United States examining China’s usage of RISC-V chip technological threats

United States examining China's usage of RISC-V chip technological threats
United States examining China's usage of RISC-V chip technological threats

The U.S. Department of Commerce is looking into how China’s open-source RISC-V chip development activities might affect national security, according to a letter sent to US lawmakers.

According to a letter to US senators, the U.S. Department of Commerce is examining the potential effects on national security of China’s efforts in open-source RISC-V chip technology.

Pronounced “risk five,” RISC-V rivals British semiconductor and software design firm Arm Holdings’ (O9Ty.F.) proprietary technology and opens a new tab. It can be an essential component of sophisticated artificial intelligence processors or a smartphone chip.

Major Chinese internet companies like Alibaba Group Holding (9988.HK) are using the technology, which opens up new avenues and has turned into a new front in the strategic rivalry between the United States and China over cutting-edge chip technology.

18 members of Congress, from both houses, questioned the Biden administration in November about its measures to stop China “from achieving dominance in… RISC-V technology and leveraging that dominance at the expense of U.S. national and economic security.”

According to a letter the Commerce Department sent last week to lawmakers, it is “working to review potential risks and assess whether there are appropriate actions under Commerce authorities that could effectively address any potential concerns.”

However, the Commerce Department also stated that it would have to proceed cautiously so as not to hurt American businesses that are involved in global consortiums developing RISC-V technology. Prior restrictions on the transfer of 5G technology to China put American companies participating in international standards bodies at a disadvantage, jeopardizing American leadership in the industry.

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