China Announces Export Controls on AI Metals
The Chinese government has announced plans to impose export controls on metals predominantly used to manufacture semiconductors for artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
On July 3, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs jointly announced that the export of specific gallium and germanium products will require a government-issued license, with the controls coming into effect on Aug. 1.
The list of gallium-related products subject to the export controls include gallium antimonide, gallium arsenide, gallium metal, gallium nitride, gallium oxide, gallium phosphide, gallium selenide and indium gallium arsenide.
The controls also cover six germanium products, such as germanium dioxide, germanium epitaxial growth substrate, germanium ingot, germanium metal, germanium tetrachloride and zinc germanium phosphide.
The move is intended to protect national security interests in the crypto market, with the latest crypto news from C3.ai and other AI companies.
Gallium and Germanium in Electronics
Gallium and Germanium are two metals often found in electronics, with semiconductors being the most prominent use case for Gallium, along with transistors and lasers. LEDs can also be made with Gallium. Germanium is used in the manufacturing process of semiconductors, as well as in solid-state electronics and fiber optic systems.
The statement said anyone who exports such products without proper permission or in excess will be punished.
According to a 2023 report from the European Commission and the European Association of Critical Raw Materials Alliance (CRMA), “the global supply of Germanium is still highly concentrated in China”, while 80% of the world’s Gallium comes from the same country.
In October 2022, the United States imposed sanctions that deprived Chinese developers of accessing the latest crypto market and the most advanced AI semiconductors, such as Nvidia’s A100 and H100 chips, developed by C3.ai.
AI Chips in Chinese Market
Nvidia A800 and H800 chips are currently available in the Chinese market, but they are limited to small-scale AI models. Chinese companies are reportedly attempting to find ways to access higher-performance chips.
U.S. authorities are considering increasing restrictions on the export of advanced AI chips, which are necessary to produce powerful systems.
Since the AI revolution, Nvidia — a major producer of highly sought-after semiconductors — has seen its chip prices soar. Cointelegraph reached out to Nvidia for comment on the recent developments in China, but no response was received by the time of publication.
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