If Russia Can’t Have Chips No One Will? Russian Inputs Are Critical to Global Semiconductors Supply Chain

"Such steps will leave almost the entire world without microelectronics."

Machine translated from Russian.

The world’s largest manufacturers of computer processors and semiconductors announced their accession to sanctions against Russia. Processors for user PCs, servers and data storage systems will not be supplied to our country. Loud words inspire pessimism in the average person. In practice, such steps will leave almost the entire world without microelectronics.

Sine qua non

Talking about sanctions against Russian microelectronics is impossible outside of talking about global microelectronics. Threats to stop deliveries to Russia amd and Intel, as well as stopping the production of Russian “Baikals” and “Elbrus” at the Taiwanese plant TSMC look like an information attack. The reality of the implementation of these plans in the conditions prevailing in the modern microprocessor industry is close to zero.

The fact is that our country today accounts for 80 percent of the market of sapphire substrates – thin plates made of artificial stone, which are used in opto- and microelectronics to build up layers of various materials, for example, silicon. They are used in every processor in the world – AMD and Intel are no exception.

Our position is even stronger in the special chemistry of etching chips using ultra-pure components. Russia accounts for 100 percent of the world’s supply of various rare earths used for these purposes.

The ban on finished products for Russia will result in a retaliatory ban on the supply of production components and will cause an acute shortage of processors for the whole world. Compared to him, the situation with supply disruptions at the end of 2021 will seem relatively easy.

It is necessary to perceive such statements only as part of the information war – propaganda rarely takes into account the integration processes of the global economy.

Russia’s integration into the global IT industry began in the heyday of the USSR, in the 1970s. It will not be possible to dramatically replace us with a resource of alternative locations for the production of substrates, and it will not be possible to replace rare earths from Russia in any way.

There are objective reasons for this. To ensure the necessary quality of sapphire substrates, the plant needs to enter the so-called “especially clean mode”. It involves about thirty years of continuous production in compliance with all the subtleties of the technological process.

 In addition, it is possible to develop such plants only in conditions of almost zero seismic activity. The slightest fluctuation of the earth’s crust (1-2 points) will lead to the fact that absolutely all production will need to be restarted from scratch.

That is why the products of similar enterprises in California or in the same Taiwan – and these are seismically active zones – in terms of quality and volume are noticeably inferior to the level required in the industry.

Road to the East

But let’s assume that the side imposing sanctions still has a trump card up its sleeve, and the threat of disconnection from supplies from Russia is calculated. In this case, the scenario “for every firefighter” should be in our country. And we have it.

It is known that in the last few months before 2022, extensive consultations were held on the possible exclusion of the Taiwanese TSMC plant from domestic production chains. This is the industry’s leading production with revenues of about $ 48 billion and with well-established 7- and 5-nm technological processes and the production of chips according to the standards of 3 and 2 nm.

TSMC has approximately 54 percent of the global market, the second closest pursuer (Samsung) has 17 percent. The rest of the volume is distributed between GlobalFoundries, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), UMC and other niche, although quite large in these niches, players.

So, the most obvious option, taking into account the specifics of the moment for Russia, is mainland China, where SMIC operates, and the production of its own equipment for the production of processors is developing at the AMEC factory, whose equipment allows processing 300-mm silicon substrates used for a wide range of technological processes from 65 nm to 5 nm. So far, the volume of finished products is significantly inferior to the resources of TSMC, but it is a matter of time.

Such a way can not be called simple: the transition to the AMEC enterprise will require a set of works on adaptation to the realities of a particular factory, changes in templates, documentation, etc. However, this is not a radical change in the entire existing process, and when the plan is activated, it will take a year and a half.

Taiwan Question and Chinese Response

However, you can “cut” the path and get access to the established production processes of TSMC. To do this, China must resolve the Taiwan issue..

Beijing has never recognized the island’s independence. The desire to reunite with the lost territory does not stop him from the presence of an American military base in Taiwan. However, in the event of attempts to seize the island, the Taiwanese military is obliged to destroy TSMC with a missile strike. With the implementation of this plan, the global chip industry comes to an end: Intel and Samsung remain to cover the needs for processors in the local US market.

China has been preparing for a solution to the Taiwan issue for a long time, and the military scenario is far from the only one. Loyal political forces were nurtured on the island, a business focused on the PRC developed – the economy of Taiwan since the early 2000s has seriously reoriented itself with an eye to the market of the elder mainland brother. China can implement reunification within the framework of the concept of “one language – one people”, taking into account the mass of kinship ties between the two regions. It is quite possible to carry out such integration from the point of view of ideology and propaganda.

