Huawei’s 7-nanometer chip breakthrough is 'years behind what we have,' U.S. Commerce Secretary says

GettyImages 1490739327 e1713744501555

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Huawei Technologies Co.’s latest phone shows that China remains behind on cutting-edge chip technology.

In an interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes, Raimondo downplayed the company’s claims of a breakthrough and said the technology gap shows the Biden administration’s success in imposing export controls on China.

While Raimondo was visiting China in August, Shenzhen-based Huawei unveiled a smartphone powered by a homegrown advanced 7-nanometer chip, technology that’s generations ahead of where the US hoped to halt China’s advances. 

“It’s years behind what we have in the United States,” Raimondo said in the interview broadcast Sunday. “We have the most sophisticated semiconductors in the world. China doesn’t. We’ve out-innovated China.” 

Raimondo has vowed to take the “strongest possible” action to protect US national security, and Commerce Under Secretary Alan Estevez has said that Huawei’s chipmaking partner Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. “potentially” violated US law. The Biden administration is considering blacklisting Chinese companies it suspects could make chips for Huawei. 

The global chips race heightened after Russia invaded Ukraine, when the US and its allies ramped up export controls on semiconductors to Moscow. Raimondo said the curbs were effective, citing reports that Russians were taking semiconductors “out of refrigerators, out of dishwashers” for use in military equipment.

“It’s absolutely the case that our export controls have hurt their ability to conduct the war, made it harder,” Raimondo said.

Raimondo’s department — once known for a secretary who struggled to stay awake on the job — has taken on a pivotal role in the Biden administration’s China strategy, including efforts to keep the most-advanced technology out of Chinese hands.

After getting the Netherlands and Japan on board with some of the curbs last year, and then tightening the US rules in the fall, Raimondo is pressuring those two countries — plus South Korea and Germany — to further limit China’s access to foreign technology. 

Her department’s also in charge of doling out grants and loans worth more than $100 billion to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing, while also corralling allies to rein in China’s own chipmaking and AI ambitions. 

Raimondo has spent recent weeks unveiling multi-billion-dollar awards from the 2022 Chips and Science Act for Intel Corp., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co., and it set to announce another for Micron Technology Inc. this week. The federal funding has spurred more than $200 billion in private semiconductor investment since President Joe Biden took office, and more than 600 firms have expressed interest in the grants, which are nearly 85% allocated.

Subscribe to the Eye on AI newsletter to stay abreast of how AI is shaping the future of business. Sign up for free.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top