By Leo @Adobe Stock

ASML’s High-NA-EUV lithography system is the world’s most advanced piece of machinery, costing around $370 million, the size of a double-decker bus, weighs as much as a blue whale, and is built under extreme secrecy. It is single-handedly powering the future of AI, but were restrictions meant to prevent China from replicating the technology implemented too late? Diederik Baazil, Cagan Koc, and Jordan Robertson of Bloomberg report that ASML reassured officials about its ability to disable the machines remotely, but does China have what it needs already? They write:

ASML Holding NV and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. have ways to disable the world’s most sophisticated chipmaking machines in the event that China invades Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials from the US government have privately expressed concerns to both their Dutch and Taiwanese counterparts about what happens if Chinese aggression escalates into an attack on the island responsible for producing the vast majority of the world’s advanced semiconductors, two of the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

ASML reassured officials about its ability to remotely disable the machines when the Dutch government met with the company on the threat, two others said. The Netherlands has run simulations on a possible invasion in order to better assess the risks, they added. […]

The EUV machine has helped turn ASML into Europe’s most valuable tech stock with a market capitalization topping $370 billion — more than double that of its client Intel Corp. […]

Evidence suggests the restrictions may have come too late to stem Chinese advances. Huawei Technologies Co. last year produced a smartphone to rival Apple Inc.’s iPhone using chips made with older ASML printers in combination with tools from two US suppliers, Bloomberg News reported in October after conducting a break-down of the phone. […]

“Nobody can control TSMC by force,” Liu said. “If there is a military invasion you will render TSMC factory non-operable.”

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