back to article ASML caves to US pressure to cease servicing some kit used by Chinese customers

Under US pressure, Dutch photolithography giant ASML will no longer service certain chipmaking equipment purchased by Chinese customers. Former CEO Peter Wennink, who has since been succeeded by Christophe Fouquet, announced the new limitation at the company's annual general meeting, Reuters reported. The US government has …

  1. pavlecom
    IT Angle

    .. 5 nm is near

    Whatever uncle Sam do, this year a 5 nm is made in mass production in China. Next year China lithography machine, with their own patent rights, is operational .. Huawei engineers are working 24/7 in a new $2b mega R&D facilitie in Shanghai for lithography tech. All in all, China's HiTech is on the beast mode as it seems.

    Better, Faster, Cheaper ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      shush...

      Why did you tell us Huawei's big secret? It is to be feared that now, "Uncle Sam" will revert the sanctions and bless ASML's contracts, wickedly hoping that Huawei give up on their ambition to become market leader.

      You should have kept quiet. You should have let Huawei super-geniuses "beast it" "24/7" from their "new $2b mega R&D facilitie (!) in Shanghai for lithography tech." And then next year, lo and behold, HiSilicon would parade their record-breaking 5nm process. You just blew it... That's not very smart.

      1. TheRealDeal

        Re: shush...

        I'm sure the US intelligence apparatus is already aware of this - there have been quite a few reports of it on the internet

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: .. 5 nm is near

      I don't think they are allowed to license the necessary patents to ship chips internationally.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: .. 5 nm is near

        I'm pretty sure if they exist, they will make it out. Legit or not.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope the US is paying...

    ...ASML's shareholders some compensation for this nonsense.

    1. Jon 37

      Re: I hope the US is paying...

      Sadly not how it works.

      The lesson that lots of companies are learning is "avoid US parts, and US IP, in your designs".

      In the small satellite market, "ITAR-free" is already a common selling point. That means that no significant parts come from the US, so you don't have to follow the US law called "ITAR" about exporting satellite technology. (They can contain some generic parts from the US, but no space-specific stuff).

      This puts US suppliers at a huge disadvantage if they're trying to sell to the rest of the world.

      1. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: I hope the US is paying...

        The lesson that lots of companies are learning is "avoid US parts, and US IP, in your designs".

        Yes, the actual outcome of this policy (which I have sympathy with) is:

        * Accelerate Chinese investment in domestic photolith gear, diminishing the scope or value of future sanctions.

        * Accelerate ASML investment in non-US hardware/IP to minimise their exposure to sanctions requirements. Of course, the US may then put pressure on the Dutch Govermnet to join them in their sanctions - but that's now an international political discussion, not a matter of a Dutch company inheriting US sanctions because of their US suppliers or subsidiaries.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I hope the US is paying...

          "* Accelerate ASML investment in non-US hardware/IP to minimise their exposure to sanctions requirements. Of course, the US may then put pressure on the Dutch Govermnet to join them in their sanctions - but that's now an international political discussion, not a matter of a Dutch company inheriting US sanctions because of their US suppliers or subsidiaries."

          Regardless of which direction is taken here, the end result will be the same - realistically no Western country will go against the desires of the US

          1. rg287 Silver badge

            Re: I hope the US is paying...

            Regardless of which direction is taken here, the end result will be the same - realistically no Western country will go against the desires of the US

            Maybe. Maybe not.

            The US has burned a lot of it's goodwill in the last few years. For instance, it was once assumed that if the FAA passed something, then aviation regulators around the world would accept that. With the dawning realisation that the FAA were asleep in the cockpit and just rubberstamping whatever Boeing put in front of them... they may suddenly find the world is insisting on rather more due diligence and is no longer willing to take their word as golden.

            Likewise, the Dutch government may well join the US in imposing sanctions. But that does in the first instance require the US to pick up the phone and say "Hey, we want you to hamstring Dutch business to impose these sanctions with us". That adds an order of magnitude more friction than just signing domestic sanctions and having them automatically trickle down to the likes of ASML because they can't afford to lose access to <US supplier>.

            Sure, the Dutch government will probably do it... but they're also probably going to demand concessions from the US or some sort of benefit for themselves. It's now a political negotiation - the US will have lost that "soft" political-economic power to unilaterally have it their own way.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: I hope the US is paying...

          > Accelerate ASML investment in non-US hardware/IP

          I’m sure they will be pushing against an open door with their Chinese customers.

          Would not be surprised if in a few years ASML with Chinese hardware is a superior product to ASML with US hardware/IP…

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I hope the US is paying...

