Could CXMT become China's first HBM producer?
China is desperate to manufacture its own high-bandwidth memory modules, and now reports say ChangXin Memory Technologies is close to a breakthrough.
According to Nikkei Asia, ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT) has been developing HBM manufacturing capacity for a year. It has avoided US export sanctions by sourcing less sophisticated memory manufacturing equipment (which is not prohibited) from Applied Materials and Lam Research.
Because of this, CXMT's HBM products are not expected to match the performance of those produced by market leaders SK Hynix, Samsung, or Micron.
Still, any production capacity will be a boon to the Chinese. Memory bandwidth is vital to the development of advanced chips. HBM is in high demand thanks to its data processing speed and performance compared with traditional DRAM. For example, Nvidia's upcoming state-of -the-art H200 processor will be the first to use the new and faster memory spec HBM3e.
Of course, China's domestic firms are standing by to take advantage if CXMT succeeds in its mission. They include giants such as Huawei, which has struggled since being sanctioned by the US in 2019.
However, Nikkei Asia notes that CXMT might not have a clear path to HBM production, and could still be targeted by the US for a ban. It referenced the case of YMTC - one of the biggest Chinese memory firms - which was added to the US Entities List in 2022.