How China plans to lead the computer chip industry

19 November 2019

On a university campus on the outskirts of Hong Kong a group of engineers are designing computer chips they hope will be used in the next generation of Chinese made smart phones.

Patrick Yue leans back in his chair in a coffee shop on the campus, sporting a Stanford University t-shirt. He is the lead engineer and professor overseeing the project.

His research team designs optical communication chips, which use light rather than electrical signals to transfer information, and are needed in 5G mobile phones and other internet-connected devices.

He tells me about the challenges China faces in developing a world-beating computer chip industry.

I actually think the actual designers will be as big a bottle neck as the manufacturing. We don’t have nearly as many research institutes and industry bases to train the designers,” he says.

His department is part-funded by Huawei, the Chinese communications and telecom giant at the centre of an international political storm.