          "The US may then put pressure on the Dutch Govermnet"

          ASML is in the Netherlands because it used to be part of Philips. If USA pressures affect the bottom line too much it becomes economically worthwhile to move elsewhere

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I hope the US is paying...

        It's not just smallsats. In research labs it can become tricky to ensure full separation between ITAR / non-ITAR equipment and IP

        The problem is that _any_ ITAR contamination results in the USA claiming jurisdiction over the entire product (And yes, they tried to claim that simply being under the same roof meant the non-ITAR stuff was now ITAR controlled. The other issue with that was they attempted to claim that because one physical item was now ITAR controlled, the entire technology was under their jurisdiction too)

        The USA is walking down a path where nobody wants to work with them due to the hassles involved (Just like banks and USA taxpayers)

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: I hope the US is paying...

      Yes. Did the US government ever compensate Ford for stopping that contrac tto supply parts for German Panzers in WW2 ?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I hope the US is paying...

        Ford pressed compensation claims against the Allies bombing its German factories (General Motors did not)

        Henry was an ardent Nazi, complete with praise in Mein Kampf and an award on his office wall

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: I hope the US is paying...

          I know Ford was the chief inspiration for Hitler and his genocidal crap.

          Funny how Ford never mentions this or Mr Fords book or photos of how Ford was a hero of Hitler in their ads.

          I wonder why Ford doesnt change the Ford blue to Nazi red ?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay attention to what they do, not what they say

    Blinken: "We don’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China – or any other country, for that matter – from growing their economy or advancing the interests of their people"

    1. TheRealDeal

      Re: Pay attention to what they do, not what they say

      The US being guilty of hypocrisy? That's something you don't see often - meanwhile giving billions in money to a genocidal regime in the Middle East - but that's ok cause we support them to the hilt

      1. keith_w

        Re: Pay attention to what they do, not what they say

        The United States is supporting Hamas the Palestinian Authority and Iran? Because those are the only dedicated genocidal regimes in the middle east that I am aware of.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pay attention to what they do, not what they say

          > that I am aware of.

          Need to get head out of sand and get out more…

        2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: Pay attention to what they do, not what they say

          what about mbs ?

          I guess tens of thousnads dead to build those world cup stadiums in qatar doesnt count because we all know brown people arent really people, just like hitler said.

        3. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Pay attention to what they do, not what they say

          The United States is supporting Hamas the Palestinian Authority and Iran? Because those are the only dedicated genocidal regimes in the middle east that I am aware of.

          You're quite right.

          When the IRA bombed UK civilian targets, the RAF were sent to drop 1000lb bombs onto civilian areas of Derry and Belfast. We then sent honest Protestant settlers to displace the terrorist Catholic families from their homes. This was viewed as a perfectly reasonable and proportionate response.

          I remember it well, though you might struggle to find archive news of it (probably all the AI crap burying it I expect, not because it never happened!).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uncle Sam still rules /s

    Under US pressure, Dutch photolithography giant ASML will no longer service certain chipmaking equipment purchased by Chinese customers.

    It's fascinating watching Uncle Sam behave as if it still ruled the world. Like the British empire in the last century, all pomp and circumstance and outward show of preeminence but getting increasingly ineffectual. Meanwhile the Chinese empire is on the rise.

    1. Dostoevsky

      Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

      A country with a Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) of 113.5 males per 100 females is not destined for empire. Not to mention the impact of the middle-income trap, and their population's age demographics.

      For example, Heilongjiang Province has the lowest fertility rate of anywhere in the world *in recorded history*. This means a significant portion of China's manual labor force is nearing retirement age, with no replacements following them. The few young folks will have to support their elders for longer than ever before, thanks to increased lifespans.

      Ain't nobody gonna be happy.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

        This idea that all these old people will be an intolerable burden on the young so unless we keep breeding like rabbits we're all domed is total nonsense. You hear it about anywhere where the birth rates are declining (e.g. Italy). The reason for this is obvious -- the old tend to die off, even if they're living longer than they used to in past centuries. The notion 'old' is also highly fluid. Most old people are not a net burden on society, they don't consume a whole lot and many continue to contribute to society by working, volunteering or just helping out their adult children. As for 'manual labor force nearing retirement age' -- its true that once you get to a certain age you can't perform manual labor effectively but at the same time developing societies replace people with machines as the machines are faster, more efficient and safer.

        The secret to survival as a society is to have the basics covered -- places to live, enough to eat, health services and so on. Our western societies are falling down on this particular job, as we become less productive as a society we find it more and more difficult to provide for the old and young. The result is a squeeze on pensions, education and health care and so a general deterioration in the quality of life of the population.

