Chinese Communist Party’s “chip autonomy” campaign heightens global unease

The EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography machine, the key equipment for advanced chip manufacturing, cannot be sold to China, and the success rate of the Chinese Communist Party’s independent chip development is very low. The picture shows the EUV microlithography process at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, USA.

The Chinese Communist Party’s “technology autonomy” campaign has increased global anxiety, especially the “chip autonomy” campaign. The industry is concerned that this move could slow innovation and disrupt global trade. Some experts say that the success rate of the CCP’s independent chip development is very low.

The international community’s concerns are related to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s newly developed CPU chip, the Yitian 710, which was unveiled in October 2021 by Ali’s semiconductor company, T-Head, as a purported 5-nanometer cloud chip. Ali claims that the chip will only be used in Ali’s cloud computing business, with no plans for external sales.

As an e-commerce giant, Alibaba’s crossover chip development is related to the Chinese Communist Party’s ambition to “build core”. China is the world’s largest chip consumer, its consumption accounts for about 36% of the world, but its output only accounts for 15.9% of the world.

To break away from its dependence on advanced technologies from the United States and Japan, the CCP has launched a campaign for “technological autonomy,” with chip production as a “top priority. In particular, China’s first global technology giant Huawei was sanctioned by the United States in 2018, heightening the sense of urgency for the CCP to develop its own chips.

In addition to Alibaba, technology companies such as Chinese internet giant Tencent, Baidu and smartphone maker Xiaomi have also joined the “core-making” bandwagon, driven by the CCP’s policy.

The Chinese Communist Party’s “great leap forward” in building cores has heightened international anxiety. Previously, Europe and the United States had already regarded the CCP as a strategic competitor and feared that the CCP was stealing technology. For national security reasons, the United States, the Netherlands and other Western countries have been restricting the CCP’s access to the most advanced chip-making tools.

In addition to national security concerns, the business community fears that if there is global decoupling or fragmentation into markets with incompatible industry standards and products, U.S. or European-made parts may not be available for use in Chinese computers or cars, and global operating system and smartphone makers may need to make different versions for different markets, which could slow innovation.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Associated Press in September 2021 that Washington and Beijing need to “avoid dividing the world.

China’s semiconductor development process is slow

In 2014, the Chinese government pledged to invest $100 billion to $150 billion in public and private funds to enable China’s semiconductor technology to catch up with the world’s leading companies by 2030, including chip design, assembly and packaging.

In September 2014, the CPC established the National IC Industry Investment Fund (the “Fund”) with an initial investment of RMB 138.7 billion (US$22.19 billion) to support the IC manufacturing sector, including design, packaging, equipment and materials. companies, the second phase of the RMB 204.1 billion (about US$32.66 billion) Grand Fund was announced against the backdrop of U.S. sanctions against Chinese technology companies.

Liu Pei-zhen, a researcher at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, told the Epoch Times that, influenced by the sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States, despite the large amount of money officially invested by the Chinese Communist Party, its semiconductor development process is still slower than expected, especially in the field of advanced processes or independent research and development, the key is that China is unable to obtain key core semiconductor equipment and chips, and still faces the problem of key factors being stuck.

According to current chip manufacturing standards, 28 nanometers is the dividing line between mature and advanced processes, with processes of 28 nanometers and above called mature processes, and processes below 28 nanometers called advanced processes.

Liu Pei-zhen told the Epoch Times that the key equipment for advanced processes is still in the hands of countries such as the United States, the Netherlands and Japan, whose market share accounts for about 70 percent or more.

Shen Bo, global vice president and president of China for Dutch semiconductor manufacturer Asmac (ASML), confirmed in November 2021 that EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography, a key equipment for advanced processes, still cannot be sold to China, but DUV (deep ultraviolet) lithography for mature processes is not affected. This means that Chinese foundries, such as SMIC, can only develop mature processes.

Without these advanced tools, China would fall further behind, said Peter Hanbury, who tracks the semiconductor industry for global consulting firm Bain & Co. “TSMC’s horse is sprinting while China’s horse is stopped and they can’t move forward.”

A report released in 2021 by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) states that China is significantly behind in terms of tools, materials and production technologies.

The Communist Party of China’s “Made in China 2025” plan calls for China’s chip self-production rate to reach 70 percent by 2025. But Liu Peizhen believes that with the current development progress, it is almost impossible for the CCP to reach this goal.

The Associated Press cited expert analysis that Beijing has set a goal of chip autonomy and provided significant government investment, but could face costly disappointment. Chip makers and other companies will struggle to remain competitive if they break away from global suppliers with advanced components and technology. With the exception of the Chinese Communist Party, no country has set a goal of chip autonomy.

Dr. Huang Zuwei, a senior engineer at NASA, said in an interview with Epoch Times that the success rate of the CCP’s autonomous chip development cannot be said to be completely absent, but the chances of success are low, and even if it can be made, it will not be as good or likely to fail to meet the requirements.

CCP’s technology development relies on copying and plagiarism

Science and technology and current affairs commentator Liu Qikun told the Epoch Times that the CCP’s own scientific research capabilities are very poor, and that the CCP relies mainly on plagiarism and plagiarism to develop science and technology.

“Previously, the CCP has developed in the field of science and technology, relying mainly on the theft of foreign intellectual property.” Liu Qikun said, “The CCP steals hundreds of billions of dollars worth of intellectual property from abroad every year, and some even say it could be as high as trillions of dollars, so the Communist Party can be said to be the biggest thief in Chinese history, and even in world history.”

In an exclusive interview with New Tang Dynasty in July 2021, U.S.-based economist Cheng Xiaonong said that The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property reported that the Chinese Communist Party’s theft of intellectual property and trade secrets caused the U.S. economy between $225 billion and The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property reported that the Chinese Communist Party’s theft of intellectual property and trade secrets costs the U.S. economy $225 billion to $600 billion annually.

“If you look at the most advanced technology in the world today, which of them was first created by the Chinese Communist Party? No, they are all copied.” Huang Zuwei told the Epoch Times.

Speaking of the national security risks associated with the CCP’s so-called “technological autonomy,” Huang said, “The national security problem is obvious. Decades ago, Europe and the United States treated the CCP as a normal regime and hoped to change it through normal interaction. But after all these years, instead of being changed, the CCP has gone out of its way to steal technology from democratically developed countries, including the use of various means such as money and beauty.”