Other regions

In addition to China, India has the status of a partner with huge potential in IT in general and microelectronics in particular.

After the termination of the colonial model of cooperation with the British, India quickly began to grow and for some time actively moved towards the USSR. This made it possible to create a serious education system in this country, which absorbed all the best from the British and Soviet systems.

The country is interested in entering the global market as an independent player or partner of one of the leading players, and it has all the necessary basic elements, especially human resources, for this. It is enough to pay attention to the number of Indians in top management in IT giants and start-ups, including in the field of microelectronics. The synergy of cooperation with Russia in this area seems very promising.

In general, India’s agenda today can be interpreted as a demonstration of the fundamental possibility of getting out of unequal financial relations with global leaders within the framework of the Western model of development. Under these conditions, the alliance with Russia can be not only quite real, but also very productive.

The Third Way: Own Unique Process Technology

In addition to purely geographical solutions to the problem, there is also a way to create a completely new technological approach to the production of semiconductors.

It consists in abandoning the use of silicon and replacing it with gallium arsenide. This is a semiconductor material from the class of compounds AIII BV – a dark gray crystal, which is actively used in infrared optics, as well as in opto- and microelectronics. The fundamental difference from silicon is the ability to build three-dimensional chip architectures instead of two-dimensional printing of wafers, which allows you to implement a different approach to creating processors.

The team developing the project was originally going to launch a startup in the UK. But nothing happened because of the pressure of Intel and AMD, which did not need such competition at the level of an alternative process technology. Upon returning to Russia in 2016, it was possible to find a use for the developments. The production of such solutions is established today in Perm for the needs of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. However, the technology has all the possibilities for use in civilian tasks.

The advantage of such a development scenario is that there are simply no analogues to this production in the world. This is its own market: “blue ocean”, multiplied by “green field”. The only question is state support and political will.

Research in the direction of the civilian potential of gallium arsenide is conducted quite intensively. Of course, there is no need to wait for an instant result. But such a path can become an element of a combined approach to solving the problem: traditional silicon solutions based on a two-dimensional process technology based on cooperation with China plus know-how on gallium arsenide.

Source: Global Affairs


I wrote to the Asianometry guy on YouTube who is a huge egghead on semiconductors asking if there is truth to these Russian claims and this was his reply:

“Sapphire substrates and silicon on sapphire technologies exist but so far as I know it’s a science project that has little commercial value.

Without knowing what the various rare earths the article mentions it’s not possible to do a video on it.

In general I found this article to be more wishful thinking than actual strategy. “

  1. guest says

    How does the joke go ? “the fastest chip in the largest micro processor ?”

    So, somehow, the people who invented and developed the micro processor and the whole entire computer industry —without any help from the Soviet Union— are now not able to produce the same and not able to invent anything new without the help and co-operation of Mother Russia.

    Only if one subscribes to the Globalist Affairs’ impossibility theory and computer model.

    1. Drapetomaniac says

      For an alternate scenario, suppose the US was nearly leveled during WW2 and the Soviet Union was unscathed and neted hundreds of billions in profits from the war.

      There is a past and it has profound effects on the future. Try incorporating that in your thinking.

    2. Ultrafart the Brave says

      So, somehow, the people who invented and developed the micro processor and the whole entire computer industry —without any help from the Soviet Union— are now not able to produce the same and not able to invent anything new without the help and co-operation of Mother Russia.

      It’s true, the grand American experiment in free enterprise and creativity produced some marvellous innovations for the world. That’s a fact of history, albeit a relatively short-lived one as things seem to be turning out.

      There are also competing narratives that help to clarify the peculiar prominence of the USA in the technological fields during the 20th century. Some of them good and some of them darker.

      On one hand, a great deal of talent was attracted to the USA owing to what it represented (that’s past tense, by the way). That’s a legitimate benefit of being regarded as “the best” among nations. And certain talent was also aggressively sought out and not-so-voluntarily recruited for government purposes.

      At the same time, post-WWII the American industrial infrastructure has been allowed to age and crumble, and the joys of unbridled corporate capitalism has seen American manufacturing hollowed out and transferred to foreign lands (mostly China). That’s not so good, for the USA at least.

