US limits chip sales to Russia and China – media

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Restrictions were placed on high-end semiconductors used to power supercomputers and artificial intelligence

Washington has imposed restrictions on the sale of certain high-tech computer chips to Russia and China, a number of US media outlets reported on Thursday, citing two major US chipmakers, Nvidia and AMD.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new limits affect graphics processing unit chips, or GPUs, originally developed for video games but quickly taken up by companies operating supercomputers, and scientists and tech firms that need them for recognizing speech and objects in photographs.

Washington says US chip producers will now require special export licenses to sell these types of chips as, due to their specifications, they can be used by Russia and China for weapons development and intelligence gathering.

Nvidia and AMD acknowledged the new restrictions in statements on Wednesday. While AMD said it’s unlikely that the ban will affect its business, Nvidia warned that it could interfere with the development of its new flagship chip. Both companies’ shares dropped following the news late Wednesday.

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A technician works at the Intel Corporation factory. © Getty Images / Gilles Mingasson / Liaison
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According to New York Times sources, a number of other companies that make chips or design computer software have received requests from the US authorities in recent weeks to stop exporting their high-end technologies to China and Russia.

Beijing has criticized Washington’s decision, with Commerce Ministry spokesperson Shu Jueting saying on Thursday that it affects the rights and interests of Chinese companies, while also jeopardizing the stability of the global industrial and supply chains.

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