US Losing Middle East in Fighting China for World Leadership


Foreign Policy’s article “Why Mohammed bin Salman Suddenly Wants to Talk to Iran” on April 29, 2021 tells readers why Saudi Arabia has now been mending fence with Iran, the country it regarded as its enemy to be invaded four years ago.

According to the article, at least since January 2021 Saudi has been having secret meetings with Iran. The article quotes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying to Saudi television, “We are seeking to have good relations with Iran”. Why?

The article says, “One factor looms larger than all others: increasing signs that the United States is serious about shifting its focus away from the Middle East.”

An important fact is US planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. Though the US regards itself as world leader, it cannot afford the commitment to defend all its allies and partners in the world including Afghanistan and maybe Saudi Arabia.

Sad!!!

There has been much speculation about China’s ambition to be world leader now. There has been no sign of that so far. True, China has been working hard to attain its target of modernization by 2049. Yes, it may be the largest economy in world by that time, but can a country with such an economy be world leader. I doubt. It is ridiculous that even its Belt and Road initiative is regarded as indication of such ambition but it is merely a part of those efforts to enable it to attain that goal through win-win cooperation in the world. Its geopolitical influence may be enhanced, but it is not able to become world leader by such cooperation. In fact, it has lots of trouble now, being attacked by the West on many issues: Taiwan, South China Sea, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc.

Though the second largest economy, it lacks the financial, military and other powers to be world leader. Be sober! If a country is strong and wise enough as world leader, it will be recognized as such in the world. That will be the natural outcome of its development and wisdom. It would collapse just like Napoleon’s France, Hitler’s Germany, etc. no matter how hard it has tried if it lacks the strength and wisdom to be qualified as world leader.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/04/29/saudi-arabia-iran-uae-mohammed-bin-salman-secret-talks-biden-withdrawal-pivot-middle-east/?utm_source=PostUp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=32603&utm_term=Editors%20Picks%20OC&?tpcc=32603.


China launches key module of space station planned for 2022


Reuters

Photo China’s space station

China’s planned space station

China launched an unmanned module on Thursday containing living quarters for three crew on a permanent space station that it plans to complete by the end of 2022, state media reported.

The module, named “Tianhe”, or “Harmony of the Heavens”, was launched on the Long March 5B, China’s largest carrier rocket, at 11:23 a.m. (0323 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island of Hainan.

Tianhe is one of three main components of what would be China’s first self-developed space station, rivalling the only other station in service – the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS is backed by major countries including the United States, Russia and Japan. China was barred from participating in the ISS by the United States.

Tianhe will form the main living quarters for three crew members in the Chinese space station, which will have a life span of at least 10 years.

The Tianhe launch was the first of 11 missions needed to complete the space station, which will orbit Earth at an altitude of 340 to 450 kilometres (211-280 miles).

In the later missions, China will launch the two other core modules, four manned spacecraft and four cargo spacecraft.

Work on the space station programme began a decade ago with the launch of a space lab Tiangong-1 in 2011, and later, Tiangong-2 in 2016.

Both helped China test the programme’s space rendezvous and docking capabilities.

China has prioritised space exploration in recent years, with the aim of becoming a major space power by 2030.

By 2045, it hopes to establish a programme operating thousands of space flights a year and carrying tens of thousands of tonnes of cargo and passengers.

Source: Reuters “China launches key module of space station planned for 2022”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s population to decline ‘as early as 2022,’ demographers say, refuting FT report


By Zhang Hui and Cui Fandi

Published: Apr 28, 2021 10:29 PM

China’s population is likely to start to decline as early as 2022, ending a five-decade trend of growth, and China may adopt major policy adjustments such as fully lifting birth restrictions and encouraging more births at that point, Chinese demographers said, ahead of the release of results from the once-a-decade national census.

Their comments refuted a story published in the Financial Times (FT) on Tuesday, which claimed that China’s population census is expected to show the country’s first population decline since 1949.

The FT altered its headline on Wednesday, saying it would be the first decline “in five decades” instead of the previous wording of “since 1949.”