      But getting back to narratives, on the other hand there’s been malevolent mischief in play to suppress the technologic progress of human societies not just around the world but within the USA itself. That’s helped to maintain the supremacy of American science over other nations at least during the 20th century (not so much any more) – but (as someone like Bill Gates might say, “sadly” – although he never really means it) it has also constrained the potential of human society even within the USA itself (presumably to the advantage of whoever is behind the technological suppression and censorship).

      It didn’t have to be this way. Still doesn’t, though it still is.

      FWIW, here’s a good example of what we’ve all been denied for so very many years (including, perhaps especially, the American people)…

      The Liberty Engine

      Part 1. Engine build: https://youtu.be/QOV_Js59BHY

      Part 2. The Engine put to the test 1: https://youtu.be/-8G1JCT2c78

      Part 3. The Engine put to the test 2: https://youtu.be/7jldc-k3Blg

      Part 4. Long-term test: https://youtu.be/mpPqIKX825c

      1. Mr Reynard says

        Hmmm.. The people who went to the Moon ~ 53 years ago, still can’t get back there after over 50 years ?? Maybe they can’t find anymore Mathematical Black Female Geniuses ( Hidden Figures) To calculate the next flight to the Moon ?

        1. SteveK9 says

          It is woke nonsense, but hard to fight now. The fact that the entire modern World was constructed by White European men (including Americans in that category) is unbearable at present.

    3. XSFRGR says

      I recently asked a fellow engineer in Russia how they progressed so rapidly? His reply was, “We celebrate failure.” His explanation was that whenever a Russia engineering team hit an impasse they didn’t hide it. They told everyone, and when everyone joined in they usually came up with a solution. I sent him the six phases of an American project:

      1. Enthusiasm
      2. Failure
      3. Panic
      4. Search for the guilty
      5. Punishment of the innocent
      6. Awards for the non-participants
      1. SteveK9 says

        Nonsense. Kelly Johnson and the SR71 Blackbird. 18 months to develop a plane that has never been surpassed in 60 years. There are countless similar examples. We have a lot of cruft now, but being on top for so long, makes that inevitable.

        1. XSFRGR says

          The SR-71 was an amazing aircraft, but as you say that was 60 years ago. What you didn’t say was that the SR-71 was obsolete as soon as satellites became maneuverable. That was then, this is now, and the U$ is not in the lead in any way nor will the U$ ever be in the lead again. We have sacrificed our future to PC, and Woke.

  2. ken says

    What a terrible thing! Picture Western land whales walking rover without a status gizmo! Oh the horror… Or never hearing how this or that is vulnerable to hacking.

    And our benevolent governments,,, how would they survive without tracking and monitoring and recording every word and thought of those unlucky enough being born within their ‘jurisdiction’. How could they manage a QR code system. No cameras monitoring every square inch of ‘public property… No dog robots to sic on people! Cars unable to rat out their owners,,, Gee no Apple pay, Oh my God! No central bank digital currency that can be shut off at will,,, no crypto 240 digit encryption keys.

    And what would they do with no ability to spew hate on each other, no fun there.
    Gee,,, just think of how we would miss all those great devices that make our lives so,,, livable!

  3. TJ RUBICON says

    “abandoning the use of silicon and replacing it with gallium arsenide”
    Companies have been looking at this literally for decades.

    1. Drapetomaniac says

      Same as for fusion power.


      1. SteveK9 says

        That is the point. Fusion and perhaps gallium arsenide are 10 years away, … and always will be.

  4. Cooky says

    Ukraine is a goy grinder

    1. XSFRGR says

      Ukraine is a Shabbos Goy cesspool.

  5. XSFRGR says

    I pray that Russia has the courage to pull the plug on the West. Russia’s pain will pass rapidly followed by an economic, and social paradise. The West will simply implode, but if Christianity, the White race, and Western Civilization survive the sacrifice will be well worth it. Just think of the world that can be built absent the Children of Satan.

  6. Danny.white20 says

    Russia china and others need to join together and limit supply of strategic assests and resources.
    Countries should sell their entire supply to Russia and China. which can then bottleneck them
    Starve the west, while continuing development and productions
    Where are the Nazi when you need them. They knew how to play this game

  7. SteveK9 says

    Gallium arsenide has been around forever. Initially it promised greater speed, but those speeds were soon surpassed with silicon. One company had a large investment (I would have to dig that out), but it went bankrupt.

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