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China moves ahead advanced tech R&D in chips, manufacturing

China is rapidly evolving its technological know-how in a wide range of areas from semiconductors to software that powers advanced manufacturing.

Fueling the move is the country's practical needs of home-grown components for sophisticated machinery that helps to turn the biggest manufacturer in the world into one of the strongest.

The government has pledged to step up efforts to make breakthroughs in bottleneck technologies that hinder the growth of sectors including semiconductors and engines for giant vessels and aircraft.

The investment in basic research is expected to increase to eight percent of the country's total research and development (R&D) investment during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

Earlier this year, Chinese chip firm Loongson Technology unveiled its first fully self-developed chip design architecture, a major step as China grows its own chip industry. The architecture, known as LoongArch, is a new add to global chip design sector that mainly uses Intel's x86 and ARM Holding's eponymous architecture to design central processing units (CPU).

China also witnessed another major breakthrough as homegrown chipmaker Shanghai Tianshu Zhixin Semiconductor Co. launched self-developed seven-nanometer general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) chip, an overall faster, high-performance processor that combines CPU and GPU processing power, cracking a bigger chance for domestic companies to finally manufacture its own chipset in the future.

The country is also steaming ahead in advanced manufacturing sector. There are more than 700 smart factories operating across China as a result of an increasing number of technology breakthroughs, Xin Guobin, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), told an industry event in November. The country is also working on creating a number of clusters for advanced manufacturing, pushing the adoption of industrial internet and digitalization, according to Xin.


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