The urgency of applying a new set of U.S. sanctions against the Chinese semiconductor industry is illustrated by the willingness of some American companies to end their cooperation with Chinese clients this week, at least by KLA, which produces metrological equipment to control the quality of semiconductor products.
The KLA equipment is used at different stages in the manufacture of semiconductor components, and in general the company is part of the three world leaders on which almost all chip manufacturers on our planet depend. Lam Research and Applied Materials are two other American companies, without which no lithographic production is needed. According to Reuters, since KLA's Wednesday, it will no longer supply a certain range of Chinese clients' own products, with restrictions extending to Korean SK hynix companies located in China, including those purchased some time ago from Intel.
For KLA, the Chinese market is the largest market, valued at $2.66 billion and corresponding to about 30 per cent of the total revenue from the previous fiscal year. To continue to supply China with its products, KLA will have to request a special export licence from the US Department of Commerce, which may be denied in some cases. New restrictions prevent US suppliers from supplying Chinese customers with equipment suitable for the production of an 18-nm memory chip and a more progressive, hard memory chip with 128 or more layers, as well as a logic chip with 16 nm and "tosh" standards, in conjunction with the spatial structure of transistors. KLA applications may take up to two months from US officials. SK Hynix intends to obtain all the necessary U.S. export licences to continue its operations in China.