The great US-China tech decoupling: Where are we now?


U.S. tariffs and sanctions have spurred China to pursue tech independence, but supply chains cannot be built overnight.

TAIPEI — For Toshio Nakama, the battle between China and the U.S. for global tech supremacy has been a boon.

Last year S2C, the chip design tools company that he co-founded 16 years ago in Silicon Valley and later moved to Shanghai, was bought by SMIT Holding, a Chinese group backed by Beijing’s China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, nicknamed the “Big Fund.”

“Previously I had to spend a lot of time caring about operations and finding new investors,” Nakama, the CEO of S2C, told the Nikkei Asian Review. “Now I can dedicate most of my time and effort to research and development.”

Nakama’s good fortune — he has nearly doubled S2C’s team of sales and engineering staff to 100, and plans to double it again next year — is due to Beijing’s aggressive quest for technological self-sufficiency, in which companies like his play a crucial if little-known role.

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