For years, China has been trying to build its own semiconductor industry, in order to reduce its reliance on suppliers from the US, Europe and Japan for chip makers. But their efforts were just poured into a cold water.
Japan's Tokyo Electron, the world's third-largest supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, said it will not provide Chinese customers on the US government's blacklist.
A senior executive of the company said: "We will not do business with Chinese customers, whom firms Applied Materials and Lam Research are prohibited from doing business with. "Applied Materials and Lam Research are the leading chip manufacturing equipment suppliers in the United States, and so they must not do business with companies listed on the black list of the US government.
The director added: "For us, it is important that the US government and the industry see that we are an upright company"This seems to imply a long-term relationship between Tokyo Electron and the United States from 1960 until now, when they were originally importers of American equipment.
According to Reuters, another major Japanese chip manufacturing equipment supplier is also considering stopping shipments for Chinese firms on the blacklist. "This issue is beyond our ability to decide. "An unnamed source told Reuters.
Many executives of other equipment suppliers said they were in close contact with the Japanese Ministry of Industry. "We do not receive any specific directives from the Minister. We know that we may be in big trouble if we take advantage of the US export ban to expand business with China.. "
Inside Tokyo Electron's factory in Miyagi Prefecture.
Do not take advantage of US government export bans
While Tokyo Electron does not mention specific Chinese customers, currently, chip makers are backed by Beijing, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit is a company listed in the Entity List and banned from buying products. technology products from the US.
In addition, a small number of Chinese companies and research organizations are also in the "red list" and US companies are advised to avoid cooperation.
Meanwhile, HiSilicon, Huawei's chip design department did not encounter this problem because the unit did not produce the chip itself. But the fact that suppliers do not come from the US still comply with this ban can cause Huawei other great risks.
Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, the company accused of stealing trade secrets from Micron chip company.
US law states that any product containing 25% or more of the US technology content will be the target of an export restriction order from the US government. However, executives of Japanese equipment suppliers do not give a reason for stopping supply to Chinese companies.
"Japanese companies such as Tokyo Electron cannot replace US competitors and complete production lines for China. But in fact, it is very difficult to consider an angry reaction from the US."The director of a chip manufacturer in the US said.
The lag of Chinese chip manufacturing technology
Of the top 10 chip manufacturing equipment suppliers in the world, up to 5 are Japanese. The specialized chip manufacturing equipment industry is an area with very few participants, but these devices play an important strategic role for all semiconductor manufacturers.
Chip manufacturing involves a lot of different processes, requiring a lot of specialized equipment. Each of these segments usually has only a few vendors dominating the entire market.
Tokyo Electron currently controls nearly 90% of the market that provides microchip coatings and cleaners. The company is competing directly with US companies, Applied Materials and Lam Research in another field.
Beijing is investing heavily to strengthen domestic chip equipment suppliers, in an effort to achieve its goal of meeting 70% of semiconductor demand by 2025. But industry sources believe that , the technology of these suppliers is still lagging far behind the world, making China still dependent on imported equipment.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an American policy research organization, only 16% of China's semiconductor needs are produced domestically, half of which are from Chinese companies. National production.
Refer to Reuters