        Anyway, the only thing that's got to do with China and ASML is that China is rapidly moving from a society of peasants and laborers which unbalances the world as we know it (we need those vassals!) so the pressure is on to keep those Orientals down. Nothing new, we've been doing it for a couple of hundred years. Unfortunately I don't think its going to work.

        1. TheRealDeal

          Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

          Well said @martinusher - someone has to be at the bottom and as far as the West is concerned, as long as it's not them that is all that matters.

          Throughout Western history it appears as if they've always needed an enemy - the British Army is quite proud of the fact that in most of the 20th Century they've been involved in some shape or form in every war there's been in the world - and this "record" is something that the US is close to achieving with the likes of Afghanistan and Vietnam where they just walked out whehn the population back home or those in power thought they had enough ... leaving the population of that country to their own devices - sorry - what I meant to say is "all the while promoting freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law around the world in a law based order system"

          1. PhilipN Silver badge

            Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

            Right and US military "advisers" in Taiwan. That's how Vietnam vs. USA kicked off and that went really well, didn't it?

            1. OneOfTheFoundingFathers

              Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

              and who trained and funded Bin Laden?

              That worked out REALLY well for the US

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

                Funny how all these commentards defending democratic ideals are all also casual fans of China, Russia and Afghanistan. Shame does not kill.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

                  Luckily for the US, neither does hypocrisy it appears

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  @AC - Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

                  You will have a hard time to convince me this US against China&Russia is for the sake of democracy. However, as this is a fair debate, you may still try to convince me.

                3. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

                  Funny how those referring to anyone as "tards" prefer to stay anonymous (Hint, you're not, not really. The mods can see you)

                  https://qph.cf2.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-c8ab55b8e3fa17071eca9947879f7452-lq

                  Criticising the USA's increasingly plutocratic governmental tedencies doesn't mean people are fans of the other guys, more that they're worried all the countries involved are becoming politically indistinguishable

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

          > This idea that all these old people will be an intolerable burden on the young so unless we keep breeding like rabbits we're all domed is total nonsense.

          So "Martin Usher", IT guy, has an informed opinion. Fitch, widely trusted economy analysts, have a different one:

          "Retirement ages in China are much lower than in other economies. Men retire at 60, blue-collar women at 50 and white-collar women at 55, compared with an average of 65 for men and 63.5 for women in OECD economies. In the three decades between 1980 and 2010 (during which the workforce expanded rapidly), early retirement helped to keep a lid on unemployment. China could afford it, in large part thanks to its One-Child Policy, which initially reduced the number of children the economy had to support. The dependency ratio trended consistently downward until it reached a trough of just 34% in 2006. That also helped China support its massive investment drive, which saw the capital stock balloon more than 21 times in just three decades in 1990-2019. By the end of the 2020s, the dependency ratio should rise to around 43%. By 2045, dependents will outnumber workers

          Who's opinion is more reliable?

          You might also try to get first hand insights from some young Chinese, before sharing your gut feelings. They have a lot to share.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

            Looks like China will simply adjust retirement ages, just like the UK has…

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

            "Retirement ages in China are much lower than in other economies"

            For the moment.

            When I did the math back in the early 80s it was quickly obvious that at prevailing pensions rates and government "pay pensions from taxes" policies, government retirement pension ages would have to rise to 75 by 2035, simply because the projected ratio of taxpayers to pensioners would be unsustainable

            Nothing I've seen in the 40 years since has altered those projections and it's been no surprise to me that pension ages have been rising across the western world

            China and the BRICS are going to have to do the same thing eventually (not helped by the issue that virtually no Chinese pay income tax at the moment)

            One good thing about Japan leading the curve is that patient handling hardware is being developed and debugged that will see widespread use. Too many carers are ending up injured or medically incapacitated due to heavy lifting (it's not just the lifting. Carers have to wipe a lot of bums - those bidet seats are a way of reducing that requirement dramatically)

      2. Persona

        Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

        The manual labor force might be in decline (I haven't checked). They do however have over 44 million students currently attending university.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

          This can change if the US sends a few nuclear missiles China's way - to ensure their safety and security and freedom and democracy

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

        >” A country with a Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) of 113.5 males per 100 females is not destined for empire.”

