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

Commerce Department Commissions Survey of U.S. Companies to Create Trusted Legacy Chip Supply

Secretary Raimondo and her team have closed out 2023 with welcome action to stem the tide of a China-dominated legacy space. In early December, China Tech Threat commended the Commerce Department for directing the first allocation of CHIPS Act funding to support domestic production of semiconductors. Then, on December 21, the Commerce Department announced that it would commission a survey asking U.S. companies to report how they source legacy chips—the chips which are essential to the functioning of virtually every single electronic device. “Legacy chips are essential to supporting critical U.S. industries, like telecommunications, automotive and the defense industrial base. Addressing non-market actions by foreign governments that threaten the U.S. legacy chip supply chain is a matter of national security,”… Read More

Actions Speak Louder Than Words – Willful Blindness Series Recap

With Labor Day around the corner, the unofficial end of summer is almost here. So, here’s our final plug for beach reading from CTT special advisor Steve Coonen. Coonen, who spent more than two decades in uniform as an Army artillery and foreign affairs officer and then nearly 14 years as an analyst at the Defense Technology and Security Administration (DTSA), wrote a nine-part summer series for CTT on America’s broken export control system.  The need to expose the administration’s willful blindless as it relates to export controls could not be more timely. Multiple outlets are reporting that one outcome of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to China is an agreement between the U.S. and China to begin a series… 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 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

Biden Administration Finally Acknowledges Legacy Chips; Will Action Follow Soon Enough?

Up to this point, the U.S. has been laser focused on squeezing China’s ability to acquire and manufacture advanced semiconductors. Legacy semiconductors were not in their purview. That seems to be changing as Bloomberg reports that the U.S. and Europe are now “growing alarmed by China’s rush into legacy chips.” This encouraging development comes on the heels of comments by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at a recent AEI event, where she acknowledged China’s massive investment in legacy chips, called it a problem, and said the U.S. and its allies need to get ahead of it. We’ve written extensively on the value of legacy chips, which are critical to national security and many other purposes. To put it plainly, U.S. policy shouldn’t focus exclusively on one… Read More

Scratching the Surface on Legacy Chips

During Wednesday night’s Select Committee on the CCP hearing on “Ensuring U.S. Leadership in the Critical and Emerging Technologies of the 21st Century” Lindsay Gorman from The German Marshall Fund raised an important point. She said we must look at the CHIPS Act as a start of America’s recovery of strength in the semiconductor space, not an isolated initiative. Acknowledging that technology isn’t static, she said “we need a continuous iterative process where we evaluate to the best of our ability, what are the critical technologies of the future of the next 5, 10, 15 years? Where is China leading? Where are we leading?” Right now, America risks ceding the future of legacy semiconductors.  When it comes to semiconductors, the U.S. government… 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

Raimondo Email Hacked, Huawei-SMIC Teaming Up – China’s Not Slowing Down

Yesterday, news broke that Chinese cyberspies hacked into emails at the U.S. Commerce and State Departments. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was among those affected. According to The Washington Post, officials said the hackers were “looking for information useful to the Chinese government” and “had access to the email accounts for about a month before the issue was discovered and access cut off.” This brazen intrusion isn’t surprising, since Commerce has gotten tougher on China with export controls to protect our national security, most notably through its October 2022 action to restrict China’s advanced semiconductor capabilities. Ironically, The New York Times Magazine published a lengthy piece the same day the hacker story broke called “‘An Act of War’: Inside America’s Silicon Blockage Against China.” The article poses an important… Read More

Roslyn Layton Column: Don’t Make the Mistake of Ignoring China’s Legacy Chip Sector

“De-risking” has become the big buzzword to convey how Western democracies intend to manage their economic relationships with China. The concept is good. So why isn’t the threat of the Chinese legacy chip sector a greater part of the conversation? As Roslyn Layton writes for the Foundation for American Innovation, U.S. policymakers are ignoring a looming Chinese legacy chip monopoly at the expense of American national security and economic competitiveness: .wp-block-kadence-advancedheading.kt-adv-heading_37edb0-07, .wp-block-kadence-advancedheading.kt-adv-heading_37edb0-07[data-kb-block="kb-adv-heading_37edb0-07"]{padding-left:40px;font-style:normal;}.wp-block-kadence-advancedheading.kt-adv-heading_37edb0-07 mark, .wp-block-kadence-advancedheading.kt-adv-heading_37edb0-07[data-kb-block="kb-adv-heading_37edb0-07"] mark{font-style:normal;color:#f76a0c;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;} A Chinese-dominated legacy chip market would mean U.S. warfighters (and U.S. critical infrastructure) could become dependent on Chinese chips for their equipment. The world would once again be at the mercy of China-based semiconductor supply chains, whose unreliability bedeviled the world economy during the pandemic.… Read More