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US chip startup exploits trade war to expand in China

SiFive bets open-source chips will win over Chinese clients looking to avoid US clampdown

SiFive, a San Mateo, California-based startup, is looking to challenge ARM's dominance in the chip market with RISC-V technology. (Photo courtesy of SiFive) 

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- American chip startup SiFive sees an opportunity to gain ground in China amid the intensifying trade war by offering an open-source alternative for chip design that could help reduce the country's reliance on Western technology.

The California-based company provides design services for chips, such as those used in mobile devices and storage centers, based on the RISC-V chip architecture. Because RISC-V is open source -- meaning anyone in the world can access it freely -- Chinese companies increasingly see it as a potential alternative to global chip leaders Intel and Arm Technologies for powering their devices.

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