TSMC halts work of Chinese company

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has suspended production of advanced silicon for Chinese start-up Biren Intelligent Technology Co (壁仞科技) to ensure compliance with US regulations, a person familiar with the matter said.

The decision is linked to reports in the public domain that Biren’s products outperform Nvidia Corp’s A100 chips, which are banned from the Chinese market, the person said, asking not to be identified while discussing a topic. sensitive.

While TSMC hasn’t come to a conclusion on whether Biren’s products meet the U.S. threshold for restrictions, the chipmaker has decided to halt shipments to the Chinese startup for the time being, the company said. nobody.

Photo: Lam Yik Fei, Bloomberg

Biren, one of China’s most promising semiconductor designers, had earlier concluded that its artificial intelligence (AI) chips produced by TSMC were not covered by the latest US export restrictions because specifications of its products did not meet the restriction criteria, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

A representative for TSMC declined to comment further. No one at Biren, based in Shanghai, was immediately available to respond to requests for comment outside of normal business hours.

Biren is seen as a domestic contender to compete with graphics chips from Nvidia, which said it can no longer sell its most advanced AI products in China. The US measures were aimed at limiting China’s development of technologies that could be used to help its military and appeared to exclude access to advanced manufacturing.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which plays a key role in designing and enforcing export controls, announced the semiconductor restrictions on October 7 .

“While the BIS cannot comment on company-specific actions, we expect all companies to comply with export controls,” a Commerce Department spokesperson said in response to a question. earlier about TSMC’s business relationship with Biren. “Since the release of the rule on October 7, BIS has undertaken a vigorous outreach effort to educate affected individuals to assist in compliance efforts.”

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, complies with all applicable regulations and “will continue to serve all customers around the world,” said general manager CC Wei (魏哲家) in response to a question about the China during its earnings call on Oct. 13. .

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