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ex-CEO of ASML forecasts that semiconductor conflict between US and China will persist

During an interview with Dutch radio station BNR on Saturday, the recently departed CEO of semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML conveyed that the ongoing disputes between the U.S. and China regarding computer chips are ideological rather than based on factual grounds, as reported.

After overseeing ASML’s growth into Europe’s largest technology firm during his ten-year tenure, Wennink stepped down in April.

Since 2018, citing security concerns, the U.S. has increasingly restricted ASML from exporting equipment to China, its second-largest market after Taiwan. Recently, efforts have been made to prevent the company from servicing equipment already delivered to Chinese customers.

“These discussions are not driven by facts, content, numbers, or data, but by ideology,” Wennink remarked.

“You can have any opinion on this, but in our industry, it’s crucial to balance stakeholder interests. I have concerns when ideology takes precedence.”

ASML has operated in China for three decades, Wennink noted, emphasizing their obligations in the region.

He also disclosed efforts to mitigate export restrictions, including lodging complaints with senior Chinese officials over intellectual property concerns and lobbying in relevant circles.

“In Washington, perhaps they sometimes thought, ‘Maybe Mr. Wennink is pro-China,'” he commented.

“No. I’m pro my customers, my suppliers, my employees, and my shareholders.”

Predicting a protracted conflict due to geopolitical factors, Wennink suggested the chip war could endure for decades.

“This is going to be a prolonged issue,” he concluded.

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