China made significant improvements in semiconductor manufacturing while legislators in the United States debated a bill to make domestic production more competitive, The New York Times reports.
The House and Senate passed the $280 billion Chips and Science Act with the aim of countering China. This includes over $52 billion for the domestic production of technologies, including semiconductors; $39 billion to "build, expand, or modernize domestic facilities and equipment" used in making semiconductors; $2 billion allocated just for the manufacturing of semiconductors; and $11 billion for research and development.
China, the world's largest producer of semiconductors, increased orders for manufacturing equipment by more than 50% in the last year, according to Bloomberg, and the primary chipmaker in the country managed to create a semiconductor to rival the ones supplied to China and much of the West by Taiwan.
The move comes about seven years after Beijing launched the "Made in China 2025" program, a government policy to make China the leading manufacturer in high-tech industries such as telecommunications, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
"Our Congress is working at political speed," former Google CEO Eric Schmidt told The New York Times. "The Chinese government is working at commercial speed."
A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said after the bill's passing that "no restriction or suppression will hold back" China's progress, according to the Times.
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