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SK Hynix caught in semiconductor standoff between U.S. and China

NZXT N7 B550
NZXT N7 B550 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The U.S. and China continue to trade barbs and anger each other over various semiconductor industry activities.
  • The latest situation to transpire from this mutual animosity is the uncertain position SK Hynix finds itself in.
  • SK Hynix wants to upgrade a Chinese production facility for its products, but the U.S. is demanding the technology for said upgrades stay out of China.

A production facility in Wuxi, China, has been targeted by SK Hynix to receive ASML's extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) chipmaking tech. However, the U.S. doesn't want that technology entering China's borders, wherein the Chinese government could seize the machines in question or otherwise acquire them for military applications.

SK Hynix, meanwhile, simply wants to maintain and enhance its DRAM chipmaking efforts so it can stay ahead of rivals such as Micron and Samsung. Unlike SK Hynix, Micron and Samsung have the benefit of shifting to EUV tech without having to worry about export restrictions due to reliance on factory locations not caught in the heat of the U.S.-China scuffle.

For context, the SK Hynix situation comes after a successful Trump administration effort to ensure the Netherlands did not sell ASML technology to China's SMIC. ASML said it will comply with any export laws but did note that the current feud could ultimately hurt chip supplies as the global semiconductor shortage rages on. For its part, the Biden administration is reportedly keen on maintaining the status quo of not aiding China's tech efforts.

The SK Hynix news and associated details originate from Reuters coverage outlining the latest company to be caught in an unsavory position between the U.S. and China. The U.S. has long held sanctions against Chinese tech companies and attempted to stymie the rival nation's technology efforts.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

3 Comments
  • The Koreans announced the construction of a new plant in Georgia. I think it will build the silicon crystals and then fabricate them into wafers. No reason they could not build a new plant in the US to make to house the EUV machines to fabricate chips.
  • Building a new fab is orders of magnitude more expensive than upgrading an existing facility. So, yeah SK Hynix is really stuck in limbo. The old fashioned notion of “national security advantage” benefits no one. It only fuels animosity, cold war era mentality and the military industrial complex on both sides. Thus only a handful of individuals benefit at the cost of many.
  • "old fashioned notion" LOL