Last month, Chinese tech giant Huawei was placed on a U.S. blacklist that required American firms to obtain government permission to sell to the company.
The telecommunications equipment maker relies on some key components from U.S. firms and software from Google and Microsoft. Washington has granted a 90-day reprieve for now, but the threat remains a major problem for the company.
The Chinese administration in hunger to prove itself to the world has pushed for self-dependence and growth of its technology without relying on western powers. China is also striving to diminish the reliance on U.S. tech and has been trying to produce its computer processors and GPUs for the past few years.
But now it seems that the country might finally have achieved a part of its goal. The country’s fab manufacturing companies are certainly not weak in the market and are going rapidly, but they are still behind the likes of TSMC. The X86 CPUs produced in China are not yet impressive enough and cannot compete with Intel and AMD.
The Big Island GPU might prove to have a global impact considering that the FP16 performance of the Big Island chips can reach 147 TFLOPS, which is comparable to AMD’s Instinct MI100 with 184.6 TFLOPS.
Chinese Government’s say in this
Last month, the Chinese government also announced tax breaks for homegrown semiconductor companies and software developers.
Beijing highlighted semiconductors as a key area of the Made in China 2025 plan, a government initiative that aims to boost the production of higher-value products.
China aims to produce 40% of the semiconductors it uses by 2020 and 70% by 2025. That’s backed by tens of billions of dollars of investment from Beijing into the country’s chip industry.
Currently, only 16% of the semiconductors used in China are produced in the country, and only half of those are made by Chinese firms, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In other words, the country is still reliant on foreign, largely American, technology.
Despite all its advances, China’s semiconductor industry won’t overtake its competitors anytime soon.
One of the biggest challenges for China will be finding and developing new suppliers if American firms remain off-limits.
For one, Huawei’s HiSilicon still relies on basic chip design from Softbank-owned Arm. Even though HiSilicon produces processors for its devices, the architecture is from the British firm. The chip designer recently suspended business with Huawei to comply with the U.S. blacklist of the Chinese firm. Huawei will need to find an alternative to Arm, which is the biggest chip design firm by market share.