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China’s $100 Billion Chip Supremacy Bid Unrealistic: Bain

  • The country aims to reduce a reliance on foreign technology
  • China can’t buy the lead in global chipmaking, Bain says

China faces an uphill battle in its push to become the global leader in computer chips because of a lack of technological know-how and talent, according to an analysis by Bain & Co.

China is one of the world’s largest consumers of semiconductor devices thanks to its manufacturing might, and is planning to spend more than $100 billion to become also a premier supplier to the planet. The global consultancy estimates that by 2020, almost 55 percent of the world’s memory, logic and analog chips will flow to or through the country. But the vast majority of the microchips that act as the brains of products like Apple Inc.’s iPhone are largely imported from companies like Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co.

The government in 2014 moved to change this with plans to invest more than $100 billion and become a leading global player. It’s also driven consolidation among domestic suppliers to maximize its investments, including...