a year. That in the face of the ANTI-INFLATION BILL, oh excuse me the CHIPS ACT. Same difference, none of it will work.

    This has been done before. The Gov wasted billion on solar cells in the US to be "independent from Chiner... net result, China owns 95% of the global market. Batteries are the same. Obama paid billions to companies to build battery plants. Not one battery was produced and today China owns 90% of the global battery market. The government picking winners is AMTRAK. A bottomless pit of inefficiency and future debt.

    One other important point. UK, US, EU are heading into a debt bomb inflation recession. It has never failed that during a recession China has always grown faster than the US and the great periods of catch-up were recessions because China's less expensive goods are in high demand in global recessions. Joe Biden doesn't want to sell US technology but he has to buy Chinese animal feeds and Chinese fertilizers just to eat.

    One other happy thought. While China gets derided for Covid Lockdowns, New York City cases of Covid are up 20%. Covid is coming back again. Imagine a US recession with COVID... Worse, you still have 100 ships off the coast of Port LA and Long Beach. JOE's beloved gov unions in a slowdown. The supply chain wrecked. Bird Flu, food shortages, Low farm yields. It is almost a perfect storm. Look at Europe. What is the most bought Chinese product this year? Electric Blankets...! Thanks to Freezing Europe, the Greens will finally celebrate a reduction of their carbon footprint except when they start burning furniture to keep warm. Cold War Joe, Inflation, energy shortages, high-priced petrol, food shortages, supply chain in shambles, Bird flu, etc. Yeah Joe, now is the time to start a cold war.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: John Wayne Flunks MATHS Class.

      I would be interested to see an actual argument for the down votes to the post above.

      Is it factually incorrect? In what aspects? Does it miss an important point? Poor grammar?

      Or people just don't like bad news and react with the equivalent of covering their ears and going tra-la la? If that's the case, at least say so.

    2. Shalghar

      Re: John Wayne Flunks MATHS Class.

      While i agree to most of your points, let me add some more.

      China has been buying up any kind of company it could get its hand on, one of the most remarked was robot company KuKa in germany. Funny enough, all those much criticised "blackmail" credits to fund co operative projects like ports in malaysia, plywood factories in africa (along with the necessary roads/infrastructure) shows some kind of friendly or at least somewhat symbiotic takeover, much in contrast to landgrabbing and extortion via "free trade agreements" that are mostly detrimental for the african "partners".

      Human rights/ social credit/surveillance and other correctly criticized points dont change the fact that china always plays the long game, and most of it in a way that "sneakily" gives the impression of a friendly slow but steady invasion instead of the usual western approach.

      Chinas hybrid approach to everything, always changing the current milestone target without losing focus on the long term goal and whenever hitting a wall like the forced pseudo sell out of TikTok, finding a way around has not been met with a working counter strategy yet.

      Seppuku sanctions dont work at all here. Never have, never will. Economic hunger strike is met with amusement, maybe inconveniencing short term but not to be taken seriously at all long term. While china has been investing in schooling and "producing" engineers for decades, western countries have dried out their potential and "optimized" for overexpensive education and abysmal wages, reducing the quantity of engineers, programmers, whatevertechlers immensely. Outsourcing everything and his dog to low wage countries also destroyed a lot of any ability to be competitive long term.

      I can remember the 1980ies, the sheer tech optimism, awe and inspiration coming from then still superior "american" technologies, like the C64, Amiga, IBM down to electronic games from Atari, Coleco, MB, a time when the USA was THE name for almost everything futuristic, technological wonders, THE stuff to have.

      Well, nowadays, whats left and where is the daily high tech expected to come from ? Even in special effects and impressive movies, china has outrun the US productions.

      Instead of relying on building walls of any kind, reverse the neoliberal short term lunacy and build up again. Economic warfare can only lead to a delayed demise but wont save "the free west" in the middle to long term.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: John Wayne Flunks MATHS Class.

        > While i agree to most of your points, let me add some more.

        Interestingly, I was having this conversation over lunch a few weeks ago with someone with a *very* intimate knowledge of these things, and that person made exactly the same points, almost word for word.

        1. Shalghar

          Re: John Wayne Flunks MATHS Class.

          I dont have "intimate knowledge", i just tend to correlate the obvious things albeit not in todays typical style of only remembering the last three headlines and/or days.

          Nothing secret here just a long term "connect the dots" (of available information).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: John Wayne Flunks MATHS Class.

      You know what CCP stands for don't you? Commie Cowboy Party. No "pretty boys" - only real men - and that's officially enforced on social media by the way. No women in the Politburo any more either, just Real "Yes" Men.

      We'll see how that all works out.

  2. CoolKoon

    "The administration has also gone as far as to ban US persons and green card holders from working for Chinese firms or risk losing their citizenship." - Say what?! Forfeiting their citizenship? For natural-born US citizens even? That's a new low even for the US....

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: "risk losing their citizenship"

      I don't think that's quite correct, they would not lose citizenship by action of the US government, but they would probably be found guilty of breaking US sanctions.

      To avoid that scenario, they might choose to forfeit US citizenship, when applicable (i.e., only for those with more than just US nationality)

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