Despite US-China Tensions, Beijing Remains Crucial Market For Nvidia, Intel And Other American Chipmakers: Report

The semiconductor industry continues to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape, with U.S. companies maintaining a significant presence in the Chinese market despite stringent export controls.

What Happened: China remains a critical market for U.S. semiconductor firms, even as the U.S. government intensifies efforts to limit China’s access to advanced chip technology, CNBC reported on Friday.

Data from S&P Global showed that since October 2022, the U.S. has enacted export controls, yet companies like Intel INTC, Broadcom AVGO, Qualcomm QCOM, and Marvell Technology MRVL report greater revenues from China than from the U.S. These controls target AI-related chips but permit sales of most other chip types to Chinese entities.

U.S. chipmakers leverage their technological lead to serve the Chinese market, which consumes nearly half of the global semiconductors. Firms like Nvidia NVDA and Intel INTC have developed modified AI chips for China to adhere to U.S. regulations.

See Also: Western Nations May Face $10 Trillion Defense Spending Surge Amid Russia-China Threat: Report

Following updates to U.S. export rules to tighten loopholes, companies like Nvidia are creating new China-specific chips. Intel continues to sell laptop processors to Huawei under a license granted by the previous administration, while AMD AMD seeks a license for its AI chip amid regulatory challenges.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, with members including Intel, Qualcomm, and Nvidia, has urged for a de-escalation of tensions and a halt to further sanctions. Conversely, China has prohibited some U.S. chips and is advancing towards self-reliance in semiconductor production, with substantial subsidies for its domestic industry.

Despite these hurdles, U.S. firms maintain a lead in technology, with a three to five-year edge over Chinese counterparts in the AI GPU market. This edge is vital as China intensifies efforts to enhance its local GPU supply chain for specific sectors.

Why It Matters: China’s largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), has produced more sophisticated chips despite U.S. sanctions but still faces significant obstacles in achieving semiconductor self-sufficiency.

To support its AI startups, China has introduced “computing vouchers” worth $280K to mitigate the impact of U.S. chip restrictions.

The U.S. is set to announce a list of Chinese chipmaking facilities banned from receiving essential technology, a move that could significantly disrupt the global semiconductor landscape. China has expressed opposition to this which impacts companies like Nvidia and AMD.

Read Next: Xi Jinping Met Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou Amid Rising Cross-Strait Tensions

Photo via Shutterstock

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