Recap: The United States government’s latest restrictions against China’s semiconductor industry are unlikely to impact as many US nationals working in the country as first feared. There have already been reports of Chinese Americans leaving the industry or being forced to give up their US citizenship if they want to remain.
The US sanctions introduced in October restricts shipments of American-made electronics or other items that China could use to create chipmaking tools or equipment. It also prevents non-Chinese companies in other countries from using American equipment to service Chinese customers unless granted a license by the US.
The restrictions also require US citizens to seek permission from the Department of Commerce before providing support to Chinese fabs.
Chinese memory chip giant Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp responded to the sanctions by asking employees who are US citizens and green card holders to leave the company. Other Chinese chip firms are said to be taking similar actions.
But as pointed out by The Register, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security posted a document last week explaining that the US is not preventing its citizens from working across the entirety of China’s semiconductor industry.
The restrictions do apply to Americans who authorize or conduct the shipment of equipment used to make advanced semiconductors for chip manufacturing plants—they will need to secure a license first. A license is also required by those who service this equipment in Chinese fabs. However, the rules do not apply to American workers performing administrative or clerical duties.
The Reg notes that Americans are defined as individuals who carry either a US passport or a visa that allows them to reside in the US.
TSMC has already warned of the “serious challenges” being placed on the semiconductor industry due to the US sanctions against China. The Taiwanese firm has been granted a one-year license by the US to continue ordering American chipmaking equipment that will allow it to expand in China.
It seems the restrictions are having their desired effect. China saw its largest-ever monthly drop in the production of integrated circuits in August.