That, however, was still not agreed to by Chinese demographers, who said that the results of the seventh national population census — which covered the total population up to 2020 — is extremely unlikely to indicate that the population began to shrink last year.

Huang Wenzheng, a demography expert and senior researcher from the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Wednesday that “the FT’s headline was incorrect” as there was no evidence that China’s population started to decline in 2020.

Even if some experts estimated that China’s population at the end of 2020 was less than 1.4 billion, the total population recorded at the end of 2019, it did not mean China’s population had started to decline but more likely was a statistical error.

The population statistics reported annually by the National Bureau of Statistics are based on a very small sample, but the once-a-decade population census is conducted door-to-door, meaning the results of the national census are more reliable than the annual statistics, Huang said.

China on November 1, 2020, started its seventh national population count, with about 7 million census takers going door-to-door to document demographic changes in the world’s most populous country.

Huang and several other Chinese demographers said that although China’s actual population probably didn’t start falling last year, the population growth rate has been falling for years, and so China’s population may actually reach a peak within a year or two before starting to decline.

He Yafu, an independent demographer, told the Global Times that the gap between the number of deaths and newborns in recent years had become smaller, and deaths may outnumber births starting in 2022, which would mean that the population would shrink from that point.

In any case, China experienced population declines in 1960 and 1961, so any decline in a year or two would not be “first decline since 1949,” as the FT reported on Tuesday, experts said.

China is bound to see a decline in its total population in the coming years, but based on previously released birth rate data, it is highly unlikely that the just-completed seventh census will show a decline in the total population, Lu Jiehua, a professor of demographics at Peking University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

However, Chinese analysts said that the results of the seventh census, which will be released amid the grim assumption that the country’s population is about to start falling as early as next year, will serve as an important reference for China’s population policy adjustment, which may come in the next year or two.

He Yafu said that China’s policy-makers may make major changes and fully lift birth restrictions and encourage births as early as 2022.

A decline in the population would lead to a drop in the labor force and a reduction in innovation ability, and yields from investment would fall, increasing the financial pressure for retirees. All of this would eventually cause a longer-term economic downturn, experts said.

Internationally, Japan is dubbed as the “grayest nation,” as nearly 30 percent of its people are over 65, and the country’s population began to decline 10 years ago. Japan’s economic growth has been hovering around 1 percent for years.

Fully lifting birth restrictions will not be enough to avert a fall in China’s total population, or prevent China from becoming another Japan, Huang said.

Instead, China should come up with more measures to encourage births, such as subsidizing couples who choose to have more than one baby.

Photo

People walk to shop at the Chuhehan Street in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Source: Global Times “China’s population to decline ‘as early as 2022,’ demographers say, refuting FT report”

Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Japan approves world’s biggest free-trade deal after China’s call to boost Asian economy


  • 15-nation partnership is expected to cover nearly one-third of the world’s economy, trade and population and to come into effect from early 2022
  • Vice-minister of foreign affairs calls for efforts to defend the multilateral trade system and expressed interest in China joining CPTPP

Wendy Wu in Beijing

Published: 11:42am, 28 Apr, 2021

Japan expects the RCEP free-trade accord to boost its GDP 2.7 per cent and create 570,000 jobs. Photo: EPA

Japan’s parliament approved joining the world’s largest free-trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, on Wednesday as signatories aim for it to come into effect from the start of next year.

The approval by Japan’s upper house comes after the lower house gave the green light earlier this month and a day after China called for the deal to be ratified to shore up the economy in the Asia-Pacific.

The China-backed RCEP was signed in November last year and included the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. By eliminating tariffs on 91 per cent of goods, the RCEP will create a free-trade zone covering nearly one-third of the world’s economy, trade and population.

RCEP: 15 Asia-Pacific countries sign world’s largest free-trade deal

It will also be the first deal of its kind involving China, Japan and South Korea, and comes as the three countries struggle to negotiate a trilateral free-trade agreement.

Japan is the second-biggest regional economy outside Asean to give its formal support to the deal. China ratified the pact in March when the Ministry of Commerce said all members of the RCEP were planning to approve the deal by the end of the year for enforcement from 2022.

