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China's Pursuit of Semiconductor Independence

戰略與國際研究中心:中國對半導體獨立的追求



【譯者注:戰略與國際研究中心,是美國具有保守色彩的重要戰略和政策研究機構,素有“強硬路線者之家”和“冷戰思想庫”之稱,于1962年成立,是現在美國國內規模最大的國際問題研究機構,是對共和黨政府具有重大影響力的智庫之一。】

While China has made immense investments in science and technology, and while these are producing results, it is still dependent on Western technology. This is particularly true for semiconductors. China’s dependence on foreign semiconductors has worried Beijing for decades. China suspects that Western semiconductors contain “backdoors,” intentional vulnerabilities that can be exploited for intelligence and military purposes. In 2016, President Xi Jinping said, “the fact that core technology is controlled by others is our greatest hidden danger.” Vice Premier Ma Kai said at the 2018 National People’s Congress, “We cannot be reliant on foreign chips.”1 China intends to end this dependence, but despite 40 years of investment and espionage, it is unable to make advanced semiconductors. Along the way, there have been embarrassing frauds and expensive failures.

雖然中國在科學和技術上進行了巨大的投資,而且這些投資正在產生成果,但中國仍然于依賴西方的技術。半導體尤其如此。數十年來,中國對外國半導體的依賴一直令北京方面擔憂。中國懷疑西方半導體存在“后門”,可以被西方用于情報和軍事目的。2016年,中國主席表示:“核心技術被他人控制是我們最大的隱患。”國務院副總理在2018年全國人民代表大會上表示:“我們不能依賴外國芯片。”中國打算結束這種依賴,但盡管中國進行了40年的投資和間諜活動,卻無法制造先進的半導體。在此過程中,出現了令人尷尬的欺騙和代價高昂的失敗。



Today, only 16 percent of the semiconductors used in China are produced in-country, and only half of these are made by Chinese firms. It is dependent on foreign suppliers for advanced chips. China aims to produce 40 percent of the semiconductors it uses by 2020 and 70 percent by 2025.

如今,中國使用的半導體只有16%是在國內生產的,而其中只有一半是由中國公司生產的。它的先進芯片依賴于外國供應商。中國的目標是到2020年生產40%的半導體,到2025年生產70%。

“China 2025” has become a catchphrase for China’s aggressive industrial policy and something of a hobgoblin for policy-makers, but we should not take yet another report by Chinese planners too seriously. China routinely cranks out economic plans; what counts is not the plan but the money. The total planned investment in semiconductors is $118 billion over five years, including $60 billion from provincial and municipal governments (although government investments in China can suffer from politicization and corruption). For comparison, leading Western firms also invest billions annually in research and development (R&D). Intel invests over $13 billion while Samsung and Qualcomm invested over $3 billion each. Huawei spends about $15 billion and ZTE about $1.9 billion.

“中國制造2025”已經成為中國激進產業政策的標語,對政策制定者來說,它就像一個可怕的東西,但我們不應該對中國規劃者的報告過于嚴肅。中國經常制定經濟計劃; 重要的不是計劃而是錢。未來五年半導體投資計劃總額為1180億美元。相比之下,領先的西方公司每年也在研發上投入數十億美元。英特爾投資超過130億美元,三星和高通各投資超過30億美元。華為和中興分別斥資約150億美元和19億美元。



The long-standing debate about whether China could become an innovation power appears to be over (with two significant caveats). The first is that successful Chinese innovation is still limited by the country’s relative technological backwardness. The second caveat is that Chinese innovation blossomed in a period of relative political openness. Now that openness is shrinking under Xi Jinping and has been accompanied by greater state economic direction, it is possible that the trend of increasing Chinese innovation will slow or reverse.

關于中國能否成為創新大國的長期爭論似乎已經結束。首先,中國的成功創新仍然受到技術相對落后的限制。第二,中國的創新是在相對政治開放的時期蓬勃發展起來的。如今,在中國主席的領導下,中國的開放程度正在縮小,同時國家經濟也在朝著更大的方向發展,中國創新增長的趨勢可能會放緩或逆轉。

Both China and the United States have advantages and disadvantages in what is a contest over governance as well as investment and research. The multinational nature of research and innovation complicates any national competition for technological leadership and will create forces that both states will find difficult to control. A globally-oriented U.S. industry may have an advantage over a nationally-focused China.

中美兩國在治理、投資和研究方面的競爭各有利弊。研究和創新的跨國性質使任何國家爭奪技術領先地位的競爭復雜化,而且會產生兩國都難以控制的力量。以全球為導向的美國產業可能比以全國為中心的中國產業更有優勢。

China’s technology sector has vulnerabilities. Centrally-directed economies are less efficient, since government policy supplants market signals on where to invest. Easy access to credit allows inefficient firms to survive, draining resources from more productive activities. Previous rounds of semiconductor investment in China saw new firms (often funded by provincial or municipal governments) close after a few years.

中國的技術領域存在漏洞。中央主導型經濟的效率較低,因為政策取代了市場對投資方向的指示。容易獲得信貸使效率低下的公司得以生存,從而擠占了更有生產效率的企業的資源。在中國之前的幾輪半導體投資中,新公司(中國出資)幾年后就倒閉了。



Nineteenth century Chinese reformers asked whether it was possible to absorb Western technology without also absorbing Western political ideas. At the risk of tremendous oversimplification, the answer was ultimately no. China’s Communist Party faces a similar problem, but with greatly enhanced tools of social control and surveillance, it expects to avoid a similar fate.

19世紀,中國的改革家們提出了這樣一個問題:在吸收西方技術的同時,是否可能不吸收西方的政治思想?冒著極度簡單化的風險,最終答案是否定的。

Semiconductors and microelectronics are part of interdependent manufacturing network centered on the Pacific Rim. Disentangling this integrated supply chain, created under more favorable political conditions, will be difficult for the United States, since many U.S. chip companies either have facilities in China or rely on Chinese companies for lower level functions like testing. Interdependence will also hamper China’s efforts to build a national industry, since competitive advantage lies with the internationally distributed supply chains.

在環太平洋地區,半導體和微電子是相互依賴的制造網絡的一部分。由于許多美國芯片公司要么在中國擁有設備,要么依靠中國公司來完成測試等較低級別的功能,這條綜合供應鏈是在更為有利的政治環境下建立起來的,因此,對美國來說,想要分開它是很困難的。這種相互依賴也將阻礙中國構建民族產業的努力,因為競爭優勢在于國際分布的供應鏈。



This report is part of the CSIS China Innovation Policy Series (CIPS) made possible by general support from Japan External Trade Organization, Semiconductor Industry Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, General Electric Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

本報告是戰略與國際研究中心討論中國創新政策系列的一部分,由日本對外貿易組織、半導體工業協會、美國商會、微軟、通用電氣基金會和史密斯理查森基金會共同支持。