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.