SK Hynix gets a one-year reprieve from China chip restrictions • The Register

South Korean DRAM and flash memory chip maker SK hynix has been granted a year-long exemption from US Commerce Department restrictions banning the export of advanced chips and equipment to China.

SK Hynix tells The registry An official letter from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) assured the company, its suppliers and business partners that it “remains authorized to conduct activities necessary to support ongoing production of integrated circuits in China for a Year without further eligibility to maintain admission requirements.”

“Our discussions with the Ministry of Commerce resulted in an authorization to supply equipment and items needed for the development and production of DRAM semiconductors in Chinese facilities without additional licensing requirements,” said SK hynix.

The new restrictions, enacted on October 7, require a license for export to China or transfer within China of manufacturing facilities and support for sub-18nm DRAM chips, NAND chips with more than 128 layers or logic chips below 14 nm.

According to reports, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung have reached similar agreements.

Samsung operates two chip manufacturing bases in China. For TSMC, this means the company will continue to ship devices to a manufacturing facility in Nanjing, where it produces the more mature 22/28nm production nodes.

However, the ban means TSMC cannot offer AI processors or advanced graphics to Chinese customers, which remains a very small part of TSMC’s overall business.

Intel said it received an exemption to continue operating NAND memory chips at its factory in Dalian, China, which it sold to SK hynix.

Intel said last December it plans to continue manufacturing NAND wafers at its Dalian facility until it closes in March 2025.

China has condemned the restrictions. Over the weekend, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said the bans will “hinder international scientific and technical exchanges and trade cooperation, and deal a blow to global industrial and supply chains and world economic recovery.”

The registry has asked TSMC, Samsung and Intel for comments. ® SK Hynix gets a one-year reprieve from China chip restrictions • The Register

Rick Schindler

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