Wednesday, March 15, 2017
China-based pure-play foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) is looking to start R&D for 7nm process technology later in 2017, according to company CEO and executive director Tzu-Yin Chiu.
SMIC will join the world's major chipmakers including Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundries capable of making 7nm chips, said Chiu, adding that the China-based foundry has in recent years put increased focus on advance-node technologies with annual R&D expenses accounting for as high as 12-13% of revenues.
SMIC spent nearly US$2.7 billion in 2016 capex which was relatively high compared to previous years levels, Chiu indicated. During the year, the company had record revenues of US$2.9 billion with 30.3% on-year growth.
SMIC is developing advanced-node technologies with Huawei and nano-electronics research institute Imec, Chiu noted. The foundry is also working with many IC design service providers including Brite Semiconductor, Cadence Design Systems, Synopsys, ARM and Mentor Graphics, and is partnering with equipment and materials suppliers such as Applied Materials, Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment (AMEC), ASML, Shin-Etsu Handotai and Sumco.
As for the backend, SMIC is teaming up with Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology (JCET), and the pair has set up a joint venture to provide a more complete supply chain for advanced-node manufacturing, Chiu said. Besides, SMIC is looking to further expand its 12-inch lines, Chiu added.
In addition, Chiu expressed optimism about chip demand for emerging IoT applications in China. SMIC plans to roll out 40ULP process technology later in 2017 for higher-end products to further expand its offerings for the segment, according to Chiu.
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