Is 2024 the year of the legacy chip?

It may be too early to tell, but the momentum is promising. The latest evidence comes from a Wall Street Journal exclusive on a letter from House CCP Select Committee leaders. In the letter, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) call on the Biden administration to take “urgent action” to keep the PRC from dominating the legacy chip (also known as foundational chip) market. They warn, “If the United States becomes dependent on the PRC for foundational chips, our military and economic well-being may run the risk of being overly reliant on the Chinese Communist Party.”We couldn’t agree more and are glad Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi called on Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to… Read More

Deck the Halls with China Tech Threat’s Holiday Reading List

Coonen: Defense Spending Increases Will Be Irrelevant If We Don’t Curtail China Acquisition Of U.S. Technology. Following his praise of Congress for increasing defense spending and military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), former Defense Technology Security Administration Senior Advisor and CTT Special Advisor Steve Coonen warns that increased spending could be irrelevant without complimentary export control policies to curtail China’s ability to use U.S. technology against us. Citing Russia’s use of Chinese-made DJI drones that contain American cutting-edge technology, Coonen warns: “Far from dissuading diversion, U.S. export control policies are an open invitation for the Chinese Communist Party to send U.S. technology to whichever end user they desire. In this case, U.S. loopholes are… Read More

Kudos, Secretary Raimondo: First Chips Act Grant Supports U.S. Legacy Chip Production  

Give credit where it’s due: The Commerce Department has made a notable decision in using the first CHIPS Act grant to support U.S. legacy chip production.  On December 11, the Commerce Department announced that a U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems would receive $35 million “to support the modernization of the company’s Microelectronics Center, a mature-node production facility in Nashua, New Hampshire.”  The release continued: “The project will replace aging tools and quadruple the production of chips necessary for critical defense programs including the F-35 fighter jet program.”  Here are three reasons why this announcement is important:  It signals to the rest of the U.S. government and the semiconductor supply ecosystem that a trusted supply of all… Read More

YMTC’s Chip Breakthrough Shows Weakness of U.S. Export Controls

Last year, the U.S. imposed export controls designed to curtail the flow of American chipmaking technology to Chinese semiconductor firms. Soon after, one of China’s top chipmakers, YMTC, was added to the Entity List. Both actions were long awaited, but were they too little, too late? The evidence is mounting and suggests the federal government has much work ahead of it to properly curtail the Chinese semiconductor industry while also bolstering American production.The latest example comes from TechInsights, which recently reported that it discovered “the world’s most advanced 3D NAND memory chip in a consumer device.” Shockingly, its manufacturer is YMTC—a company with proven ties to the Chinese military. The fact that YMTC can continue to make world-leading chips… Read More

Ca$h Over Country: Biden Administration Must Stop U.S. American Chipmaker

With Secretary of Commerce Raimondo visiting China this weekend, Dr. Roslyn Layton penned an op-ed for the National Security Institute demanding the Biden Administration stop American semiconductor equipment manufacturers from profiting on the Chinese legacy chip sector. Rather than seek new economic cooperation with China, Dr. Layton argues the Secretary should be focused on preventing the sale of some of the world’s most sensitive tech equipment to legacy chipmakers.The problem is that three American companies – Applied Materials, KLA, and Lam Research – have made billions selling their chipmaking tools, including for legacy chips, to China. Dr. Layton notes:“As can be documented from public data, these three companies have grown their combined revenues from China by 102% between… Read More

CHIPS Act Anniversary: Must Play Offense and Defense

Today, in honor of the first anniversary of the CHIPS Act, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said, “The CHIPS for America program is a historic opportunity to solidify America’s leadership and protect national security.”Yes, the CHIPS Act is an important step in developing our own capabilities, but to be successful, we need to play offense and defense. Former Pentagon Chinese tech advisor Steve Coonen makes this point in the video below.Coonen cautions that we shouldn’t assist adversaries like China by supplying them with the semiconductor manufacturing equipment that they need to boost their own capabilities. For China, the ultimate aim is to dominate the global semiconductor market. We’ve seen this playbook before. China will subsidize and dominate – just… Read More

CHIPS Act Anniversary: Every Chip Matters

For the CHIPS Act to succeed, we need to increase our domestic capabilities and decrease our dependence on China for all types of chips. Retired Major General James “Spider” Marks tells us that in a new video to mark the one year anniversary of the CHIPS Act.His emphasis on all types of chips is important. While the Biden Administration recently acknowledged the importance of legacy chips, its policy actions to date have been focused on advanced chips. But every chip matters. To underscore the critical value of legacy chips, Marks points to their very immediate and relevant applications in smart weapons systems.While the CHIPS Act will play a big role in increasing America’s domestic chipmaking capabilities, Marks ends… Read More

CHIPS Act Anniversary Arrives, Former National Security Advisor Weighs In

This Wednesday (August 9), marks the one year anniversary of President Joe Biden signing the CHIPS Act into law. While it’s too early to judge if it’s ultimately a success or not, challenges persist, namely:U.S. export controls still ignore legacy Chinese chip manufacturers.Chinese chipmakers, including legacy leader SMIC, are growing stronger.Supply chain disruptions are front of mind. How do we ensure we have enough legacy chips for automotive, defense, and more if there’s another pandemic or global crisis?The U.S. military is still dependent on Chinese chips for mission-critical equipment.What do all these concerns share? Legacy chips. For these reasons and more, China Tech Threat recommended that when CHIPS Act funding allocations are made, that they… Read More

Challenges Still Loom Large on the Eve of the CHIPS Act One Year Anniversary

On August 9th of last year, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act to restore American semiconductor manufacturing. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo described the impetus in response to China’s ominous ambitions:Over the past decade, China’s leaders have made clear that they do not plan to pursue political and economic reform and are instead pursuing an alternative vision of their country’s future… [T]hey are accelerating their efforts to fuse their economic and technology policies with their military ambitions. … Semiconductors are ground-zero…As we approach the one-year anniversary, four challenges remain paramount: #1. U.S. Export Controls Still Ignore Legacy Chinese Manufacturers Legacy (or mature) chips are critical to defense systems, critical infrastructure, automobiles, medical devices, consumer electronics, and other… Read More

Why BIS Should Put Components for Legacy Semiconductors Under Export Controls

By Steve CoonenLast week, Chairman Mike Gallagher of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party spoke a plain truth: “Every foreign business that enters China takes on a sometimes silent, sometimes not-so-silent business partner: the Chinese Communist Party.” This reality continues to play out in the legacy semiconductor space. The more that American companies are allowed to sell components and manufacturing equipment for legacy chips to China, the more power the CCP will acquire to shape American national and economic security. When it comes to focusing on the danger of advanced or legacy Chinese chips, the U.S. government should reject a false choice of “either/or.” It must embrace a “both/and” concept and act to prevent a looming… Read More