China Restricts Exports of Loongson CPUs to Russia and Other Nations

According to reports, the Chinese government has forbidden the shipment of Loongson CPUs built on the LoongArch microarchitecture to Russia and other nations, alleging the strategic value of these processors utilized by the nation’s military. 

The Chinese government has prohibited the export of Loongson processors with the LoongArch microarchitecture to foreign nations, according to sources close to the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media and sources knowledgeable about the local high-tech sector. Although this won’t immediately affect the local market, it may leave Russia without any alternatives to AMD and Intel CPUs. 

Although Russian companies do not depend on supply of Chinese processors significantly, in case of a hypothetical blocking of ‘parallel imports,’ they hoped to switch to Loongson solutions. The best [Loongson CPUs] are used by the Chinese military-industry complex, this is the main reason why they are not available to foreign markets.” 

According to Kommersant, neither Loongson nor the Chinese government has explicitly imposed export limitations on CPUs built using the LoongArch architecture. Currently, AliExpress still sells motherboards and systems based on the Loongson LS3A5000, however, these components are rather pricey. Given that Loongson CPUs perform noticeably worse than AMD and Intel processors, it is unlikely that these devices will gain popularity outside China. 

Numerous Russian businesses have been looking for alternatives to x86 processors and computing GPUs made by American engineers for a long now. AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA stopped doing business in Ukraine when Russia invaded it in late February 2021, and they also stopped providing CPUs and GPUs to Russian companies. Russian grey imports of CPUs and GPUs are booming, but it’s feasible that they may cease or dramatically decrease at some time, leaving the nation without vital technology.

The Chinese government may not want other nations to discover how to benefit from LoongArch. The fact that SMIC manufactures Loongson CPUs using their 12nm-class production method is another factor that might prevent the Chinese government from wanting to export these processors. China could just wish to retain all the CPUs it can acquire for its programmes, assuming SMIC’s 12nm/14nm capacity is constrained.

Source: Tom’s Hardware

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Muhammad Zuhair


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