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China's lithography imports from the Netherlands rise 1050%

China appears to be evading at least some of the US sanctions on semiconductor component imports. It's just confirmed a 10x rise in the value of kit bought from Dutch companies.

In November 2023, Chinese customs authorities reported a 1050% surge in the import value of lithography equipment from the Netherlands, according to the South China Morning Post. The publication suggests that the Netherlands has managed to remain a viable channel for ordering advanced equipment for China despite the restrictions imposed by the US.

The data revealed that China imported 16 lithography equipment units from the Netherlands, valued at USD 762.7 million, in the month. This represented a tenfold year-on-year increase.

Lithography – using light to print tiny patterns on silicon – is a fundamental step in mass producing microchips. And it's an area that, despite many years of effort, China still lags significantly. The US Department of Commerce wants to keep it that way, which is why it expanded its export controls in November to include immersion Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) lithography equipment.

However, the leading Dutch supplier ASML believes most of its Chinese customers are still accessible because they are involved in mature or traditional 28nm semiconductor manufacturing, both of which are exempt. Also, ASML has a lead time of approximately 18 months so it will take more than a year for any impact to be seen.

 

 

 


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May 14 2024 7:33 am V22.4.46-2
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