Chinese semiconductor industry


ougoah

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Does the US own or have developed their own photolithography technology? Are the Dutch and Japanese photolithography tech actually American? The US can only limit their ban to technology they own as I understand so what's the deal with photolithography fab? Why is China worried about photolithography if Japan and Netherlands independently own and developed their tech which I thought the US doesn't actually bother to develop since the other two are market leaders.
 

Canuck place

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So why did the Chinese government not establish a major company or companies for the express purposes of making semiconductor manufacturing equipment, wafers, high IC chips, and also the electronic and machinery appliances that consume the chips.
I wrote about this in the other thread on ASML but I think it also fits here. I feel that the govt can blindly throw money at these things and there must be some horizontal integration. Meaning there must also be demand for these things first before having her technology and impetus to build it. Start downstream first with assembly OEM and then move to chip manufacturing then to manufacturing equipment

I read this article on cntechpost. The translation is atrocious. But an interesting view on things, if you can get through reading it.


Analyst explains why China's semiconductor industry need not to be pessimistic - cnTechPost
On May 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued an announcement that Huawei was "undermining" the list of entities and therefore was restricted from using U.S. technology software to design and produce semiconductors.
cntechpost.com

I find them to be probably a little on the optimistic side but informative nonetheless. If you read the second interview, the person said

‘Is the U.S. ban related to TSMC's plant announcement?

Previously, the market thought it was related, seeing it as a gesture to the US to keep Huawei. But I now think it was just a coincidence in time.

What TSMC announced was to build a 5nm plant in the US, and although it looks advanced now, the plant is to be built in 2024, and 5nm won't be advanced by then. And with only 20,000 slices of monthly capacity, this plant is so small that its significance is more on a symbolic level, more like a Trump administration performance project.’

It was also noted that :

‘‘7. What progress has China made in independent research and development of photolithography machines?

At the moment, Shanghai Microelectronics is something to look forward to. But the high point of the lithography machine was in the Netherlands, not completely controlled by the United States.

Lithographs are important, but what we lack is an all-around strong upstream industry. For example, the United States has applied materials, PanLin Semiconductor, comprehensive layout PVD, CVD, etching machine, cleaning machine and a range of other equipment, if we can also be strong in these devices, there is no need to worry.

Of course, when we're strong enough, we can license each other; while the lithographs are also using American technology, the U.S. is also applying technology from other countries. So, if one day we are strong enough that ASML is applied to our technology, there will be a bottom.

For example, in the earliest days, our panelists still had to pay royalties to manufacturers such as Samsung, but now they no longer do. Why? Because of the panel we have achieved follow through and in some areas achieved beyond’’


So from what I can gather, China’s semiconductor industry initially started downstream, with assembly and making electronics such as Lenovo but with non chinese semiconductors. Then slowly moved upstream to designing IC. Even in manufacturing, China started with the low hanging fruit on the downstream end of he manufacturing chain and is trying to move more upstream.

I guess one of the reasons China did not invest in lithography earlier is because its very technically difficult to make and if you don’t develop strong industry downstream, there would not be demand or impetus for more upstream products. Not sure if that makes sense but that’s how I interpret it.
 

Weaasel

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Does the US own or have developed their own photolithography technology? Are the Dutch and Japanese photolithography tech actually American? The US can only limit their ban to technology they own as I understand so what's the deal with photolithography fab? Why is China worried about photolithography if Japan and Netherlands independently own and developed their tech which I thought the US doesn't actually bother to develop since the other two are market leaders.

Because they are close allies of the United States. For fear of what the United States might and probably will do to them if they decide to sell goods to China that the United States does not want their companies to sell to China they CANNOT be trusted in the slightest by China, and they will probably follow American orders even in cases that hurt their own business interests.
 

PikeCowboy

Junior Member
IMG_0131.JPEGIMG_0130.JPEG

UNIC controller and storage chips... It goes up to 1TB I think, with PCIE3, NVME, and DRAM so pretty competitive in the current SSD market now...

They also have PCIE 4 NVME SSDs up to 2TB with a hynix controller but its more than I need

The last time I put together a PC was back in 2017. There are a lot more legitimate and competitive PRC components compared with previous.

CPU - AMD Ryzen
GPU - Nvidia GTX
MOBO - Colorful B550M (should be out in June)
Cooling/RGB - Deepcool GTE
Storage - SSD UNIC
Storage - HDD WD (for some reason PRC doesn't make HDDs)
Memory - G.Skill
PSU - Seasonic (I tried looking for Deepcool or Greatwall but unfortunately they don't sell to the NA market)
Wifi - Fenvi AX200 (with Intel chipset =P)

Hopefully next time there'll be even more options!
 
