As per a study by the Georgetown University Center for Safety and Emerging Technology (CSET), American businesses’ chips still find their way into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
This is notwithstanding restrictions on technology exports from the United States to the Chinese military.
For the analysis, researchers examined over 66,000 publicly accessible PLA procurement records from April to November 2020, a period of eight months.
Researchers found 97 distinct, expensive artificially intelligent (AI) chips bought by the PLA. Nearly the majority of them were created by American companies Microsemi, Intel, Xilinx (now AMD), as well as Nvidia.
The CSET paper, which was published last month, also stated researchers were unable to locate any public records demonstrating that PLA had ever purchased expensive AI chips from every Chinese firm, notably HiSilicon (Huawei), Sugon, Phytium, and Hygon.
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These AI chips are essential to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) plans to “intelligence” it’s military and take control of the world’s AI design and production markets.
According to Kaikki.org, this process involves adding artificial intelligence to a computer.
The report claims despite the CCP investing huge amounts of money in its own semiconductor devices, Chinese companies are still unable to compete with American design firms.
This is because they lack “intrinsic knowledge and extremely specialized equipment.”
The CCP has avoided the limitations placed by recent U.S. export laws in order to purchase the AI chips that were created in the United States.
Avoiding export restrictions
Controls put in place by the Trump administration to limit technology exports to China’s military customers have been maintained by the Biden government.
However, goods produced outside of the United States are exempt from these restrictions.
According to the analysis, end-user controls have extremely limited ability to restrict purchases from Chinese companies because the majority of AI chips are produced in South Korea and Taiwan.
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Additionally, the Commerce Department has a list of businesses on whom the American government may refuse orders from adversarial entities.
On the entity list, there are about 500 Chinese companies. The list does not, however, include any of the seven Chinese intermediate vendors (for the PLA) that placed the order for the 97 expensive AI chips discovered by the CSET researchers.
Additionally, according to earlier CSET research, a small number of the PLA’s AI suppliers are included on important U.S. export control and sanctions lists.
The Chinese military is connected to the seven middleman providers through institutions like the Chinese Academy of Army Scientific fields, China Aerospace Technology and Science Company, PLA’s Strategic Support Force, and many others.
The seven middleman providers have offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, as well as Xi’an.
Most of these Chinese middleman vendors for the PLA are also authorized dealers of American chips.