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When the $ spent on importing chips is more than the amount spent on importing oil, you know full well that that there is no real alternative but to invest heavily into the semiconductor industry. In 2016, $227 billion worth of chips were imported by China [1].

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china-chips/chi...

Silicon is the new oil! No, it is by a big extend more important.

Nothing today can throw any country back to a stone age than loss of access to microelectronics:

1. Loss of powerplants and the grid infrastructure - possible to rebuild, and immediate impact is not catastrophic

2. Loss of food supply stocks - unless, you are blockaded, you can just buy abroad

3. Loss of fertilizer stocks - just as survivable as loss of food supply.

4. Loss of hydrocarbon supply - an even more laughable national emergency.

5. Heavy industry - just rebuild, you can wholly rebuild it with pre-industrial tech level.

6. Loss of microelectronics - you fc*ked - to make microchips, you need more microchips, and to build those microchips, you need a ton of other microchips. You achieve nothing if you manage to replicate the technology of the era of first ICs.

I can't see how #6 would be a larger problem than the others unless all existing microelectronics disappeared overnight, which doesn't seem like a real concern.

Are those chips imported specifically for domestic use? Or does that figure count chips imported to be put into export electronics?

those eventually end up in exports are usually not counted as imports, because such chips stay in those so called tariff-free zone to be used in production and then shipped overseas without clearing custom twice.

domestic consumption is also at a crazy level, e.g. in Q1 2018, smartphone sales in China had a "hard landing" down 21% YoY, still 91 million phones were sold in Q1 2018 [1].

[1] https://www.canalys.com/newsroom/chinese-smartphone-market-s...

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