What happened 

Qualcomm (QCOM 0.10%) shareholders were nervous today after the U.S. Department of Commerce said on Friday that it would restrict exports of some semiconductors to China. The U.S. government is worried about the Chinese government having access to high-end chips made in America.

As a result, the semiconductor stock fell 4.9% as of 2:49 p.m. ET. 

So what 

In a statement released on Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said that it was "implementing a series of targeted updates to its export controls" to restrict China's "ability to obtain advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors."   

A semiconductor on a logic board.

Image source: Getty Images.

The U.S. government is concerned about China's focus on becoming a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030 and how it may use that advantage for its military. 

Qualcomm and other U.S.-based chipmakers are getting caught up in the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China, and shareholders are concerned that new export restrictions will end up hurting the semiconductor company's chip sales. 

Now what 

U.S. companies can apply for a license to sell certain chips and semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China, but the U.S. government's latest move will likely curb some companies' ability to sell their chips in China.

How much Qualcomm will be financially impacted by the export restrictions isn't yet known, but investors will want to keep an eye on the company's next earnings report (estimated to be released on Nov. 2) to see if management has anything to say about it.