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  • Philip Osadebay - Tech Journalist

China’s top chipmaker may be in trouble as US officials call for sanctions after Huawei breakthrough

In recent developments, shares in Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China's leading contract chipmaker goes sideways. This is followed by a call by two influential US congressmen urging the White House to intensify export restrictions on the company. The cause of this tension was the surprising release of Huawei Technologies' Mate 60 Pro featuring an advanced chip believed to be manufactured by SMIC.

TechInsights, a prominent Canadian semiconductor research organisation, soon revealed that the smartphone contained a groundbreaking 5G Kirin 9000s processor, specifically developed for Huawei by SMIC.

US Representative Mike Gallagher, chairman of the US House of Representatives committee on China, called upon the US Commerce Department to halt all technology exports to Huawei and SMIC. He argued that SMIC might have breached US sanctions, emphasizing that such a chip likely couldn't be produced without US technology. Gallagher stressed that it was time to cease all US technology exports to these companies, sending a clear message that firms defying US laws and undermining national security would face severe consequences.

Texas Republican Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed concerns about China's potential monopoly in manufacturing less-advanced computer chips, which fall outside export controls. This highlights the broader scope of the discussions surrounding the tech industry's future.

As these tensions continue to escalate, the effectiveness of sanctions is coming under scrutiny. Analysts anticipate that the Biden administration will tighten restrictions on chip exports to China in the coming months, further limiting China's access to advanced US semiconductors. The outcome of these developments remains uncertain, but they underscore the high-stakes battle for supremacy in the global tech arena.


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