US-China tech war: can China’s chipmaking drive save it from US technology embargo?

US-China tech war: can China’s chipmaking drive save it from US technology embargo?

  • Beijing is going all in to back a breakthrough in Chinese semiconductor manufacturing as the nation faces US sanctions on hi-tech goods
  • But many newcomers to the industry have little experience and some experts say the ‘whatever it takes’ approach shows tolerance for inefficiency

Over the past year, President Xi Jinping has on multiple occasions described China’s reliance on imported technology with the term Qia Bozi, which translates to being strangled by an adversary. And no industry better reflects this weakness than semiconductor manufacturing – the microprocessors that power the modern economy, from smartphones to cars.

China often boasts of having the world’s most extensive industrial value chain and is known as the global leader in assembling mobile handsets, but the country relies on foreign chips, most notably from the United States.

China has spent more than about US$300 billion annually on imported chips over the past two years.