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Tech war: China’s top memory chip maker YMTC to test the limits of innovation
Tech war: China’s top memory chip maker YMTC to test the limits of innovation under US restrictions
  • Chinese chip expert Wei Shaojun said the US has ‘weaponized [chip design] tools and advanced chipmaking tools’, forcing a shift to mature technologies
  • YMTC may even postpone construction of its second wafer fab in Wuhan due to disruptions to its procurement supply chain, according to a source

[Image: dc1e9015-f0d4-41db-be42-2c29dc963b50_8fe...1674014288]

A Chinese chip expert praised China’s top NAND flash maker Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) for its rival-beating innovation, but cautioned that the country needs to divert its focus to mature technology development after the US imposed sanctions on exports of leading edge semiconductor tech to China.

Since its founding in 2016, Wuhan-based YMTC has been China’s hope for breaking ground in the global market for NAND flash memory chips – a non-volatile semiconductor memory that retains data without power, which is pervasively used in smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics devices.

However, those hopes have dimmed. In December, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security put YMTC, along with 35 Chinese entities, on a trade blacklist that restricts procurement of US products and services without Washington’s approval. The US alleges that YMTC has provided products to companies already under its export controls, including Huawei Technologies Co and surveillance camera maker Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co.

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