Japan’s government said in March that it expected the trade accord to boost the country’s GDP by 2.7 per cent and create 570,000 jobs.

Thailand and Singapore have also ratified the agreement. The deal will go into force 60 days after six of the Asean members and three non-Asean member states ratify it.

At a meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific on Tuesday, China’s vice-minister of foreign affairs Ma Zhaoxu called for efforts to stick to regional economic integration and defend the multilateral trade system.

“China took the lead in the ratification of the RCEP and is ready to push forward with all sides for the early entry into force and implementation,” he said.

Ma also underlined China’s interest in joining the Japan-led Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is more open and demands higher standards for trade, investment, competition and labour protection than the RCEP.

“We are willing to actively consider joining the CPTPP to inject a new push for the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

Wang Huiyao, director of the Beijing-based Centre for China and Globalisation, said the approval by Japan’s parliament sent a signal to the region, especially to Asean, on its support for economic integration despite increasingly complex geopolitical conditions.

“China will welcome the news. It’s a sign of support for regional economic integration. And the Japanese business community is still looking for a chance to cooperate with China, even though we don’t have a free-trade deal with Japan or a trilateral one with South Korea and Japan,” Wang said.

China is aiming to forge “high-standard” free-trade agreements with more partners in the next five years as well as closer cooperation along the industrial chain in the region, including in South Korea and Japan.

Wang Shouwen, China’s vice-minister of commerce, said in March that upon the enforcement of the RCEP, China would strive to speed up talks on the trilateral free-trade agreement.

Liu Yongjiang, an international relations professor at Tsinghua University, said enforcement of the RCEP would ease the way for China’s agricultural exports to Japan and reduce trade barriers to economic integration.

He also said the approval was a matter of procedure and much would depend on progress in the trilateral deal talks.

“Political tensions are expected to be a big restraint on forging the trilateral free-trade deal,” he said.

India was one of the founding RCEP members but skipped all negotiations from November 2019 because of concern that its trade deficit with China would grow.

In June last year, researchers at the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that the RCEP, which took seven years to negotiate, would add 0.4 per cent to China’s real income by 2030, while the trade war with the United States would trim 1.1 per cent, should hostilities at the time persist.

However, a study conducted in 2019 by researchers at the University of Queensland and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance found the RCEP would add just 0.08 per cent to China’s economy by 2030. Over the same period, the trade war with the US would slice 0.32 per cent from its GDP.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences were slightly more bullish on the prospects of the RCEP for China’s economy, estimating that over 10 years it would add 0.22 per cent to real GDP growth and 11.4 per cent to China’s total exports, should the schedule for trade liberalisation unfold as planned.

Source: SCMP “Japan approves world’s biggest free-trade deal after China’s call to boost Asian economy”

Note: This is SCMP’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Brilliant Radars Displayed in Recent Nanjing Expo (1)


Quite a few most advanced Chinese radars are recently displayed In the 9th World Radar Expo at Nanjing, China from April 22 to 24, including KLJ-7A fire control radar carried by fighter jet, SLC-2E artillery nemesis, SLC-7 three-dimensional early warning radar, YLC-8E anti-stealth early warning radar, YLC-18 low altitude defense radar, YLC-48 portable multi-functional reconnaissance radar nicknamed drone terminator, etc.

Among them, KLJ-7A is China’s first active phase array fire control radar for fighter jet to be marketed in world market. It is characterized by high degree of freedom, broad band-width and strong anti-jamming capability. It can easily generate various wave shapes to deal with different kinds of target, can, in addition, simultaneously counter source of interference at various directions. It is as good as similar top products in the world in view of its entire technology.

KLJ-7A fighter jet fire control radar. Photo by Yang Tiehu

Its speed of overall response has been greatly raised due to the use of optical fiber for data transmission so that its capability to monitor far-away targets is twice better than traditional radar.

KLJ-7A radar can track and guide missiles to hit quite a few targets at the same time. It has thus laid sound foundation for fighter jets to find and hit targets earlier.

