Multiple reports have emerged today that both Intel and AMD have ceased chip sales to Russia, indicating that the US government’s export restrictions on semiconductor sales to Russia due to its war against Ukraine have been rapidly implemented. Furthermore, rumours have surfaced that TSMC’s decision to join the regulations may hinder Russia’s supply of domestic chips.
The suspensions have also been confirmed by the Association of Russian Developers and Electronics Manufacturers, according to Russian media reports (ARPE). Intel is also alleged to have informed Chinese IT companies that sales to Russia have been prohibited.
The scope of the sales stop is still unknown. The new export restrictions are intended particularly at military-grade semiconductors or dual-purpose chips that can be used for both civilian and military applications. As a result, most consumer-oriented chips, such as AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s Core CPUs, are unlikely to be affected. However, it is widely assumed that all semiconductor sales to Russia will be temporarily halted while companies determine which devices are affected. Furthermore, the US Department of Commerce has put 49 Russian organisations on the Entity List, making them ineligible to purchase any form of a chip.
The latest US export restrictions are similar to those imposed on Huawei, but they include an entire country, which is a first. Russia has been preparing for years to deal with prospective sanctions, particularly in the aftermath of international sanctions imposed in 2014 in response to its actions in Crimea encouraging domestic semiconductor manufacture and hoarding chips.
However, TSMC, which has agreed to cease sales to Russia to comply with the new export limits, manufactures Russia’s domestically designed chips from businesses such as Baikal, MCST, Yadro, and STC Module. As a result, Russia’s supply of indigenous chips may be cut off as well.
While some businesses, such as Intel and AMD, are suspending sales immediately, this will not significantly impact the industry right now. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Russian government purchases less than 0.1 per cent of global chip purchases, whereas the broader Russian market accounts for around $50.3 billion of the $4.47 trillion global semiconductor industry.
Instead, the impact will be seen when supercomputers, networking, military chips, and other such systems fail or require upgrades. In that event, Russia would have no choice except to obtain the chips illegally.
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