China’s chip industry is gaining momentum – it could alter the global economic and security landscape

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


China’s national champions for computer chip – or semiconductor – design and manufacturing, HiSilicon and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), are making waves in Washington.

SMIC was long considered a laggard. Despite being the recipient of billions of dollars from the Chinese government since its founding in 2000, it remained far from the technological frontier. But that perception — and the self-assurance it gave the US — is changing.

In August 2023, Huawei launched its high-end Huawei Mate 60 smartphone. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (an American think tank based in Washington DC), the launch “surprised the US” as the chip powering it showed that Chinese self-sufficiency in HiSilicon’s semiconductor design and SMIC’s manufacturing capabilities were catching up at an alarming pace.

More recent news that Huawei and SMIC are scheming to mass-produce so-called 5-nanometre processor chips in new Shanghai production facilities has only stoked further fears about leaps in their next-generation prowess. These chips remain a generation behind the current cutting-edge ones, but they show that China’s move to create more advanced chips is well on track, despite US export controls.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024


  • United States
  • semiconductor
  • Trade wars


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