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 Coonen Last 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

Industry Analysts See China’s Legacy Chip Sector Booming – What Will the U.S. Government Do?

Last year’s export controls on China’s advanced chip sector have been effective in denying China tools for making the most advanced semiconductors. But there has also been a negative consequence: China has ramped up efforts to dominate the legacy chip market. CNBC recently featured several analysts commenting on China’s prowess in producing legacy chips (those at 16 nanometers or above, depending on your definition, which appear in everything from cars to household devices): “China is showing good progress in making chips based on mature technology,” said Charles Shi, a principal and senior semiconductor analyst at asset management firm Needham & Company. “I certainly think that big Chinese chip makers will be able to survive building legacy chips and there’s a… Read More