SMIC, the largest Chinese chip maker, appears to have begun producing advanced chips in the past few months, ignoring US sanctions aimed at slowing Beijing’s progress.
But on China’s path to greater self-sufficiency in the semiconductor industry there are still serious problems, raising questions around the long-term sustainability of its latest achievements, CNBC writes with reference to its own sources.
Last year, the Chinese technology giant Huawei, which is under US sanctions, released Mate 60, a smartphone with the ability to connect 5G and a chip produced by SMIC using a 7-nanometer technology.
At that time it was a huge event. But last week we already communicated, that SMIC creates new production lines to produce 5-nanometer chips on order for Huawei. This will signal the further development of the largest manufacturer of chips in China.
The FT, citing two people familiar with the plans, reported that SMIC intends to use its stockpile of semiconductor equipment from American and Dutch manufacturers to produce 5-nanometer chips.
«Currently SMIC cooperates very closely with domestic instrument manufacturers, using the existing base of advanced equipment for lithography, and also attracting other external expert knowledge, for example, from Huawei, to continuously increase productivity using advanced core processes», — said Paul Triolo from Albright. Stonebridge.
«So that at the moment SMIC can continue to improve capabilities and performance on 7, and soon on 5 nm, for a small number of customers, mainly for Huawei», — he added.
The US sanctions were designed to slow China’s ability to produce the world’s most advanced chips amid intensifying technological competition between the two countries.
In 2020, the company was added to a US blacklist called the Entity List, which cut SMIC off from key foreign technologies that would have allowed it to produce more advanced chips. In October last year, the US imposed restrictions to prevent the sale of artificial intelligence chips and semiconductor devices to China.