Chinese attention was not steered to chips until the U.S. imposed a ban on U.S. companies selling critical components to Chinese telecom giant ZTE and later sanctions on Huawei. Faced with pressures and a sales ban by the U.S., there are concerns about whether China's weak chip industry will be able to survive this crisis and catch up on advanced chip technology.
From smartphones to super computers, from home appliances to aircraft, and from satellites to missiles and nuclear power, chips are omnipresent. Chip manufacturing is among the most sophisticated technologies in the modern world, which is also a battlefield for global hi-tech competition.
As the world's largest electronic product producer and consumer, China has a huge demand for chips, and chips are where the most sophisticated technologies lie. From emulation, China has gone to innovation, but it is still in an initial stage of development. Faced with sanctions by developed economies, China's chip industry faces the tough question of how to emerge from the dire situation.
China will never let chips become a stumbling block for its information technology development. As some experts have suggested, China's integrated circuit industry needs to develop an industrial chain from designing to manufacturing. But commanding core technologies is even more important.
The problem now is a shortage of chip talent. The competition over chips has been revealed as the competition over human resources. Therefore, the fundamental way to resolve the chip quandary lies in finding reliable personnel. Incentive mechanisms are needed to stabilize the current chip teams and encourage the participation of more. Universities and research institutes should also put more effort into training specialists.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in Outlook Weekly on September 2)