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Chinese Chip Designers Slow Processors to Avoid U.S. Sanctions

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A snail on a chip, indicating a reduction in speed.

U.S. export controls extend to third-country chip manufacturers because almost all semiconductor fabrication plants use American components or software.

Credit: Getty Images

Alibaba, Biren Technology, and other Chinese chip designers are taking steps to avoid U.S. sanctions by changing their chip designs to lower processing speeds.

The sanctions cap the processing power of any semiconductor shipped into China without a license.

Sources say further production has been halted while design changes are made as a result of the new rules.

Because nearly all semiconductor fabrication plants use U.S. components or software, the rules extend to third-country chip manufacturers and are equivalent to an embargo on high-end processors entering China.

Said Paul Triolo at consulting group ASG, "Attempting to freeze a country in place for a technological level of hardware is a big deal. That is what the U.S. is trying to do by restricting sales and closing off the manufacturing road map to get to these advanced levels of hardware."

From Ars Technica
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