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China's Use of ASML Equipment for Advanced Chips Raises Questions About Export Controls

China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) has used equipment from ASML Holding to manufacture an advanced processor for a Chinese smartphone, according to anonymous sources. This development suggests that export restrictions on ASML's equipment may not have been effective in curbing China's advances in chipmaking. ASML's deep ultraviolet (DUV) machines, used in conjunction with tools from other companies, were involved in the production of a chip that raised concerns in the United States.

China's Use of ASML Equipment for Advanced Chips Raises Questions About Export Controls

Despite efforts by the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands to restrict China's access to advanced semiconductor technology, China's ability to adapt existing equipment and produce advanced chips has outpaced these restrictions. China's advancements in chip production have prompted questions about the effectiveness of export controls, especially when China produces advanced chips like the one used in Huawei's Mate 60 Pro smartphone.


The 7-nanometer chip used in the Huawei smartphone was manufactured by SMIC, raising questions about how China managed to produce such a chip, given the restrictions on lithography equipment and the complexities of reconfiguring DUV models. This has led to calls for a reassessment of the effectiveness of export controls and their impact on China's chip production industry.


ASML Holding plays a crucial role in the global chip supply chain by providing lithography machines essential for chip production. While export restrictions prevent the sale of ASML's extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machines to China, the country has adapted DUV models for advanced chip production, albeit at a higher cost.

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China's investments in its chip production industry and its ability to adapt existing equipment have allowed it to overcome these challenges and continue advancing its chipmaking capabilities. This has raised questions about the effectiveness of export controls, especially when advanced chips like the one used in Huawei's Mate 60 Pro smartphone are produced.


Despite the restrictions on ASML Holding's equipment, the ability of Chinese companies to adapt existing technology and produce advanced chips has raised concerns about the effectiveness of export controls. The revelation that SMIC used ASML equipment to manufacture an advanced processor for a Huawei smartphone highlights the challenges associated with these controls, especially as China's chipmaking capabilities continue to advance.


While ASML Holding has a monopoly on EUV systems crucial for producing cutting-edge chips, China's willingness to shoulder a significant portion of chipmaking costs has allowed it to stockpile DUV gear for years. In response to these developments, there is growing concern about how China was able to produce such an advanced chip, given the restrictions on lithography equipment and the complexities of reconfiguring DUV models. This has led to calls for a reassessment of the effectiveness of these controls and their impact on China's chip production industry.


In conclusion, despite export restrictions on ASML's equipment, China's ability to adapt existing technology and produce advanced chips has raised concerns about the effectiveness of these controls. The production of an advanced chip for a Huawei smartphone using ASML equipment has prompted questions about the limitations of export restrictions and their impact on China's chipmaking capabilities.

By fLEXI tEAM

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