U.S. is reportedly weighing further limits on China’s access to AI chip tech

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the United States is considering imposing additional restrictions on China’s access to AI chip technology. According to sources familiar with the matter, the Biden administration is contemplating measures that would specifically target advanced chip architecture called gate all-around (GAA). GAA refers to a novel transistor architecture that has the potential to improve performance and reduce power consumption.
Samsung Electronics, based in South Korea, has already commenced production of 3-nanometer chips utilizing GAA technology. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is reportedly planning to incorporate GAA in its upcoming 2-nanometer chips.

In Wednesday morning trading in Asia, shares of TSMC rose by 1.6% and Samsung Electronics saw a 0.4% increase.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, the U.S. is currently in the process of determining the extent of a potential rule, and it is unclear when this process will be concluded. The report suggests that the U.S. measures aim to make it more challenging for China to assemble advanced computing systems necessary for building and operating AI models.

CNBC reached out to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees export controls, but they have not yet provided a comment.
Starting in October 2022, the United States implemented a series of export controls with the aim of restricting China’s access to advanced chip technology, specifically those used in AI applications. These export curbs were further tightened in October of the following year, targeting the shipment of more advanced chips from companies like Nvidia to China.

According to Bloomberg, a draft version of the potential restrictions on gate-all-around (GAA) technology was considered “overly broad.” It remains uncertain whether this measure is intended to hinder China’s GAA development or prevent foreign companies from selling to China.

In an effort to enhance its “self-reliance in science and technology,” China invested 344 billion Chinese yuan ($47.5 billion) into a third semiconductor fund in May. This move comes as countries such as the United States and the Netherlands aim to restrict China’s technological influence.

Earlier this year, the Dutch government prohibited chip equipment manufacturer ASML from exporting certain tools to China.