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China Stockpiles U.S. Chips as ‘Silicon Curtain’ Descends

  • Companies stockpiling chips amid threat of U.S. tech cut-off
  • China state fund created to invest in semiconductor industry
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Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China is stockpiling U.S. computer chips, a sign that tech companies there are preparing for worsening trade relations that could lead to being cut off from American technology.

Chinese imports of American semiconductors, integrated circuits and the equipment to make them have risen strongly in the past three years, analysis of the latest official data shows, despite overall purchases from the U.S. declining dramatically since 2018 amid the trade war. Imports of chips and related machinery from the U.S. were almost $1.7 billion in August, the most since at least the start of 2017, and were close to that again in October.