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localizer

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Senators Seek Suspension of TSMC US Fab Project

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TAIPEI – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic Party senators have called for a suspension of a planned project by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to build a chip plant in the state of Arizona.
The latest move by the senators is a further evidence that
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, as EE Times surmised.
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addressed to U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the senators requested the two Trump administration cabinet members to “cease any such negotiations or discussions” until the relevant authorization and appropriations committees have been briefed on plans, including any commitments the two departments have made to funding, tax breaks, licenses, or other incentives.
 

superdog

Junior Member
Seems like China is playing the lay low strategy here. Getting pieces of critical technology ready slowly, methodically and quietly so don't make US panic. Once US cut China off, it won't matter because they started 10-20 years ago on development already. Kinda like how j20 sprang a suprise on everyone.
I agree, they do play it low key. With that said, this is not as secretly guarded as 5th gen fighters, so I wouldn't expect them to suddenly pull out a J-20 equivalent (i.e. EUV lithography machine) in the next year or two. Just getting their DUV machine ready for 28 and 14nm will take a while.

My personal impression is that they set up the 02 project with two considerations:
  1. Have a back up plan so that in case of a complete loss of outside technology before 2025 (for whatever reason), they still have the capability to build any military electronics needed, as well as "good enough" civilian electronics to keep a modern society running
  2. Gradually catch up to have top-tier semiconductor manufacturing capability around 2025-2030, be able to compete with the likes of ASML/TSMC around that period.
While their plan started early, actual research funding on lithography and other fabrication technology was not that much, probably tiny if compared to what ASML and TSMC had spent. If they invested 10-20x more (roughly guessing) into this over the last 10 years, it's possible that they'd have caught up much faster.

After all, advanced semiconductor manufacturing is hard, but it's not "moon landing in the 1960s" hard.

But it's hard to say China made a mistake either. There's a limited budget to work with. When you try to accelerate research ahead of your industry base it's always less cost effective making it very hard to justify.

Another thing is that China's policy planners may not have expected Huawei to lead the market so decisively and quickly. Huawei ran well ahead of China's other players in the semiconductor sector, so when attacked it couldn't get enough "cover fire" from its peers. Yet this also means if China can keep Huawei strong, it will generate a great pulling effect for China's tech supply chain to upgrade rapidly. In that sense alone it is guaranteed that Huawei will have China's full support, not just from the government, but also from the industry and consumer base.
 

superdog

Junior Member
View attachment 60180View attachment 60179

UNIC controller and storage chips... It goes up to 1TB I think, with PCIE3, NVME, and DRAM so pretty competitive in the current SSD market now...

They also have PCIE 4 NVME SSDs up to 2TB with a hynix controller but its more than I need

The last time I put together a PC was back in 2017. There are a lot more legitimate and competitive PRC components compared with previous.

CPU - AMD Ryzen
GPU - Nvidia GTX
MOBO - Colorful B550M (should be out in June)
Cooling/RGB - Deepcool GTE
Storage - SSD UNIC
Storage - HDD WD (for some reason PRC doesn't make HDDs)
Memory - G.Skill
PSU - Seasonic (I tried looking for Deepcool or Greatwall but unfortunately they don't sell to the NA market)
Wifi - Fenvi AX200 (with Intel chipset =P)

Hopefully next time there'll be even more options!
You can add Chinese ram to the list, I think it's on sale now.
 

SPOOPYSKELETON

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Normally, I would say there is no chance of this happening.

But the Democrats might care more about destroying Trump than onshoring production. Plus, they may be getting lobbied by America's own companies not to let it go through. "If Trump is going to hand out pork, why is it going to a foreign company?"
 

WTAN

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i think many people are waiting this break new !
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I believe this is official media confirmation of the existence of the "02 Special Project".
02 Special Project is State project under 5 year plan 2016-2020 to create an advanced DUV Lithography machine by SMEE.
This new machine by SMEE model number is SSA800 and will be capable of making Chips in the 7nm node.
Note that Jiangsu Nata is also known as Nanda in the article by A-Set about 193nm Photoresist.

Article also says EUV machine will be available within 2 years. Maybe 2021 launch?
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
That is million dollar question .But their priority is to develop the FAB first since China chip import is so large exceeding the oil import. I guess they underestimate the viciousness of Trump administration.
It is not easy to develop the semi fabrication industry from scratch. As China does not have the technology and enter the digital age very very late. First you have to develop the technology

They certainly support the R&D in various university, Chinese academy of science and technology, defense research institution etc. Various grant and venture capital supported by government. