Taiwanese chip maker, TSMC, is one of the largest and most advanced chip foundries in the world. According to a recent report, TSMC 6nm process is now in mass production. Information from TSMC’s official website shows that their 6nm process begun mass production on August 20. According to the company, TSMC’s 6nm process uses extreme ultraviolet lithography. Theoretically, the density of the chip will increase by nearly 20%.
A few months ago, at the first-quarter earnings conference, TSMC CEO, Wei Zhejia, revealed that the 6nm process is in the risk trial production stage.
Wei Zhejia also revealed at the time that mass production of the second-generation 7nm process using extreme ultraviolet lithography has entered the second year. This will pave the way for the mass production of the 6nm process. technically, the design rules of the 7nm process are the same as the 6nm process. It also provides a clear path for the migration of its next wave of 7nm products. As for customers of TSMC’s 6nm process will use Intel GPU. In a report at the end of last month, TSMC has won Intel’s 2021 foundry order for 180,000 6nm wafers.
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Recall that TSMc’s 5nm process is already in mass production. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 will use the Bionic A14 processor that uses TSMC 5nm process. The 6nm process is simply between the 2018 7nm process and the most advanced 5nm process.
TSMC is losing its engineers to Chinese chip makers
In other reports, TSMC is seriously losing its engineers to Chinese manufacturers. According to a Nikkei Asian Review report, since last year, two Chinese companies have hired over 100 top engineers from TSMC to boost China’s chip manufacturing chances. The report claims that these companies have the backing of the Chinese government. Quanxin Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (QXIC) and Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (HSMC) now have the services of over 50 former TSMC employees each. In addition, the leader of both companies are also former executives of TSMC.
This recruitment aims to develop 14nm and 12nm chip manufacturing processes. This process is still far behind the likes of TSMC and Samsung. As tensions between the U.S. and China increases, there is an increasing need for both countries to be independent. As part of China’s push to be less dependent on American suppliers, it established QXIC in 2019. HSMC is not that old, it is only three years old.