A brewing U.S.-China tech cold war rattles the semiconductor industry



Lori Ioannou | CNBC

As trade tensions mount between the U.S. and China, the U.S. semiconductor industry fears a tech cold war could disrupt the global supply chain. Now companies on both sides of the Pacific are trying to develop strategies to mitigate risk — whether it’s hoarding supplies or looking at shifting the location of production facilities.

 Last week Trump administration announced that it is considering imposing export restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, China’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors. That’s the latest crackdown by Washington as it tightens restrictions against Chinese tech companies such as Huawei, preventing them from obtaining chips without a special license.

The issue prompted SEMI, an industry group, to draft a letter for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explaining how blacklisting SMIC could hurt the U.S. tech industry, Reuters has reported. “We urge the Department to carefully consider the immediate and long-term detrimental impacts to U.S. industry, economic and national security that may result from the addition of SMIC to the Entity List,” said the group, which has 2,400 members worldwide, including SMIC and U.S. chip equipment makers Lam Research Corp  and Applied Materials.

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