SHANGHAI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - The founder of China's largest
chipmaker SMIC said on Tuesday he was "optimistic" China could
catch up with the United States in the next generation of
semiconductors but that U.S. efforts to contain its technology
sector could not be taken "lightly".
Richard Chang, also the former CEO of Semiconductor
Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), told a
livestream forum that persistent research and development as
well as investment in new raw materials would enable China to
compete, according to an official transcript on Wednesday.
The comments come as Washington and Beijing continue to spar
over Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which has brought new
urgency to China's calls to improve its domestic chip industry.
"I am optimistic and believe we can catch up," Chang said in
a rare appearance at the forum, organized by China Securities.
He said that while China's talent base was a "weakness" in
the short-term, the country had made "great progress" in
manufacturing raw materials and remained a leader in next
generation super-fast 5G technology.
"If China maintains its leadership in 5G technology, it can
remain far ahead in wireless connectivity, artificial
intelligence, and cloud computing, because China already is
strong in high-tech applications," Chang said.
The United States and China have been fighting over the
alleged national risk posed by the products of Chinese tech
giant Huawei for over a year, and relations between the world's
two largest economies has deteriorated since the outbreak of the
Chang said that during his time at SMIC in the early 2000's,
the U.S. Department of Commerce had been generally supportive of
Chinese tech companies, but that now it sees them as its
The U.S. government has cited "national security" as grounds
for its restrictions on Huawei. The firm has denied holding any
ties to the Chinese government.
Chang founded SMIC with funding from China's government in
2000 as a domestic Chinese rival to Taiwan Semiconductor
Manufacturing Corporation. He resigned in 2009.
(Reporting by Josh Horwitz and the Shanghai newsroom; editing
by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)