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Will SMIC bring 5nm fabrication to China this year?

China is a long way behind in advance chip manufacturing, but fresh reports say the country could be on the verge of a 5nm node breakthrough.

According to a Financial Times report, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) is on track to mass produce processors with 5nm-class process technology later this year. It says its primary customer Huawei will use the chips in its AI and smartphone processors.

Time will tell if the speculation proves true. China's domestic chip firms are racing to catch up with Tawian, the US, Japan and Korea but they are having to do so in the face of bans on imported tools and raw materials.

SMIC is believed to have established new production lines in Shanghai to mass-produce Huawei-designed chips with its 5nm fabrication technology. It will fabricate the chips with stockpiled deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography tools, since it is prohibited from importing extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines from ASML.

However, the FT says SMIC's breakthrough will come at a cost. It believes SMIC will price its 5nm and 7nm products at 50%  more than TSMC rates. It also says 7nm yield could be less than one-third of TSMC's.


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June 12 2024 9:18 am V22.4.54-1