U.S. chips curbs boost China's resolve for self-reliance, innovation
Updated 21:28, 08-Mar-2023
First Voice
U.S. chips curbs boost China's resolve for self-reliance, innovation

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The recent economic curbs and bans against China imposed by the United States, particularly those aimed at China's semiconductor industry, are not only counterproductive but also bound to fail. While some balanced voices within the American business community have warned of the risks associated with such moves, Beijing is confident that such actions will only strengthen China's resolve to achieve self-reliance and technological innovation.

Driven by a misplaced fear over Beijing's rise as a formidable global power, successive U.S. governments have been pursuing a policy of political, economic and military containment against China, a trend that has witnessed a substantial escalation in recent times. An increased thrust on economic "decoupling" has seen Washington imposing illegitimate unilateral sanctions against Chinese entities and industries, including its relentless efforts to restrict and penalize China's semiconductor industry.

However, these moves have largely been unsuccessful, with China continuing to make significant strides in semiconductor development. The futility of the U.S. policy in the face of China's robust supply-chain capacities built over decades and the size of its market is only too evident, with American industry leaders calling out the absolute pointlessness of the U.S. measures.

Microsoft founder and business magnate Bill Gates stated last week that Washington would not be able to achieve the desired result and limit Beijing's ambitions in chip development through procurement restrictions and trying to get the chip industry back under U.S. control. Attempting to do so, he argued, will only take away American jobs and chip sales. Gates expressed his desire for Washington and Beijing to cooperate closely with each other.

Similarly, American economist David Goldman noted that the idea that the U.S. can completely decouple from China is a "silly" fantasy and that sanctions will not destroy China's semiconductor industry.

American business leaders and institutions have also pointed to the fact that the U.S. semiconductor industry is highly dependent on the global supply chain; and that decoupling will not only be at odds with the laws of how this industry grows but also cost the U.S. a great deal both economically and technologically.

A study by Boston Consulting Group has estimated that U.S. companies could lose 18 percent of their global market share and 37 percent of revenues if the U.S. completely bans semiconductor companies from selling to Chinese customers, resulting in a loss of 15,000 to 40,000 highly skilled jobs.

Responding to a question on the topic on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning reiterated that China's development is always built on its own strength.

From the "two bombs and one satellite" project to manned spaceflight, quantum communication and the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), facts have shown that curbs and bans will not stop China's development, but will only strengthen China's resolve and capability to seek self-reliance and technological innovation, she said.

Chinese innovation key to global tech ecosystem

Chinese President Xi Jinping has also repeatedly emphasized the importance of self-reliance and innovation in recent speeches, signaling a clear strategic shift towards a more inward-looking approach to development. This shift is particularly relevant to China's semiconductor industry.

In his speeches, President Xi has emphasized the need for China to develop its own core technologies and reduce its reliance on foreign technology. This emphasis on self-reliance is part of a broader strategy to promote China's economic independence and reduce its vulnerability to external pressures.

For China's semiconductor industry, this means increasing investment in research and development, talent cultivation, and infrastructure. The goal is to create a more robust and sustainable domestic semiconductor industry that can support China's economic growth and strategic objectives.

To this end, China has launched several initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and self-reliance in the semiconductor industry. These include the "Made in China 2025" program, which aims to transform China into a global leader in advanced manufacturing, and the National Integrated Circuit Industry Development Plan, which seeks to increase China's self-sufficiency in semiconductor technology.

Indeed, the Chinese semiconductor industry has already made significant progress, with companies such as Huawei and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) becoming global players in the sector. China is also investing heavily in research and development, with a particular focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G.

China's emphasis on self-reliance and innovation in the semiconductor industry is not only important for its own economic development but also for the global technology ecosystem. As China's semiconductor industry grows and matures, it will contribute to the diversity and competitiveness of the global technology market, which is ultimately beneficial for consumers and businesses worldwide.

However, this emphasis on self-reliance does not mean that China is closing its doors to international cooperation and exchange. On the contrary, China remains committed to open and inclusive development, and President Xi has repeatedly emphasized the importance of cooperation and mutual benefit in his speeches.

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