China bans Intel and AMD processors in government computers

China has introduced guidelines that bar the the use of US processors from AMD and Intel in government computers and servers, The Financial Times has reported. The new rules also block Microsoft Windows and foreign database products in favor of domestic solutions, marking the latest move in a long-running tech trade war between the two countries.

Government agencies must now use “safe and reliable” domestic replacements for AMD and Intel chips. The list includes 18 approved processors, including chips from Huawei and the state-backed company Phytium — both of which are banned in the US.

The new rules — introduced in December and quietly implemented recently — could have a significant impact on Intel and AMD. China accounted for 27 percent of Intel’s $54 billion in sales last year and 15 percent of AMD’s revenue of $23 billion, according to the FT. It’s not clear how many chips are used in government versus the private sector, however.

The moves are China’s most aggressive yet to restrict the use of US-built technology. Last year, Beijing prohibited domestic firms from using Micron chips in critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, the US has banned a wide range of Chinese companies ranging from chip manufacturers to aerospace firms. The Biden administration has also blocked US companies like NVIDIA from selling AI and other chips to China.

The US, Japan and the Netherlands have dominated the manufacturing of cutting-edge processors, and those nations recently agreed to tighten export controls on lithography machines from ASL, Nikon and Tokyo Electron. However, Chinese companies, including Baidu, Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo have already started designing their own semiconductors to prepare for a future wherein they could longer import chips from the US and other countries.

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