At the recent Chinese Communist Party Congress, its Chairman Xi Jinping said the country should make more efforts to ensure independence and self-sufficiency in high technology in the next five years. At the same time, the Chinese authorities are ready to help South Korean companies with branches in China to develop in the country. The United States can get involved.
This can be judged as Nikkei Asian Review, at least according to the content of the conversation of the head of the Chinese Communist Party branch in Dalian during the visit of the Vice President of SK Hynix to this city, which took place at the end of September, when a new round of US sanctions had the supply of special equipment to China still not limited. As the CCP spokesman explained, SK hynix should expand its cooperation with the party and keep investing in the Chinese economy without giving up.
SK hynix in Dalian, China bought a flash memory manufacturing facility from Intel in late 2021 and is building its own. In the city of Wuxi, the company operates a RAM chip production plant, which accounts for up to 40% of the brand’s entire production program. From this point of view, the Korean manufacturer is forced to weigh between the interests of the Chinese and American sides. Speaking specifically about the October wave of sanctions, SK hynix, together with Samsung, managed to delay the introduction of US export restrictions by a year. However, a Nikkei Asian Review source in diplomatic circles noted:South Korean chipmakers will struggle if China pursues them“.
According to the results of the current year, only 26% of the Chinese industry will supply itself with the necessary semiconductor components. That is significantly more than the 16% observed in 2015, but still not enough to declare oneself independent of foreign providers. The activity of the PRC in the field of innovation is characterized at least by the number of patent applications filed each year. In the year before last, the country filed 30,130 patent applications in the semiconductor field, almost four times more than South Korea, which ranks second in the world with 7,749 applications. Last year, China published more than twice as many scientific papers on semiconductors as the United States: 7,379 versus 3,114.
In this regard, Taiwan still feels its technological superiority in the field of lithography, as the quoted shows Reuters TSMC founder Morris Chang. The Taiwanese company will be the first to produce advanced 3nm components in the United States if Intel manages to overtake Intel, which aims to master production of 18A technology components in Ohio by mid-decade. To this end, TSMC wants to build a second plant in Arizona next to the one already under construction, which should be able to produce 5 nm products from 2024.
Morris Chan admitted that many people are jealous of Taiwan’s superiority in chip manufacturing. The founder of TSMC is often asked if it is possible to establish a core business in a certain country. The authors of such initiatives are aimed at earning or strengthening national security, according to the former head of TSMC. He did not specify from which countries such requests are received.
Beijing shows no signs of curbing its technological ambitions, while Washington appears just as determined to curb those ambitions. For South Korea and Taiwan, the battle for technology and talent is far from over.