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The latest impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine came yesterday when according to a Russian publication, China decided to ban all exports of its indigenous processors to Russia. This alleged decision comes after U.S. chip companies, including Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (AMD), Intel Corporation and NVIDIA Corporation, halted their sales in Russia after American sanctions against the country. The Ukraine invasion has seen Russia struggle to meet its semiconductor requirements. Still, officials interviewed by the publication responsible for today's report downplayed the Chinese decision stating that projects that plan to use the processors are yet to start.
China's Loongson Processors Deemed Suitable For Russian Needs - Still Remain Inferior To American Products
In the immediate aftermath of the invasion this year, the U.S. government responded to Russia's aggression in the form of strong sanctions that prevented the flow of technology to the country if the products were to be used by either the Russian government, its military or any entities associated with the two. These sanctions were followed by numerous others later on, which targeted the Chinese semiconductor industry. These included blanket measures that will prevent employees of American companies and those with U.S. citizenship from working in China, as they aim to prevent the use of artificial intelligence by the Chinese military to counter American national interests.
Now, it looks like China has joined the U.S. in limiting the technology products that can make their way inside the Russian border. According to a single report from the Kommersant, the Chinese government has decided to stop the supply of locally manufactured Loongson chips to Russia. These chips are among the most advanced that are currently produced in China,
These chips are built by China's Loongson Technology Corporation Ltd., a firm that is headquartered in Beijing and has been designing products since 2001. Loongson, like other Chinese companies, is severely restricted when it comes to semiconductor fabrication. China lags behind the world in terms of the latest manufacturing technologies, and its largest chip manufacturing company, the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) does not have the tools to move beyond the 7-nanometer process node.
Loongson's latest products are built with a 12-nanometer mode, confirming that it remains three generations behind both Intel and AMD. Additionally, the Chinese firm has made waves through its upcoming products, the 6000 series chips. According to some benchmarks, these can match AMD's Zen 3 products in performance terms. The Zen 3 lineup debuted in 2020, and since then, AMD has moved forward to Zen 4, which it announced in November 2021.
As far as the Chinese ban goes, it also includes other countries and aims at preventing products that are used in Chinese military infrastructure from being used in other countries as well. Kommersant also reports that the Loongson products have been tested in Russia and have met the requirements. However, most prefer using Intel products since they are available in vast quantities all over the globe. The publication also reported that motherboards with the Loongson chips are still available for order inside Russia.