SLC-2E radar is an S-band weapon position radar using entirely solid active phase array system, highly reliable, adaptable to environment and mobile and able to operate 24-hour in whatever weather. It can detect the position of not only mortars but also heavy artillery and rocket artillery with changing high-speed trajectory. In addition, it can detect the position of armed helicopters to better satisfy artillery’s operational needs.

SLC-2E S-band multi-functional cannon position radar being viewed on April 23. Photo by Yang Tiefu

SLC-2E radar’s operational speed is very high. It adopts the technology of fully automatic operation, able to switch between marching and fighting modes in 5 minutes. As it uses advanced algorithm, high-speed procession module, it is able to realize the guiding for our fire counterattack when enemy’s shells are still flying in the air.

SLC-2 series of radar have long been exported due to their fine performance and is now one of the only three similar products of high performance on world market.

Part one of summary translation of huanqiu.com’s article “Exclusive丨brilliant display of China’s ‘eyes of three military services’ in world radar expo”, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at https://mil.huanqiu.com/article/42sqk2jWiQq.


PLA 3 Main Battle Warships Commissioned April 24


Chinese Navy’s three trump cards

The commission ceremony was held on April 24 at a certain military port in Sanya, Hainan. The three warships are the Dalian, a Type 055 destroyer, the Hainan, a Type 075 amphibious attack vessel, and the Changzheng 18, a Type 094 ballistic missile nuclear submarine (SSBN). They are expected to serve in the Southern Theater (South Sea Fleet).

The Dalian is the third Type 055 destroyer deployed in Chinese Navy. Type 055 is one of the rare surface warships in the world with displacement exceeding 10,000 tons but is neither a carrier nor an amphibious attack warship.

With displacement 35,000 to 40,000 tons Type 075 is one of the largest amphibious attack warships in the world. According to reports, it can carry 900 troopers and 20 helicopters.

Summary translation of on.cc report, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at https://hk.on.cc/hk/bkn/cnt/cnnews/20210424/mobile/bkn-20210424183736901-0424_00952_001.html.


EU blames China for endangering peace in South China Sea


Yew Tian

April 25, 2021 2:26 PM HKT

The European Union called out China on Saturday for endangering peace in the South China Sea and urged all parties to abide by a 2016 tribunal ruling which rejected most of China’s claim to sovereignty in the sea, but which Beijing has rejected.

The EU last week released a new policy aimed at stepping up its influence in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s rising power.

The Philippines on Friday protested to China over its failure to withdraw what it called as “threatening” boats believed to be manned by maritime militia around the disputed Whitsun Reef, which Manila calls the Julian Felipe Reef.

“Tensions in the South China Sea, including the recent presence of large Chinese vessels at Whitsun Reef, endanger peace and stability in the region,” a EU spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.

EU reiterated its strong opposition to “unilateral actions that could undermine regional stability and international rules-based order”.

It urged all parties to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, and highlighted a 2016 international arbitration that had ruled in favor of the Philippines while invalidating most of China’s claims in the South China Sea.

China rejected EU’s accusation that its ships at Whitsun Reef, which China calls Niu’E Jiao, had endangered peace and security.

The Chinese Mission to the EU in a statement on Saturday reiterated that the reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands, or Spratly Islands, and that it was “reasonable and lawful” for Chinese fishing boats to operate there and shelter from the wind.

The Chinese statement also insisted that China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea were formed in the “long course of history and consistent with international law” and rejected the 2016 tribunal ruling as “null and void”.

“The South China Sea should not become a tool for certain countries to contain and suppress China, much less a wrestling ground for major-power rivalry,” the Chinese statement said.

China is increasingly worried that Europe and other countries are heeding U.S. President Joe Biden’s call for a “coordinated approach” towards China, which had so far materialised in the form of sanctions over its security crackdown in Hong Kong and treatment of Uyghur Muslims.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month said Washington “stands by its ally, the Philippines,” in the face of China’s massing maritime militia at Whitsun Reef.

