Subvert and profit: Bush greenflags Chinese high tech transfer
This has to be one rather interesting and hilarious development. Apparently, the Bush administration has happily worked around a treaty that was meant to restrict high technology transfers to China and has allowed IBM to transfer some cutting edge technology to the nation.
It seems that the Bush White House has quietly relaxed the restrictions imposed by Wassenaar by saying there are some approved companies, operating in China, which can import technologies without a license.
So far the US has approved five companies to be in this select group, four of which are semiconductor related companies, National Semiconductor’s Chinese facilities, Applied Materials’ Chinese facilities, the Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics Company and SMIC.
The government and the corporations are strange bedfellows in a free market (if there was ever an oxymoron, free market will get the first spot each and every time) and this once again proves that costs are the only benchmark for corporations to follow and eventually all such costs work back into the system via the government.
There is a larger picture to this, that the semiconductor firms are trying desperately to increase margins and cut costs and China is one of the cheaper and more reliable places to put up fabs. And SMIC is one of the largest fabs who basically do white label manufacturing for the other manufacturers like IBM.
To increase their margins, the fabs need to incorporate the latest and greatest technology and agreements like Wassenaar stand in the way of such things being made possible.
For us, in India, this is a welcome development. While we are a long way off from being able to provide the guaranteed infrastructure to support multiple fabs, at some point in the future we should see high technology manufacturing slowly making its way into India and with prior-art like what just happened being already in place, life should only be easier.
Now, only if someone would actually start building that infrastructure.