China’s Microchip Ambitions: Semiconductors Advance the Next Phase of Techno-Nationalism



Alex Capri | Hinrich Foundation

Comprising the ‘brains’ for everything, from AI to machine learning and the internet of things (IoT), semiconductors represent the world’s most essential and coveted technology. China’s tensions with the US and its allies is accelerating strategic decoupling, reshoring, and ringfencing throughout the critical technology landscape.

This study is Part 3 of a Hinrich Foundation series, authored by Research Fellow Alex Capri, that began with the comprehensive primer Semiconductors at the heart of a US-China tech-war in January 2020. This paper will focus on the actions China has taken to catch up to US tech firepower. As with Part 1 and Part 2, this report also revisits the concept of ‘techno-nationalism’ – the neo-mercantilist mindset that links a nation-state’s technology prowess with its national security, economic prosperity, and socio-political stability.

The four themes of previous reports – strategic decoupling, tech alliances, innovation mercantilism, and the In-China-For-China strategy question – are also visited in this report. Export controls and restricted entity lists continue to be weaponized in semiconductor supply chains. Tech alliances continue to affect reshoring and diversification of global value chains.

Download this third instalment to learn what lies ahead for Chinese chipmakers, leading Taiwanese firm TSMC, and the electric vehicle sector that is driving demand for microchips.

Chinas microchip ambitions - Hinrich Foundation - Alex Capri

To read the full report from the Hinrich Foundation, please click here.

Alex Capri is a research fellow at the Hinrich Foundation and a senior fellow and lecturer in the Business School at the National University of Singapore. He also teaches at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.