Chinese scientists are reportedly in discussions to build large facilities to manufacture AI semiconductor chips using particle accelerators, a move aimed at establishing China as a key player in the global semiconductor industry. The use of particle accelerators will enable the creation of a high-quality light source necessary for on-site production of AI semiconductor chips.
Scientists from Tsinghua University are said to be collaborating with authorities in the Xiongan New Area to identify a suitable location for the proposed chip factory. This initiative is seen by local scientists as a way to potentially circumvent current sanctions imposed by the United States.
The particle accelerators would replace traditional lithography machines in the semiconductor chip production process for advanced AI systems. Currently, a Dutch company named Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography owns the technology for such machines, and the U.S. has restricted its sale to China, similar to limitations placed on Nvidia, a leading AI chip manufacturer.
The reported Chinese mega-factory could house multiple lithography machines, further bolstering the country’s domestic semiconductor production capabilities.
China has previously sought ways to counteract sanctions through domestic efforts, including developing AI systems using alternative semiconductor technologies. Despite these sanctions, Chinese companies have continued to release new AI systems, driven by the country’s strong commitment to AI development.
In contrast, the U.S. has been making efforts to strengthen its position in the AI manufacturing market, forming partnerships and agreements focused on AI chips and technology. Concerns over China’s growing influence in AI development have also led European regulators to consider their stance on export controls and restrictions related to China.