Hi-tech war: Biden bans Chinese supercomputers

Seven developers of the Asian giant have been sanctioned, accused of cooperating with the Armed Forces of their country. The super processors are used to produce new generation missiles: The Chinese ones are among the fastest in the world. The US Congress announces a new measure against Beijing.

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Biden administration has placed seven Chinese supercomputer developers on a blacklist because of links with the armed forces of their country.

The US Commerce Department yesterday announced trade retaliation, the first adopted by the Democratic president against China, part of a growing technological conflict between the two powers.

The newly blacklisted entities are Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, the National Supercomputing Center Jinan, the National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, the National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and the National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou.

Unless licensed from the US government, they will not be able to purchase US technology products, including microchips, software and hardware. Unlike the ban on Huawei, the seven Chinese developers will be able to buy chips from other countries, without them incurring US sanctions.

Supercomputers are used for the development of the most modern weapons and security systems, such as next generation nuclear and hypersonic missiles. Chinese super processors are among the best in the world: 214 are included in the list of the fastest 500 (the US has 213); the one developed by the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi is the fourth most powerful.

Washington's goal is to block Beijing's technological advances, just as Xi Jinping aims for national self-sufficiency in the sector. With the “Made in China 2025” plan, the Chinese president wants his country to produce 70% of the microchips needed for hi-tech industries by 2025.

The Biden government sanctions came on the same day that Republicans and Democrats presented a joint bill to Congress to regulate relations with China. Washington lawmakers want to punish the Chinese harder in cases of intellectual property theft and violence against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. It also includes measures to strengthen diplomatic ties with Taiwan.