Taiwan Bans the Supply of Chips to Russia
June 9, 2022 – Taiwan has imposed a ban on the sale of modern chips to Russia and Belarus, the latest round of sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine. This ban rules out all modern technology, including microcontrollers for most electronic devices.
Taiwan accounts for half of all microchip production critical to the functioning of modern electronics, including mobile smartphones, consumer electronics, automobiles, and even military equipment. Taiwanese chips also account for 92% of the most advanced designs in the electronics industry, producing the smallest and fastest performing chips on the market.
Which Electronics Chips Are Banned?
These new sanctions effectively ban businesses within Russia & Belarus from purchasing Taiwan-made “modern” chips. CPUs with the following specifications are banned:
- Performance speeds of 5 gigaflops or above
- Clock frequency rates above 25 MHz
- An external interconnection with a data transfer rate of 2.5 MB/s or greater
- More than 144 pins
- A basic propagation delay time of fewer than 0.4 nanoseconds
To help contextualize the performance of 5 gigaflops, the Sony PlayStation 2, released in the year 2000, ran at a peak performance of 6.2 gigaflops. Being limited to 5 gigaflop CPUs would restrict computing capability to that of the 1990’s.
Other Items Prohibited For Export to Russia
In addition, Taiwanese businesses are no longer able to sell any chip production-related equipment to either of the companies, including equipment for wafer production, scanners, and scanning electron microscopes.
Other items prohibited for export to Russia and Belarus fall under the categories 3 to 9 of the Wassenaar Arrangement, including electronics, computers, telecommunication equipment, sensors, lasers, navigation and GPS equipment, maritime technology, avionics, jet engines, and more.
MITIGATE SUPPLY CHAIN RISK BY MONITORING CRITICAL SITUATIONS
It is important to maintain a close eye on manufacturers and businesses as they respond to events that may impact the global economy. In particular, we are monitoring businesses and fab sites within or delivering to Russia to help you understand how your business may be affected by these new sanctions.
In this case, we’re following the development of Russia’s chipmaker, Mikron, and their work with MCST, the developer of the Elbrus CPU. However, the fabrication technology of Mikron falls behind that of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). TSMC produces the Elbrus chip using 16 nm fabrication technology, while Mikron uses 90 nm technology, their most advanced node.
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