The Impact of China’s Chipmaking Material Export Restrictions

China’s recent decision to restrict the export of crucial chipmaking materials, germanium and gallium, has sent shockwaves through the global tech industry. This article explores the repercussions of this move and its implications for international trade and technology development.

The Power Play

China’s swift reduction of exports in germanium and gallium, key materials for semiconductor production, is a significant development in the ongoing trade tensions. While Beijing has subsequently approved some export licenses, the restrictions serve as a stark reminder of China’s formidable economic leverage in the global tech trade war.

China’s Dominance

China’s dominance in the production of germanium and gallium is striking. It accounted for a staggering 98% of global gallium and 68% of refined germanium production last year. These figures, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), highlight China’s near monopoly on these elements.

Challenges Ahead

While alternatives do exist for the United States and its allies, establishing an independent supply chain for germanium and gallium processing is a complex and costly endeavor. Marina Zhang, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, estimates it could require an investment of over $20 billion and years of development.

The challenges don’t end there. Refining these elements involves a complex, technically challenging, and environmentally impactful process. Therefore, constructing processing facilities cannot be a hasty undertaking.

Critical Role in Industries

Despite the relatively modest global trade value of “several hundred million dollars,” these materials play a vital role in the supply chains of massive industries. This includes semiconductors, defense, electric vehicles, and communications, each worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Why China Dominates

China’s dominance in gallium and germanium production is not due to their rarity but rather the country’s ability to maintain competitive production costs. Their leading position in the aluminum industry, along with strategic government policies, has allowed China to establish a significant share of global gallium production.

Alternative Suppliers and Their Challenges

While alternative suppliers exist in Russia, Japan, Korea, Canada, and the United States, switching to these sources would take time and be costly. Some mining and refining firms have shown interest in entering the market, but the transition would not be instant.

Adaptation and Rising Prices

As China restricts supply, global industries may consider alternative materials. Gallium can be substituted with silicon or indium in the wafer making process, and zinc selenide can replace germanium in specific applications.

In the short term, prices of germanium and gallium are expected to rise, potentially increasing competition and reducing China’s dominance in the long run. This shift may take time but will ultimately lead to adjustments in markets and supply chains.


China’s export restrictions on germanium and gallium have illuminated the nation’s dominance in the chipmaking materials industry. The global tech community must now navigate these challenges, explore alternative sources, and adapt to ensure a stable supply of these vital materials.

MacBook updated chips coming in 2023

MacBook: When Apple disclosed that buyers could choose between the M2 Pro and M2 Max CPUs for the new Macs on Tuesday, it was a momentous revelation.

For the Mac and MacBook, the two CPUs are Apple’s most powerful processors.

The M2 chips

Apple’s next-generation systems on the chips (SoCs), the M2 Pro and M2 Max elevate the performance.

With over 32GB of quick, unified memory, a 12-core CPU, and a 19-core GPU, the Pro expands the M2 architecture.

The M2 Pro features a 38-core GPU to double the unified memory bandwidth and 96GB of unified memory, while the Max expands on those features.

The CPUs include improved proprietary technologies such as a speedier 16-core Neural Engine and Apple’s powerful media engine.

The M2 Pro makes its debut in the Mac mini, while the M2 Max substantially enhances the performance and functionality of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

“Only Apple is building SoCs like M2 Pro and M2 Max,” said Johny Srouji, the senior vice president of Apple’s Hardware Technologies.

“They deliver incredible pro performance along with industry-leading power efficiency.”

“With an even more powerful CPU and GPU, support for a larger unified memory system, and an advanced media engine, M2 Pro and M2 Max represent astonishing advancements in Apple silicon.”

The Mac mini

Faster speed, more unified memory, and cutting-edge networking are all features of the new Mac mini, which is more powerful and competent at an accessible price.

Additionally, the M2 model and the M2 Pro variant both support up to three monitors.

The Studio Display, Magic access, and the power and simplicity of MacOS Ventura are all included with the Mac mini.

Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, Greg Joswiak, said:

“With incredible capabilities and a wide array of connectivity in its compact design, Mac mini is used in so many places, in so many different ways.”

“Bringing even more performance and a lower starting price, Mac mini with M2 is a tremendous value.”

“And for users who need powerful pro performance, Mac mini with M2 Pro is unlike any other desktop in its class.”

Additionally, Apple no longer manufactures or markets Mac minis with Intel processors.

The Mac Pro is the final computer with an Intel CPU installed.

Read also: Copyright violations catch up to Midjourney AI as lawsuit looms


Following Luca Maestri’s October caution, the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, as well as the Mac mini, were released.

The revenues of the corporation will decrease yearly in the December quarter, according to Apple’s chief financial officer.

The reduction, meanwhile, may be the result of Apple not shipping the MacBooks in time for the holiday shopping season.

Apple released its fiscal fourth-quarter results in October, and both its earnings and sales per share exceeded Wall Street forecasts.

The tech giant fell short of revenue projections in key product categories, including the iPhone business and services.

As many buyers continue to struggle with inflation, the upgraded Macs will be introduced into an unpredictable economic environment.

Given the continued recessionary anxieties, most consumers have likewise grown more thrifty with their spending.

Earnings report

Apple will release its earnings report at the end of the month.

The tech titan posted December quarter sales of $10.85 billion in the last year, a 25% increase over the same period the previous year.

The firm at the time declared its highest quarterly revenue ever as sales increased over 11% despite pandemic-related consequences and supply chain interruptions.


On Tuesday, prospective buyers can place pre-orders for Apple’s updated goods, which will go on sale on January 24.

The M2 chip-equipped Mac mini will cost $100 less than the $599 pricing of the last model.

The M2 Pro model, however, will cost $1,299.

The price of the new 14-inch MacBook Pro is $1,999.

Last but not least, the 16-inch MacBook Pro variant will cost roughly $2,499.


Apple announces new Mac mini, MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips

Apple introduces new Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro – more powerful, capable, and versatile than ever

Apple unveils M2 Pro and M2 Max: new-generation chips for next-level workflows