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Assessing the impact as global superpowers collide over technology

What is driving the so-called tech war between the USA and China and what consequences will it have for the semiconductor industry? And what about the world’s most advanced semiconductor ‘foundry’, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company? In a new essay, Bryan Bille, an international political economy student at King’s, shows that the recent US export controls are more intended to maintain US technological hegemony and the technological edge over China, rather than to protect the US national security.

The US still has a significant technological edge over China in advanced chip-making, regardless of China’s ambition to achieve self-reliance and to develop an entire domestic semiconductor supply chain, reflected in China’s 'Made in China 2025' plan.

Even if the exact consequences of the US-China tech war, especially of the recent US export controls, are, to some extent, still unclear, Bryan argues that the Chinese semiconductor industry will be forced to further focus on the development of older, low-end or 'trailing-edge' semiconductors. The October 2022 US export controls have successfully hit China’s choke-points in advanced chip-making, namely manufacturing equipment and know-how. Consequently, China is expected to step up its efforts in achieving self-reliance, but this will be costly and probably not feasible in the near future.

Apart from the negative consequences for the Chinese semiconductor industry, US firms are also affected and are estimated to lose revenue share.

Finally, recent US export controls have hit Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) business with China. At the same time, Bryan suggests that TSMC is expected to capture more market share and widen the technological gap with its Chinese competitors. In applying the GPN 2.0. framework in his analysis, Bryan argues that onshoring advanced chip-making to the US is not as effective as it seems.

Read the report...

You can read Bryan's analysis in full here.

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