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  #101  
Old 10.08.2023, 15:42
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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Just been big on the news recently that a Korean manufacturer is building a chip plant in Sachsen. People are wondering why so much money and effort is being sunk in the boonies. This China thing could be the reason.
Another reason is that Global Foundries (formerly AMD) chip foundry is located in Dresden, same for Infineon and Bosch. So it is not a semiconductor desert (even if the chips are made of sand ).
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  #102  
Old 09.09.2023, 12:00
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

Looks like the sanctions don't work.

Huawei just launched a 5G phone. Reuters: Has Huawei overcome U.S. sanctions by developing its own 5G chip?
What's even worse, the phone may be based on a 7nm or even 5nm chip (speculations the US are still investigating).

In other news, Apple is hit with an iPhone ban, China has banned iPhones for its employees.
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  #103  
Old 13.09.2023, 02:08
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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Looks like the sanctions don't work.

Huawei just launched a 5G phone. Reuters: Has Huawei overcome U.S. sanctions by developing its own 5G chip?
What's even worse, the phone may be based on a 7nm or even 5nm chip (speculations the US are still investigating).

In other news, Apple is hit with an iPhone ban, China has banned iPhones for its employees.
SMIC was known to be able to make 7nm chips in small quantities already back in 2022 (see: https://www.techinsights.com/blog/sm...pares-tsmc-7nm )

What is interesting, is that assuming this phone is a mass market product, then SMIC have now able to manufacture this in commercial quantities at, presumably, reasonable prices.

Without EUV, SMIC will need to rely on multi-patterning techniques which will reduce yields and make the chips more expensive than processes with access to EUV. But maybe subsidies can offset that financial disadvantage.

Current tools might even be pushed to make 5nm viable. it will be interesting to see if SMIC manages to develop that in a few years. If they do, then the goal of US to inhibit China's AI ambitions will (at least in the short term) be a total failure: loopholes in sanctions means that China already has stockpiled huge amounts of GPUs which will tide them over for a few years after which, they will be able to produce their own AI silicon on 7nm and maybe 5nm.

The big question is now how the US will react to this and whether they will try to tighten sanctions to make them more effective. If they really want to do so, they would need to massively expand sanctions in a very aggressive way that will be even more damaging to US-China relations as well as being more difficult to bring partners on board.
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  #104  
Old 13.09.2023, 11:44
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

What is also interesting is that China/Huawei so publicly pushed this esp. at the time of the US visit. Since previous revelations led to the US getting concerned and ultimately setting the sanctions, they must have had to weigh up the risk of announcing these capabilties would leak to tightening sanctions.

I can only speculate that China calculated that the US would not escalate either to avoid worsening tensions or because they realise that they were already too late to stop China getting to 5nm/7nm and trying to tighten further would need huge escalation for limited additional benefit. i.e., maybe China thinks they have already won.

US sanctions lit a fire under the Chinese semiconductor industry and they have stepped up to the challenge. Ultimately, this will be bad for US semiconductor companies. US chips wil be designed out of products to eliminate sanction/supply chain risks. Markets now closed to US companies will be left open to local Chinese companies starting a virtuous cycle in China and a downward spiral in the US.

I think even the semiconductor spending incentives will eventually prove wasteful. I was already sceptical of building additional capacity due to a temporary covid demand spike. But now that everybody is building new fabs and China is also investing heavily into new fabs, we are likely to see huge over-capacity and losses for these fabs. No problem for China who anyway are going to throw money to become self-sufficient, but losses for commercial companies and US fabs will become even less competitive.

It will be interesting to see whether South Korea makes the same assessment and reverses course on sanctions.
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Last edited by Phil_MCR; 13.09.2023 at 13:43.
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  #105  
Old 13.09.2023, 22:09
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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Yes, but China doesnt have to be world class, they just need to be cheap and good enough. Perhaps Chinese chip makers are five years behind the US. That only matters in a capitalist society, not in a communist one, also if you look at the names of students and professors at the American universities, or the scientist in the labs, they read like the phone book of Peking.
I think you were right with this. They just need to be cheap and good enough.

Previously, for my hobbies, I was using ARM chips from STM costing between $1.50 and $5 a piece. Compatible clones are now available from Chinese suppliers costing a fraction of the price, so much so it is difficult to find the original versions.

But I'm not even looking at those. Now there are non-ARM chips based on RISC-V architecture designed to be replacements for the ARM chips that cost even less ($0.10 - $0.60).

I think US chip manufacturers are going to end up paying a heavy price for the US chip sanctions: China will be wary about relying on US suppliers that can be pulled on a whim and all the standard, low-range and mid-range US chips are at the risk of being designed out and replaced with non-US or Chinese domestic alternatives.
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  #106  
Old 14.09.2023, 07:14
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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I think you were right with this. They just need to be cheap and good enough.