Source: Reuters “EU blames China for endangering peace in South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The massive, mysterious toxic waste dumps in the Gulf


George Zornick
上午6:36 (2 hours ago)
Deep below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles from the Louisiana coast, lies a toxic waste dump. It’s been there for 50 years, and harbors some horrifying chemicals, like chlorinated hydrocarbons, or CHCs, which pose a risk to human health. It’s just one of many underwater waste dumps, thanks to a long-running 20th century practice of treating the ocean like a landfill. This week, HuffPost reporter Chris D’Angelo published a deep investigation of the Gulf sites: how the waste got there, and what can be done about this “grand chemical battle” between nature and man. He spoke to MustReads about the story. 

How on Earth did all these barrels get down there? 
Well, the fledgling Environmental Protection Agency under President Richard Nixon gave chemical giants permission to dump them there. It’s not just barrels. From 1973 to 1977, companies jettisoned more than 2.5 million tons of industrial chemical waste — both as a liquid directly into the water and in 55-gallon drums — at two separate sites, one off the coast of Texas and the other south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. These are largely contaminants from the production of plastics and pesticides. And that’s just what we know was dumped in the Gulf. Dumping was also happening off our other coasts.  

Does the government know how much waste is there? 
Sort of. It certainly knows what it granted permits to dump, which included 20,000 barrels that were ditched at the site south of the Mississippi River.  But before the EPA was established, offshore dumping of industrial chemicals was rampant. Rather than immediately halting dumping altogether, it set up sites for continued dumping, often in locations that had historically been used for such activity, and gave companies time to find alternative disposal methods.  The EPA told me it is not aware of dumping conditions in the area prior to 1973. What the agency permitted is likely just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s down there. 

What are the potential dangers of having all this waste on the Gulf seafloor? 
Without major scientific research and ongoing monitoring it’s almost impossible to say. If reporting this story made one thing clear, it’s that the federal government and the scientific community as a whole have little understanding of these dumping grounds and the potential lingering effects. The EPA told me it is not monitoring the sites. The chlorinated compounds present the biggest potential risk, as this family of chemicals can persist in the environment and become concentrated in marine organisms, potentially migrating up the food chain.  But again, without a thorough scientific study, we can’t possibly know the extent of the problem.  

How did you come to discover this waste existed? What was this reporting process like?
I’d heard that Charles McCreery, a former employee at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, had presented his research into the sites at a scientific conference in Tampa, Florida last year, and that scientists in the audience left the room stunned. He and I first started talking in the spring, but COVID-19 and the election kept me from really diving into the story until late last year.  This reporting presented an infinite number of rabbit holes, and while all of them were tempting I decided to focus exclusively on the two sites, which have basically been forgotten by everyone except the oil companies now drilling on top of them. My biggest questions going in were, first, do we know the long-term impacts of this dumping activity and, second, are we doing anything about it. The answer to both, unfortunately, appears to be a resounding no.  My hope is that this sparks some interest within the scientific community. As Chris Reddy, a marine scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, told me, the dumped pollutants “span a wide continuum of reactivities, potential for injury, long-term persistence and the possibility of trace amounts of highly potent chemicals of concern.”


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Source: Huffpost “The massive, mysterious toxic waste dumps in the Gulf”

Note: This is Huffpost’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China prepares to launch space station core module


By XinhuaPublished: Apr 23, 2021 07:09 PM   Photo taken on April 23, 2021 shows the combination of the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket after it was transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on April 23, 2021 shows the combination of the core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket after it was transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province.Photo:Xinhua

The combination of the core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket has been transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province on Friday.

The combination will then undergo various pre-launch function tests and joint tests as planned, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

The facilities and equipment at the launch site are in good condition and preparations have been carried out as scheduled, the agency said. Photo taken on April 23, 2021 shows the combination of the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket after it was transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on April 23, 2021 shows the combination of the core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket after it was transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on April 23, 2021 shows the combination of the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket after it was transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on April 23, 2021 shows the combination of the core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, and the Long March-5B Y2 rocket after it was transported to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province.Photo:Xinhua

Source: Global Times “China prepares to launch space station core module”

Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Chinese semiconductor industry is speeding up advanced chip development


By Total Telecom Staff

Thursday 22 April 21

China’s semiconductor industry is growing from strength to strength. The country has accelerated its efforts to advance its semiconductor industry in the wake of increasing geopolitical tensions with the US.

