Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (Smic) leader of Chinese chips, supplier of companies such as Qualcomm, Broadcom and Texas Instruments and the only reality able to stand up to Taiwanese Tsmc, Intel and Samsung, raises the alarm on the slowdown in demand for smartphones and TV components which, according to co-CEO Zhao Haijun, is forcing a quick review of plans and stocks. But the impact of American neo-protectionism and the Beijing economic crisis is also evident.
The consumer boom is over
In Hong Kong, where it is listed, Smic immediately lost more than 3.1%, the era of the pandemic with the great binge of electronic products seems to have now faded, the economy of Beijing is in crisis, consumer goods mark the I also pass due to the inflationary flare-up while the economy is trying to recover with difficulty from the heavy lockdowns, however the Chinese semiconductor giant is also suffering from the backlash of the American export restrictions. The US wants to bring chip production back home and for this reason they have just given the green light to a specific measure that should contain the technological rise of Beijing, the Chips Act.
The attack by the Trump government
It should also be remembered that Smic was among the Chinese companies most affected by the measures of the era of President Donald Trump, worried about the latent threat of high-tech ones for American security. Smic has had to set the pace in its race to overtake global rivals in terms of innovation and quality. In any case, the company said that in the second quarter, revenues increased 42% to $ 1.9 billion, in line with expectations and recorded a net profit of $ 514.3 million, exceeding the average estimate. of 469.5 million. Chip foundries will operate at high utilization rates over the next two years, due to the rapid increase in the number of local chip makers and the rise in silicon content in home appliances and automobiles. Its move to specialty chips with higher margins, less exposed to the risk of penalties, can offset the soaring depreciation and personnel costs.
Beijing has so far invested over 200 billion dollars to push the industry to develop more advanced semiconductors and this included the agreement between Tsingua Unigroup and Taiwanese Foxconn to create another production plant in China. But the Taiwanese government, in the midst of the Strait crisis (see IlSole24Ore of 11 August), is pushing to blow up the agreement on the basis of potential dangers to national security. The war of the chips, therefore, does not stop even on the front of collaborations between international talents. Tudor Brown, the former president of Arm, the most important hypersophisticated chip design company born from research at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, also with assignments at Lenovo, has resigned after nine years from the board of Smic. Arm was then acquired by Softbank which today would like to list it on Wall Street but which is always struggling with the closure of accounts with Arm China, the Chinese branch that caused so many stomach ache to the government of Boris Johnson.
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