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    China Plays Reverse Uno Card: Bans Intel, AMD Processors in Government Computers

    China’s Tech War Escalates: Government Bans Intel, AMD Processors and Microsoft Windows

    In a significant escalation of the ongoing tech trade war between China and the United States, the Chinese government has recently implemented new guidelines that prohibit the use of US-made processors from tech giants AMD and Intel in government computers and servers. The ban also extends to Microsoft Windows and foreign database products, signaling a clear shift towards domestic solutions and a growing desire for technological self-reliance.

    Under the new rules, government agencies are now required to use “safe and reliable” domestic alternatives to AMD and Intel chips. The list of approved processors includes 18 options, notably featuring chips from Huawei and state-backed company Phytium – both of which are currently banned in the US. This move not only underscores the increasing tensions between the two economic superpowers but also highlights the complex web of interdependence that characterizes the global tech industry.

    The impact of these new regulations on Intel and AMD could be substantial, given that China accounted for a significant portion of their revenue last year. According to the Financial Times, China represented 27 percent of Intel’s $54 billion in sales and 15 percent of AMD’s $23 billion revenue in the previous year. However, the exact proportion of chips used in the government sector compared to the private sector remains unclear, making it difficult to assess the full extent of the potential losses for the US chipmakers.

    This latest development marks China’s most aggressive move yet in its efforts to restrict the use of US-built technology. In the past year, Beijing had already prohibited domestic firms from using Micron chips in critical infrastructure projects. These actions can be seen as a response to the US government’s own measures, which have banned a wide range of Chinese companies, from chip manufacturers to aerospace firms, from accessing American technology. The Biden administration has also taken steps to block US companies like NVIDIA from selling AI and other advanced chips to China, further fueling the tensions between the two nations.

    As the tech trade war continues to escalate, it is becoming increasingly apparent that both countries are seeking to reduce their reliance on each other’s technology. For China, this means a renewed focus on developing its own domestic capabilities in the semiconductor industry. Chinese companies, including tech giants like Baidu, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo, have already begun designing their own semiconductors in anticipation of a future where they may no longer be able to import chips from the US and other countries.

    The US, Japan, and the Netherlands, which have traditionally dominated the manufacturing of cutting-edge processors, have recently agreed to tighten export controls on lithography machines from ASL, Nikon, and Tokyo Electron. This move is intended to limit China’s access to the advanced technology needed to produce high-end chips, further underscoring the growing tensions and the increasing fragmentation of the global tech industry.

    As the world watches the unfolding tech trade war between China and the US, it is clear that the stakes are high. The decisions made by both governments will not only have significant implications for the tech companies involved but also for the broader global economy. As the two superpowers continue to vie for technological supremacy, it remains to be seen how this conflict will shape the future of the tech industry and the geopolitical landscape as a whole.

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    Ajinkya Nair

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