US Reviews National Security Implications of China's RISC-V Chip

US Reviews National Security Implications of China’s RISC-V Chip

To address national security concerns, the US Department of Commerce is currently conducting a comprehensive assessment of China's involvement in the open-source RISC-V chip technology sector. RISC-V, viewed as a rising alternative to proprietary technologies like those from Arm Holdings, has gained significant traction due to its versatility, being utilized in a wide range of applications from smartphone chips to cutting-edge AI processors.

Escalating Competition Over Chip Technology

With major Chinese tech entities, including Alibaba Group Holding, embracing RISC-V, the strategic rivalry between the US and China in advanced chip technology has heightened. This competition has spurred 18 US lawmakers to call on the Biden administration to prevent China from establishing dominance in RISC-V technology.

Commerce Department's Evaluation and Caution

In response to these concerns, the Commerce Department has affirmed its dedication to assessing potential risks and considering appropriate actions within its purview. However, the department is also treading cautiously to ensure that its actions do not impede the involvement of US companies in international collaborations related to RISC-V technology.

Geopolitical Implications of Technological Rivalry

The scrutiny of China's position in the RISC-V technology landscape by the Commerce Department underscores the broader geopolitical implications of technological competition. Notably, China's military research institute, the PLA's Academy of Military Sciences, has integrated open-source RISC-V technology into patents for high-performance chips aimed at enhancing reliability in cloud computing and smart vehicles.

While RISC-V has not yet eclipsed the dominance of x86 and Arm architectures, its cost-effectiveness, customizability, and energy efficiency have made it appealing to chipmakers and OEMs. However, with China's increasing adoption of RISC-V, backed by substantial government support, concerns have arisen regarding its potential impact on US technological leadership and national security interests.

As the Commerce Department's review unfolds, the conclusions drawn are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of US-China technological competition and influencing policies pertaining to the transfer of advanced chip technologies.

Scroll to Top