Liu He picked to lead next generation chip development  

China | 17 Jun 2021 2:20 pm

President Xi Jinping is renewing his years-long push to achieve technology self-sufficiency by tapping a senior deputy to shepherd a key initiative aimed at helping domestic chipmakers overcome U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg reports.

Liu He,  whose sprawling portfolio spans trade to finance and technology, has been tapped to spearhead the development of so-called third-generation chip development and capabilities and is leading the formulation of a series of financial and policy supports for the technology, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

It’s a nascent field that relies on newer materials and gear beyond traditional silicon and is currently an arena where no company or nation yet dominates, offering Beijing one of its best chances to sidestep the hurdles slapped on its chipmaking industry by the U.S. and its allies.

The sanctions, which emerged during Donald Trump’s presidency, have already smothered Huawei Technologies smartphone business and will impede longer-term efforts by chipmakers from Huawei’s HiSilicon to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. to migrate toward more advanced wafer fabrication technologies, threatening China’s technological ambitions.

“China is the world’s largest user of chips, so supply chain security is of high priority,” said Gu Wenjun, chief analyst at research firm ICwise. “It’s not possible for any country to control the entire supply chain, but a country’s effort is definitely stronger than a single company.”

The State Council and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology didn’t respond to faxed requests for comment.

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