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China Pushes Self-Made Chips In Response to ­.S. Threats

semiconductor worker in China

China relies on imports for more than 95 percent of the high-end chips used in computer processors, and for the majority of its memory chips, a government agency reported.

Credit: AFP

China is stepping up efforts to design and manufacture semiconductors itself rather than buy from the U.S., amid fears that sanctions might cripple its high-tech industry.

U.S. restrictions last year on exports to telecoms equipment maker ZTE, and this month to its bigger rival Huawei, have sharpened Beijing's focus on semiconductor self-sufficiency. This will only become more urgent if Washington, as feared, places other leading Chinese technology groups on its blacklist.

China's ministry of finance last week announced tax breaks "to support the development of integrated circuit design and the software industry," cancelling corporate taxes for some companies for two years.

Yet while some U.S. chips could be substituted by Chinese equivalents in the next few years, Beijing recognizes that self-sufficiency is a long way off.

"I think it will take another 30-to-40 years for China to be self-sufficient in the majority of key areas" including software for chip design and chip fabrication, says Gu Wenjun, chief analyst at Shanghai-based semiconductor research company ICWise.

From Financial Times
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