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Li Keqiang leaves one wondering the ‘could-haves’ in Chinese semiconductor development

“This might be one of the most advanced chips in the world,” an official from the Belgium-based Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (Imec) reportedly informed then-Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as he inspected a wafer during his 2018 visit to the semiconductor research institute. Three years before the visit, in June 2015, both Li and then-Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel partook in a signing ceremony that saw Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), Huawei, Imec and Qualcomm co-investing to bring SMIC’s 14nm process into volume production by 2020.