A case in point is China’s newly acquired capability to produce 28-nanometer chip wafers. This is likely to mature this year and is a crucial step in developing competencies for advanced chipmaking technologies. It is a sign that the country is fast developing high-end skills in chip manufacturing.

Production of 28nm chip is not the only instance of the growing capabilities of Chinese chipmakers. Some Chinese companies have shifted its 14nm chipset orders from the market leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC). By the coming year, China is expected to have gained required expertise in the manufacturing of 14nm chips.

Besides, SMIC, a prominent Chinese semiconductors firm emerging as an alternative to global leader TSMC, will run the trial production of 7nm chips this month and is likely to introduce mass production in October.

The geopolitical tensions between the US and China are forcing the latter to develop competencies in this segment. Over the last few years, the country has greatly enhanced its capability in chip manufacturing. The country announced plans last year to invest $1.4 trillion over six years to develop the semiconductor industry till 2025. Its Dual Circulation initiative and strategy to make significant investments in this segment have helped the country reach key milestones.

Understanding the chip shortage

Earlier this year, the world was hit by an unprecedented chip shortage. While the focus has been on the automotive sector, the chip shortage affected several industry segments, including servers, electronics, personal computers, and smartphones.

Semiconductors are the foundation of our modern digital lives. Right from being a part of your smartphone, laptop, to cars, washing machines to medical devices, semiconductors power our lives. Further, all the upcoming technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality need chips to turn the vision into reality.

This surge in demand is partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year as people moved into their houses to maintain social distancing, there was a massive increase in demand for electronic items. The need for semiconductors shot up and is not showing any sign of slowing down. Global semiconductor sales increased by $412.2 billion in 2019 to $439 billion in 2020. The sales for December 2020 were 8.3% more than that of December 2019.

The geopolitical factors are further disrupting the semiconductor supply chains. Traditionally, the semiconductor industry is dominated by the US, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. As per Semiconductor Industry Association, the US had the largest market share with 47% share, followed by Korea at 19%, Japan and European Union at 10% each; Taiwan and China have 6% and 5%, respectively. Most of the production of the chips by the US is done in the country itself.

China is the world’s largest importer and consumer of semiconductors. The country is believed to be buying around 40% of the global semiconductor shipments, with most of it being used in communications and consumer electronics product designs. Now China is targeting to bring down its dependence on imports for its chip requirements.

Fighting sanctions

Even as China continues to grow its semiconductor industry, it faces US-led sanctions that continue to create difficulties for the country and Chinese firms. For instance, SMIC will not be able to use the advanced Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) light technology because of US sanctions to create 7nm chips later this year. It will instead have to do with Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) to manufacture 7nm chips. This is just one instance of how the US sanctions make it challenging for the Chinese semiconductor industry to grow.

The geopolitical factors, particularly US sanctions, led to massive supply chain uncertainties, which forced the firms to stockpile components, disrupting the industry’s supply chain. The supply chain ambiguities are also likely to drive the semiconductor prices, leading to higher cost of electronic devices for end-users. It is also expected to push several countries to develop competencies and self-reliance in semiconductor design and manufacturing.

With our growing dependence on semiconductors the world over, it is in the best interests to address the geopolitical issues for the smooth running of the crucial chip industry. This is especially true during a pandemic when the world is fighting economic and social hardships. The countries need to forgo their differences for the time being to grapple with these extreme uncertainties.

Despite several challenges, the Chinese semiconductor industry is all set to grow in prominence. By acquiring expertise in new areas like the manufacturing of 14nm and 7nm chips, the Chinese industry is well on its way to becoming self-reliant and disrupting the global semiconductor industry.

Source: totaltele.com “Chinese semiconductor industry is speeding up advanced chip development”

Note: This is totaltele.com’s post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.