That depends on the usage. For mobile phones and tablets, sure, cheap and good enough would suffice. But in the longer-term and more strategic race of AI, more advanced designs (nVidia) and machinery to produce those designs (ASML) are key. And this is what is being denied to them and this will hurt them.
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  #107  
Old 14.09.2023, 07:57
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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That depends on the usage. For mobile phones and tablets, sure, cheap and good enough would suffice. But in the longer-term and more strategic race of AI, more advanced designs (nVidia) and machinery to produce those designs (ASML) are key. And this is what is being denied to them and this will hurt them.
Yes, maybe, perhaps. but for how long? Knowing that something can be done is three quarters of the battle. It is a genius strategy, let the Americans do and pay for the grunt work, then have your oodles of American trained scientists (who may have worked on the product in the first place) reverse engineer the bejeezus out of it and work from there.
In the mean time you are five years behind the yankees, so what? Remember, China plays the long game and American sanctions donīt work in a society that has the technology to develop and build what your are withholding.
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  #108  
Old 14.09.2023, 09:02
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

Have in mind that majority of today's electronic chips (esp. with RF/Wireless/BT/GPS features) are produced in mature nodes (22nm-180nm), which will not change for sure in next 10-15years and demand won't drop, actually it will increase.
Soon these chips will be used in things one couldn't imagine,
like every can of beer will communicate from a fridge with a mobile phone providing the user when it reaches optimal temp.

I have more true examples which will come in next few years but there's NDA

EDIT:
https://www.kearney.com/industry/tec...semiconductors

.

Last edited by srdjee; 14.09.2023 at 09:28.
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  #109  
Old 14.09.2023, 09:19
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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That depends on the usage. For mobile phones and tablets, sure, cheap and good enough would suffice. But in the longer-term and more strategic race of AI, more advanced designs (nVidia) and machinery to produce those designs (ASML) are key. And this is what is being denied to them and this will hurt them.
That's true although:

1. In the near term they have enough Nvidia gear: they've been stockpiling it and the current sanctions are leaky enough that they can get access to more. This gives China a few years of runway

2. After that, if SMIC get their 5/7nm working well, this will be good enough to produce domestic alternatives to the current generation of AI silicon.

3. Longer term, say 8 years on is where China may feel the pinch more intensely.
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  #110  
Old 14.09.2023, 10:34
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

In other news: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/scie...ful-radar-chip

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But at a power output beyond 1 kilowatt most gallium-based semiconductors are subject to breakdown because a leakage of electrons occurs under high voltage, according to Huís team.

The researchers added aluminium to gallium nitride, which could be a barrier to prevent electrons leaking. However, adding too much aluminium could affect the electron flow and reduce the chipís peak power.

In the paper, Hu and his colleagues shared their optimal chemical composition formula, discovered after much trial and error.
I'm always surprised by these announcements. Why isn't this some kind of secret? And why do they even publish the "optimal chemical composition formula, discovered after much trial and error"? Shouldn't this be some kind of military secret and leaks punished?
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  #111  
Old 14.09.2023, 15:12
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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. . .
I'm always surprised by these announcements. Why isn't this some kind of secret? And why do they even publish the "optimal chemical composition formula, discovered after much trial and error"? Shouldn't this be some kind of military secret and leaks punished?
Well, to benefit from that now published discovery, you'd have to get hold of some refined gallium of which the Chinese are about the only producer and have now taken measures to restrict its export.
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  #112  
Old 15.09.2023, 21:39
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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Well, to benefit from that now published discovery, you'd have to get hold of some refined gallium of which the Chinese are about the only producer and have now taken measures to restrict its export.
Is that such a problem? Gallium seems to be a byproduct of aliminium production. Canada produces about 5% of worldwide aluminium production (1/10 of China's), once the price is high enough (China's export restrictions may take care of that) Ga production becomes economically viable.
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  #113  
Old 15.09.2023, 22:12
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

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Well, to benefit from that now published discovery, you'd have to get hold of some refined gallium of which the Chinese are about the only producer and have now taken measures to restrict its export.
US will have no problem getting hold of Gallium.
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  #114  
Old 20.09.2023, 13:05
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

The EUV restrictions are pushing China to investigate EUV alternatives as they remain cut off from Western suppliers. Why not use a particle accelerator? 😂:

https://asiatimes.com/2023/09/china-...-for-chip-war/
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  #115  
Old 26.09.2023, 13:31
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Re: US weaponises semiconductor lead

Video on the topic:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0igQuerc3J0
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