ASML Announces Dutch Government Partially Revokes Export License for DUV Lithography Systems to China
- ASML said on Jan 1st that the Dutch government has partially revoked the 2023 export license for its NXT:2050i and NXT:2100i DUV lithography systems to a small number of customers in China.
- China has been ASML’s third largest market in recent years, after Taiwan and South Korea, and became its biggest customer in Q3 2023 with 46% of revenue.
- The Dutch move follows new US regulations last year that allow Washington to block ASML from exporting its NXT1930Di lithography system if it contains US-origin components.
- Lithography is the process of printing circuit patterns onto the photosensitive surface of silicon wafers by projecting light patterns through a pre-patterned glass disc. Smaller circuits require lithography systems with shorter wavelength light.
- ASML plays a key role in the global semiconductor supply chain as it owns two advanced chipmaking systems – the mature DUV and the much more advanced EUV lithography. While DUV uses 193 nm light, EUV has a far smaller wavelength of 13.5 nm, allowing production of chips on modern 5nm and below processes.
- ASML has not sold EUV systems to China due to export restrictions since 2019, but has supplied DUV tools until now.
- The Dutch government announced in June 2023 that local companies would require a license to export chipmaking equipment abroad, targeting ASML sales to China in particular. The new regulations were set to take effect on Sept 1, 2023 but were pushed back to Jan 1, 2024.