US wants to ban China from accessing Ultra Violet Extreme lithography

The conflicts between the United States and China do not seem to have an end in sight. Joe Biden’s country recently added 7 more Chinese supercomputing entities to the blacklist.

However, according to the latest information, the United States does want to ban China from accessing EUV lithographs and EDA software.


In the middle of a pandemic where the world is experiencing a sharp shortage of chips, the tension between the two largest world powers remains firm. Even with Donald Trump’s departure, the U.S. continues to apply new sanctions and prohibitions to China.

US wants to ban China from accessing EUV lithography and EDA software

Second recent information, the US already has a plan to tighten its grip on China. The Biden administration aims to tighten restrictions and further condition the development of the Chinese semiconductor industry.

The US’s next goal is to ban China from accessing manufacturing processes using lithography technology EUV (Ultra Ultra Violet) and DUV (Ultra Deep Violet). In addition, they also intend to block access to the EDA (Electronic Design Automation) software, necessary for the chip design.

These decisions will mainly affect the Dutch ASML, which is the only one to supply EUV silicon. The manufacturer’s CEO recently stated that the restrictions on China will have a negative impact on the United States.

EUV – ASML process

In this sense, China has been preparing for some time to develop its own foundries. In 2018 SMIC, China’s largest chip maker, ordered an EUV machine from ASML. But, due to US restrictions, the Dutch government was unable to obtain a license for ASML. Consequently, the machine has not yet reached the hands of the Chinese manufacturer.

Some Republican congressmen were reported to have asked Biden to persuade the Dutch government to stop ASML from selling EUV equipment to SMIC. In addition, an agreement was requested with the allies to also comply with the export restrictions. It was also suggested to apply license fees to limit the sale of technological equipment such as EUV / DUV lithography.

US presses to ban equipment sales to China

The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence recently proposed a policy to ban the export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, such as EUV lithography machines for ArF (Argon Fluorine Laser) photoligraphy, to China. In a previous report, the same North American entity stated that “the US government should work with Japan and the Netherlands to ban the export of this type of equipment to deter China“.

Should the US prohibit the sale of EUV / DUV equipment, this will harm the interests of semiconductor manufacturers around the world, including those in the United States. In addition, the concern of the external semiconductor industry, such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which has factories in China, will increase. The chip shortage will also be even more accentuated.

China is the largest semiconductor equipment market in the world

According to data published on April 14 by the International Semiconductor Industry Association (SEMI), global sales of semiconductor equipment in 2020 increased by 19% compared to 2019. Sales reached a record high of $ 71.2 billion (~ € 60 billion).

In the mainland China market, sales of semiconductor equipment in 2020 grew by 39% over the previous year, totaling $ 18.72 billion (~ € 16 billion). These figures put the country in the first place in the world, followed by Taiwan with 17.150 billion dollars and South Korea with 16.08 billion dollars.

And this is the first time that mainland China has become the largest market for semiconductor equipment in the world.


Source: Pplware by pplware.sapo.pt.

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