        Depends, that does mean a significant number of males can be sent abroad to expand the empire, with negligible impact on home population…

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

          In a country with the usual demographics and birthrates a surplus of males might well be cannon fodder, however when you have a birthrate below replacement (35 years of one child policy followed by 2 child policy since 2010), all children are precious. It's the same issue Russia faces if they attempt to draft soldiers west of the Urals (east of the Urals they're an occupying force, not a united country)

          Historically the societal response to gender imbalances exceeding 1.05:1 in either direction has been polyandry/polygamy

          Polyandry has generally been far more historically common and what we regard as "normal" (Monogamy) is relatively unusual in history, with it becoming widespread really only happening in the last 200 years

          Interestingly there's a significantly higher level of female vs male emigration from both China and Japan - with those I've spoken to citing the treatment of women as second class citizens or chattels in both societies as a significant reason for bailing out (what we'd regard as 1950s attitudes still prevail)

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

        Empires are defined by their access to resources. These days that's energy - The USA cornering the oil market for the last 50 years has enabled their chokehold on international trade

        China's work on MSRs is ironic on several levels - being an american project that was cancelled and suppresed by Nixon only months before Kissenger's oil diplomacy was announced and which not only has the potential to make manufacturing nuclear weapons much harder(*)(**) as well as actually providing enough energy to replace oil at an affordable cost

        (*) Enriched uranium Civil reactors are using a waste product of the weaponsmaking cycle. Depleted uranium is the raw material for making weapons-grade plutonium - at a ratio of 9kg for every 1kg of reactor fuel. This means that once there's no justification for separating uranium, "enrichment plants" revert to being purely military facilities and subject to weapons limitation treaties

        (**) MSRs are fuel agnostic once kickstarted and the kick can be anything fissile. Whilst the fuss and focus is on thorium due to its massive availability, they can use natural uranium, depleted uranium, plutonium, transuranic waste, etc as fuels (Natural Uranium/Thorium are about $150/kg as metals. 3% enriched uranium is more expensive than gold ($50-85k/kg), nobody uses HEU to make bombs because it would be cheaper to simply buy your enemy)

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

        China's far from the only country facing this. Japan has been dealing with it for the last 20 years and the entire recently developed world is facing similar stark aging issues, whilst the developed world has the same issue but with a slightly larger buffer (More Japan-style decline than China-style)

        Incidentally that population demographic means that China's window of opportunity for invading Taiwan was 20 years ago and closed before 2011. The level of casualties incurred attempting an invasion would trigger domestically initiated regime change in China

        The bigger threat to the USA from China is economic and in particular the USD losing its hegemoney as an international settlement currency. Once that happens, the trillions of dollars of debt backing it become due (as they did for the pound after Bretton Woods) and simply creating more money is no longer a viable option as it triggers stagflation

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

      Hey the Royal Navy went around and stopped the slave trade on the high seas and in many places around the globe. If it wasnt for that major change, we would still have chattle slavery everywhere today...

      What legacy will history remember of America ? Its yellow today and didnt step in to actively help Ukraine, Britain and friends stepped in to stop Hitler, America has never done anything equivalent.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Uncle Sam still rules /s

        > America has never done anything equivalent.

        Unfortunately, the US has never let facts get in the way of a good story; Hollywood has been very successful in sowing an alternative and US “good guys” view of history.

  5. TheRealDeal

    I hope China is suing for breach of contract

    Should at least get a few quid clawed back on the contracts for that!

    Also - I love the understatement of the word "lean" - I'm sure there were some pretty significant conversations had behind the scenes and probably some not so subtle threats as well

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Under US pressure

    Isn't that what the civilized world used to call terrorism?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Under US pressure

      Shhh - it's ok when America does it - cause they do it for all the right reasons

  7. DustFox

    if you cannot beat them...

    Behave like a spoiled brat. This is the U.S today corruption and malevolence..

  8. Zibob Bronze badge

    Sing it with me now

    https://youtu.be/LasrD6SZkZk?si=iQVdWc_1xLsSAeRa

    [Intro]

    America

    America

    [Chorus]

    America, fuck yeah!

    Comin' again to save the motherfuckin' day, yeah

    America (Fuck yeah!)

    Freedom is the only way, yeah

    [Verse 1]

    Terrorists, your game is through

    'Cause now you have to answer to

    America (Fuck yeah!)

    So lick my butt and suck on my balls

    America (Fuck yeah!)

    What you gonna do when we come for you now?

    This shit is sickening. A country so obsessed with their autonomy that they freely abuse others. Fuck America!

  9. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Why doesnt Uncle Sam jai all the executives who sent all that tech and money to china in the first place ?

    SOunds a lot like treason to me, people went to jail in WW2 for far less "help" to Hitler.

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