Exclusive: China readying $143 billion package for its chip firms in face of U.S. curbs
HONG KONG, Dec 13 (Reuters) - China is working on a more than 1 trillion yuan ($143 billion) support package for its semiconductor industry, three sources said, in a major step towards self sufficiency in chips and to counter U.S. moves aimed at slowing its technological advances.
Beijing plans to roll out what will be one of its biggest fiscal incentive packages, allocated over five years, mainly as subsidies and tax credits to bolster semiconductor production and research activities at home, said the sources.
It signals, as analysts have expected, a more direct approach by China in shaping the future of an industry which has become a geopolitical hot button due to soaring demand for chips and which Beijing regards as a cornerstone of its technological might.
It will also likely further raise concerns in the United States and its allies about China's competition in the semiconductor industry, say analysts. Some U.S. lawmakers are already worried about China's chip production capacity build-up.
The plan could be implemented as soon as the first quarter of next year, said two of the sources who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to media.
The majority of the financial assistance would be used to subsidise the purchases of domestic semiconductor equipment by Chinese firms, mainly semiconductor fabrication plants, or fabs, they said.
Such companies would be entitled to a 20% subsidy on the cost of purchases, the three sources said.
The fiscal support plan comes after the U.S. Commerce Department passed in October a sweeping set of regulations, which could bar research labs and commercial data centres' access to advanced AI chips, among other curbs.
The United States has also been lobbying some of its partners, including Japan and the Netherlands, to tighten exports to China of equipment used to make semiconductors.
And U.S. President Joe Biden in August signed a landmark bill to provide $52.7 billion in grants for U.S. semiconductor production and research as well as tax credit for chip plants estimated to be worth $24 billion.
With the incentive package, Beijing aims to step up support for Chinese chip firms to build, expand or modernise domestic facilities for fabrication, assembly, packaging, and research and development, the sources said.
Beijing's latest plan also includes preferential tax policies for the country's semiconductor industry, they said.
China's State Council Information Office did not respond to a request for comment.
Read More at https://www.reuters.com/technology/china-plans-over-143-bln-push-boost-domestic-chips-compete-with-us-sources-2022-12-13/