Biden's AMD and NVIDIA chip export ban just the start as White House set to curb China's processor foundries
It looks like the White House is gearing to announce sweeping new processor chip-making tool export ban restrictions, claim insiders privy to the Department of Commerce plans. After banning NVIDIA and AMD's latest AI processor shipments to China, now the Commerce Department is set to expand the blacklist to include the actual equipment needed to produce sub-14nm chips.
The anonymous sources tip that the Department is set to codify the new regulations by officially publishing what it already communicated in terms of export restrictions to TSMC equipment suppliers like KLA, Lam Research, and Applied Materials earlier in the year. With the regulations announcement, President Biden's administration will also seek to set in stone the AI chip export restrictions to China that it notified AMD and NVIDIA about, too.
At present, the biggest processor foundry in China, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), can only reliably churn chips made with the 14nm process node that was all the rage in the iPhone 7 times. Granted, it was recently revealed that SMIC has also successfully taped out 7nm processors, but industry analysts are still sceptical about the exact manufacturing method that allowed the Chinese to get there.
Instead of using the modern EUV method (equipment for which is also banned for sale to China), SMIC reportedly lifted TSMC's last non-EUV node which brings along many production compromises and low yield rates. With Biden's ban on sub-14nm chip-making tools and assorted machinery soon becoming official, China may be an even longer way from producing its own modern chips, all the while the iPhone 15 Pro is expected to land with silicon taped out on the 3nm process in 2023.