SMIC makes major move to complete its 7nm & 8nm processes


Huawei to move from TSMC to SMIC

In recent times, Chinese chip maker, SMIC has been in the news for multiple reasons. The company is currently in charge of Huawei’s Kirin 710A processor. This chip uses SMIC’s 14nm process and clocks 2.0GHz. This lower version of the Kirin 710 is a milestone achievement for China’s semiconductor chip technology.

SMIC

SMIC is the only foundry company in China that can provide a 14-nanometer process. In the face of the recent US ban, it is now a “go-to” company for many Chinese OEMs. Recent reports show that Shanghai SMIC’s 14nm chip is swiftly moving to full capacity. However, the company is already looking forward to other advanced processes. 

SMIC’s 7nm process has been in development for a long time. However, due to the lack of high-end lithography machines, the progress of research and development has been slow.

Employees of SMIC’s 14nm production line revealed that SMIC’s 7 ~ 8nm research and development progress is not very fast because of lack of equipment. This also means that the end-product is not presentable. An anonymous source said 

“To complete, we may need three or four steps. The lack of high-end lithography machines is the most critical problem. Except for lithography machines, our current equipment can solve the other issues”

Well, SMIC recently imported a huge lithography machine from the Netherlands. While this machine will go a long way to solve its problems, it is not a EUV lithography machine. 

SMIC gets some investments

On May 15, SMIC announced on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it, the National Integrated Circuit Fund, and other parties have entered into new joint venture contracts and new capital expansion agreements. The National Integrated Circuit Fund II and Shanghai Integrated Circuit Fund II (China SMIC’s new shareholders) agreed to inject $1.5 billion and $750 million into SMIC ’s registered capital, respectively.

With this, SMIC’s registered capital will increase from $ 3.5 billion to $ 6.5 billion. SMIC will have a huge production capacity and will obviously deliver more advanced processes. Presently, SMIC has a monthly production capacity of 6,000 14-nanometer wafers. Its goal is to achieve a monthly production capacity of 35,000 14-nanometer wafers.

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