Today: 14-04-2024

Interrogating Innovation: US Lawmakers Demand Biden's Strategy Regarding China's Utilization of Open Chip Technology

U.S. Lawmakers Seek Biden's Strategy on Curbing China's RISC-V Chip Dominance

San Francisco, Nov 2 (Reuters) — A bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers is pressing the Biden administration for details on its approach to counter China's expanding use of RISC-V chip design technology. This inquiry comes on the heels of a Reuters report last month highlighting growing concerns within Congress about the implications of China's adoption of RISC-V.

RISC-V, pronounced "risk five," is a free open-source technology that competes with proprietary solutions from companies like Arm Holdings and Intel Corp. Its applications range from smartphone chips to advanced processors for artificial intelligence. While U.S. companies such as Qualcomm and Google have embraced RISC-V, Chinese firms have also widely adopted this technology.

In a recent development, at least four influential U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns over the Chinese use of RISC-V, viewing it as a potential national security threat. The concern stems from RISC-V not being subject to the comprehensive export controls imposed on chip technology sent to China.

Now, a more extensive group of 18 lawmakers, including five Democrats, is seeking clarity from the Biden administration on its plans to prevent China from achieving dominance in RISC-V technology. The lawmakers, representing a select committee on China in the House of Representatives, as well as Democratic lawmakers from New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, and Indiana, are urging proactive measures to safeguard U.S. national and economic security.

The group's letter to the Biden administration also raises questions about the potential application of existing executive orders to mandate export licenses for U.S. companies engaging with Chinese counterparts on RISC-V technology. Emphasizing the benefits of open-source collaboration on RISC-V for the U.S. semiconductor industry, the lawmakers stress the importance of contributors aligning their efforts solely with the goal of improving the technology, rather than advancing China's technological and geopolitical interests.

The Commerce Department has acknowledged receipt of the letter, indicating that Secretary Gina Raimondo will respond through appropriate channels. As the issue gains prominence, the Biden administration faces mounting pressure to address the strategic challenges posed by China's growing influence in the realm of RISC-V chip technology.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Jamie Freed

Navigating Geopolitical Currents in Semiconductor Innovation

As the bipartisan chorus of concerns surrounding China's accelerated adoption of RISC-V chip design technology crescendos in the hallowed halls of Congress, the Biden administration finds itself under scrutiny. The latest inquiry from a coalition of lawmakers, representing diverse political perspectives, underscores the urgency of addressing the potential national security implications stemming from China's foray into RISC-V.

The strategic significance of RISC-V, as a free open-source alternative to proprietary technologies, amplifies its allure for both U.S. and Chinese entities. While American tech giants like Qualcomm and Google champion its collaborative potential, the prospect of China leveraging RISC-V without being bound by stringent U.S. export controls raises red flags among policymakers.

The lawmakers' letter not only seeks clarity on the Biden administration's strategy but also hints at a nuanced challenge: how to strike a delicate balance between fostering open-source collaboration and safeguarding national interests. The query about applying existing executive orders to regulate U.S. companies' engagement with Chinese counterparts in RISC-V underscores the complexity of this task.

As Secretary Gina Raimondo navigates these inquiries, the semiconductor industry becomes a focal point in the broader geopolitical landscape. The conclusion drawn is clear: the trajectory of RISC-V's proliferation is a matter of strategic importance, and how the U.S. responds will have lasting implications for its national and economic security. The ball is now in the administration's court, and the world watches with heightened interest as the intricate dance between innovation, collaboration, and safeguarding sovereign interests unfolds.