The battle for technological supremacy is heating up as the US, and China try to outdo each other. The latest salvo comes on China issuing restrictions on the exports of gallium and germanium. Starting August 1, Chinese companies will have to seek authorization to ship the two compounds by stipulating the importers and how they intend to use them.
China Metal Ban
Gallium is one of the soft silver metals used to produce compound semiconductor wafers for electronic circuits and light-emitting diodes. On the other hand, Germanium is used to manufacture fibre optics to transfer data and information.
The move is part of escalating tensions between Beijing and the USA as the two try to restrict access to crucial metals billed to be part of national security. The ban comes just days before US treasury Janet Yellen visits Beijing in a move that is likely to have little impact in easing tensions between the two nations.
While China insists the new policies do not target specific nations, its timing is highly suspicious. It’s been interpreted as a retaliatory move after the US issuing bans and restrictions on Chinese companies access to some US products and technologies. Part of the measure targets access to semiconductor chips crucial to the next industrial revolution.
US Cloud Computing Ban
Additionally, reports indicate that the Biden administration is planning to curb Chinese companies access to US cloud computing services. The new measure will mostly affect Amazon and Microsoft, some of the big players in providing cloud services. The tech giants will have to seek US government authorization to provide cloud computing services that want to leverage artificial intelligence technologies.
Reports indicate that the Department of Commerce is on course to implement the curbs on cloud computing technologies and services as part of the semiconductor export control policy. The curbs come on Beijing also imposed curbs on the export of gallium and Germanium, commonly used in producing semiconductors.
US Social network Ban
Separately a US Federal Judge has banned some government agencies and top government officials from communicating with social media networks on certain content. The restriction comes from a complaint raised by some GOP states on how the US government used social networks to combat disinformation at the height of COVID-19.
The new order mostly affects the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, government agencies can still communicate with social networks to curb illegal activities or address security threats.