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Dutch govts ban may 'severely' disrupt global chip market

By MA SI and CHENG YU | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-03-09 21:08

Semiconductor chips are seen on a circuit board of a computer in this illustration picture taken Feb 25, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

Experts: New restrictions on related exports to harm companies' interests

The Dutch government's plan to exert new restrictions on exports of semiconductor technology will further disrupt the global chip industry and harm Dutch companies' interests, experts said.

The comments came after Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher announced the decision in a letter to the Dutch parliament, saying that the restrictions will be introduced before summer.

The Netherlands is home to ASML, a maker of cutting-edge chipmaking equipment. ASML dominates the market for lithography systems, which are multimillion-dollar machines that use powerful lasers to create the minute circuitry of computer chips, a crucial process in making chips.

ASML has been a focus of the US government's attempts to limit China's access to state-of-the-art semiconductor technology, and Washington has been pressuring the Dutch government to adopt stricter chip restrictions on China, said Gu Wenjun, chief analyst of ICwise, a Shanghai-based semiconductor market research company.

ASML said in a statement to China Daily that due to these upcoming regulations, ASML will need to apply for export licenses for shipments of the most advanced immersion deep ultraviolet, or DUV, systems.

"It will take time for these controls to be translated into legislation and take effect," ASML said, adding that the new measures would not impact its 2023 financial guidance.

ASML said it is important to consider that the additional export controls do not pertain to all immersion lithography tools but only to what is called the "most advanced".

The bulk of ASML's DUV sales in China go to relatively less advanced chipmakers and the company has not sold its most advanced extra ultraviolet, or EUV, machines to Chinese customers since 2019 under government restrictions, experts said.

ASML said earlier that it expects sales in China to remain flat at 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2023, implying relative shrinkage as the company expects overall sales to grow by 25 percent.

The investor relations department of Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp said on Thursday that it has not received any notices on the Dutch government's planned new restrictions.

"Stricter chip restrictions are severely disrupting the development cycle of the global semiconductor industry and systematically fragmenting the global semiconductor industrial chains," said Wei Shaojun, president of the integrated circuit design branch of the China Semiconductor Industry Association.

ASML told China Daily earlier that looking into the future, China will continue to play an integral role in driving the development of a highly collaborative global semiconductor industry.

Contact the writers at masi@chinadaily.com.cn

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