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US-China tech war: without advanced chips, can China’s smartphone industry survive?
  • Limited access to high-end semiconductor chips poses a major threat to China’s world-leading smartphone manufacturing industry
  • Chinese smartphone firms will face an ‘innovate or die’ situation, especially as multinationals look to diversify, industry insiders say

[Image: 4fb674aa-6baf-478d-8cb9-e3d4dda0ffb9_b72...1680570939]

April 3 marks the 50th anniversary of the first mobile phone call in New York, a moment that revolutionised global communication. In this series, we look at how the devices have reshaped China’s economy and technology. You can read part one here.

Tang Qi, a former phone dealer in Huaqiangbei, one of China’s largest smartphone grey markets in Shenzhen, has witnessed the ups and downs of the handset industry. But one thing is certain: business has always hinged on semiconductor chips.

Now, with the golden years of globalisation seemingly in the rear view, the country’s mobile phone industry is caught in the middle of a tech war that has seen the US and its allies ban exports of semiconductors used to power advanced smartphones, leaving the outlook far from certain.

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