China Backdoors US Chip Sanctions, Buys Used Banned Equipment

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As the U.S. government is gearing up to put even stricter constraints on the Chinese semiconductor sector, China-based chipmakers are accelerating their purchases of wafer fab equipment (WFE) to ensure the continuous operation of their fabs. However, Chinese companies prefer to keep these transactions under the radar as some violate U.S. sanctions, reports DigiTimes.

Companies like SMIC, HuaHong, Nexchip, and Silan Microelectronics are buying everything they can, including second-hand tools, according to the story that cites anonymous industrial sources. Some of the WFE they procure cannot be shipped to China as this would violate the U.S.-imposed sanctions, which is precisely the reason why parties prefer to keep such purchases low profile.

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