What is the geopolitical significance of Huawei’s chip that cannot exist, but is there What is the geopolitical significance of Huawei’s chip that cannot exist, but is there

The arrival of the Huawei P60 prom on the smartphone market it is not the next part of the run to secure a profitable share of these high-end gadgets. It also has a geopolitical implications not to be underestimated: the Kirin 9000s, the processor that powers the device, is based upon a 7-nanometre chip, currently considered impossible to manufacture because of the US-imposed restrictions against China on the sale of the necessary machinery by Andrea Monti – Initialli published in Italian on Strategikon – a La Repubblica – Italian Tech blog

In the short term, the availability of the Kirin 9000s has significant implications, as it is instrumental to boost economic competition with Western companies. For instance, thanks to the new chip, now Huawei is ready to challenge Apple’s presence in the Chinese market (one of the most profitable), and perhaps elsewhere.

However, in terms of techno-geopolitics, the relevance of this success has more far-reaching implications. So much so, that the US administration is reported having launched an investigation to find how China succeedednotwhistanding the embargo.

Be that as it may, one fact remains: China has demonstrated to know how, and to be able to, manufacture semiconductors allowing Beijing to go head-to-head with products made in the USA, narrowing the technological gap.

In terms of public communication, China can downplay the perceived effectiveness of Western sanctions and reinforce its image as a country that can compete with anyone at the highest level despite the measures taken by the US in the delicate chess game between the two superpowers.

Moreover, as Megha Shrivastava wrote on The Diplomat: U.S. allies in the semiconductor value chain – South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and the Netherlands, which have been bearing the brunt of U.S. policies with revenue losses from the Chinese market – will find it more and more difficult to collaborate with the United States. In other words, it would be challenging for the US to ask other countries for further restrictions without a quid pro quo.

It is still too early to fully assess the consequences of the Chinese success – for instance, it is not yet clear whether production of this chip can scale up in an economically sustainable way – but Beijing has certainly taken another step towards self-sufficiency in high-tech.

This suggests that successes like the Kirin9000s could also be achieved in the other critical area, that of chips for artificial intelligence. If this were the case, it would increase the polarisation of the clash for control over AI, forcing those countries that lack technological leverage to have to submit to one or the other superpower, and thus to be self-reliant in the role of mere co-players.

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