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Monday, January 30, 2023
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US Senate passes bill to counter China in chip production

Bill marks what would be one of the largest public investments in science, technology and manufacturing in decades

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The Senate overwhelmingly approved a $280 billion measure Wednesday to boost US computer chip production in a bid to counter China.

The 64-33 vote sends the legislation to the House of Representatives, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has voiced confidence that there is sufficient support in the chamber to quickly ensure its passage.

The bill marks what would be one of the largest public investments in science, technology and manufacturing in decades and includes billions of dollars for the National Science Foundation and would provide tax breaks to incentivize investments in semiconductor manufacturing.

“This will create good-paying jobs, make microchips in the USA, alleviate clogged supply chains, boost America’s security interests, & lower costs,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the bill’s sponsor, said on Twitter.

The House Rules Committee will next take up the CHIPS and Science Act, and Pelosi said the House would “proudly pass this essential legislation.”

US President Joe Biden is all but certain to pass the legislation once it clears the House, completing one of his top legislative agenda items.

Read more: China to build 7nm chips to surpass US as global leader

According to reports, Chinese semiconductor giant SMIC has been producing 7-nanometer chips since last year. This is the clearest indication yet that China has managed to develop cutting-edge components despite US efforts to limit the country’s domestic silicon production.

This is based on information obtained from the American semiconductor analyst company TechInsights, which recently purchased a cryptocurrency-mining ASIC made by SMIC and discovered that it employs a 7nm manufacturing process after examining the chip’s die.

According to its website, MinerVa is the business that created the ASIC and has been mass-producing the chip since July 2021.

Read more: UK to Review Chinese Chip Factory Deal

According to TechInsights, TSMC’s 7nm process and SMIC’s 7nm process are “near copies” of each other. The company did note that the unique chip was probably just a “stepping stone” on the way to SMIC developing a “genuine 7nm technology” with scaled logic and memory bitcells.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk