US sanctions against China’s chip industry trigger setbacks
US sanctions against China’s chip industry trigger setbacks

US sanctions against China’s chip industry trigger setbacks

Editor’s note: Technology competition has become a hot topic in media reports, with Huawei at the center. Why is technology competition in the spotlight? What does the Huawei case tell us? Philip Chen, a professor at the South China University of Technology, deputy director of the Pazhou Lab in Guangdong Province and a member of the Academia Europaea (AE), gives some clues. The views expressed in the video are his own and not necessarily those of CGTNs.

CGTN: As reports have pointed out, science and technology will be a major area of ‚Äč‚Äčcompetition between great powers. As countries increase their investment in technology and research, what is your view on the future competition between countries, especially between China and the United States in this area?

Philip Chen: China’s investment in science and technology now ranks second in the world, slightly behind the United States, and our investment in scientific research far exceeds that of other countries. But in terms of population, we invest less than other countries, especially the United States

China is a leading player in technology research and also in other fields. However, some key technologies were first used in European countries and the United States, which means they spend more time on patents and technologies. As such, China is not able to compete in these areas for now. But with more time and investment, we can quickly catch up on the expertise.

Now a major problem is the impact of US sanctions on China’s chip industry. First, since China is a major manufacturing country, the shortage of chips will weigh on many industries related to people’s livelihoods and may even affect the entire industrial chain. It would affect not only China but the whole world and harm the international industrial chain. With the sanctions imposed, other countries will also find it difficult to sell their products to other parts of the world. So this really drags the whole world into this problem.

CGTN: Chips are essential for technology companies and even countries. When Chinese companies like Huawei scale up their own research and development of chips, how do you assess the future of chips?

Chen: Huawei has its own chips, the Ascend series. It is in the process of planning its entire industrial chain, step by step. This takes time. Other countries have accumulated experience in two or three decades of making chips. From the most basic lithography machines to specific materials and techniques, it’s all integration. None of this can be done in two or three years.

Now I think the main problem is high cost. Making chips involves many mistakes. It is likely that you only have a good chip among the 100 chips that have been made. So in terms of use, for people’s livelihood, this market is not quite ready to be in full use. This technology is likely to improve.

To create a solution to this problem, it will probably be most useful to start with the basic machines. I mentioned above that the lithography machines are a big problem. Now there is only one or two companies that can manufacture lithography machines in the world. If they did not sell to China, China would not be able to do so. So this is the biggest obstacle.

CGTN: What becomes mainstream: hegemony or cooperation? Why?

Chen: I believe that collaboration will be the way forward, because technology requires global collaboration. As I mentioned, whether it is raw materials, basic materials or machines, no country can do everything alone. That is why, in terms of the role of technology in innovation, I believe that we must work with other countries. Technologies are meant to be shared. You can use my technology and I can use yours.

Interviewer: Yang Chuchu

Cameramen: Zhao Jing

Video editing: Yang Chuchu

Producer: Wang Xinyan

Supervisor: Mei Yan

(If you would like to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at [email protected])

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