In 2015, an obscure company run by a real estate mogul woke the world to China’s ambitions in semiconductors, the foundational technology that powers computing. Laden with state funding and political backing, the company made jaws drop with a $23 billion bid to buy the American chip maker Micron.
Six years on, China’s would-be microchip champion looks more like a national disappointment. The company, Tsinghua Unigroup, said this month that one of its creditors had initiated bankruptcy proceedings, raising the prospect that it could be broken up.
Tsinghua Unigroup’s flagging financial fortunes are an uncomfortable failure for Chinese officials, who