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China tech

Semiconductor tech trends favor China

With miniaturization at a wall, upstarts gain edge in race for faster chips

EUV lithography technology is so difficult and costly to develop that only one lithography machine maker still exists, ASML of the Netherlands. (Photo courtesy of ASML).

TOKYO -- Yukio Sakamoto, a 73-year-old Japanese chipmaking business veteran, last fall took a senior vice president position at Tsinghua Unigroup, a leading Chinese high-tech conglomerate affiliated with the renowned Tsinghua University. His role is to oversee the launching of a DRAM memory-chip manufacturing business.

It looked like a bold decision and perhaps an ill-conceived move considering the U.S.-China technology rivalry was growing nastier. The U.S. continues to throw one punch after another at Chinese semiconductor makers Huawei Technology and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., known as SMIC, making the idea of launching a new chipmaking business in China appear daunting.

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