/ Go to the mediabankMicrochip / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaOnce the world’s largest maker of cellphones, Huawei has been extensively sanctioned by the US government, which has levied unproven claims that the company secretly puts spying “backdoors” into its technology at the behest of the Chinese government. Chinese tech giant Huawei moved on Friday to dispel longstanding rumors about its microchip foundry capabilities, according to reports in Chinese media. While the Shenzhen-based firm has mastered one step of the process, allowing it to produce smaller chips, it remains dependent on other makers for 7-nanometer chips.
Late last year, Huawei revealed it had "entered the game" of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography by filing a patent for devices used in the process in 2021. EUV lithography is the method used to manufacture the smallest microchips below 20 nanometers in size. However, in order to produce chips of just 7 nanometers, more than just EUV is required: makers must also be skilled at pitch splitting and spacer patterning.
The smaller the chip, the less energy they consume and the more efficient they are as processors. More chips can then fit into a device, too, giving them much greater capability in speed and other features.World‘Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish’: US ‘Embargo’ Driving China to Pioneer Own Semiconductor Industry9 January, 17:27 GMTJust four manufacturers in the world can do such a thing: South Korea-based Samsung; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), California-based Intel, and the newest member of the bunch, China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). That Shanghai-based company, the largest contract chip maker in China, revealed last August that it had mastered the 7-nanometer manufacturing process.As part of its efforts to undermine China’s rise to become a modern, technologically advanced nation with a major presence on the global stage, the United States has looked to frustrate China’s tech sector, including by denying them access to the best microchips. Sanctions haphazardly put in place last year were given extensive waivers by the US government after regulators realized they would effectively bring much of the world’s tech manufacturing to a halt.While China produces a great deal of its own semiconductor chips, it purchases huge amounts from South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and the Netherlands as well, including the 7-nanometer chips used in devices like Huawei’s phones since at least 2016. China produces 36% of the world’s electronic devices.To get around these new roadblocks, Chinese President Xi Jinping has supported dramatic increases in funding for education as well as research and development, and his government has provided additional financial support for the tech sector to compensate for the loss of American markets.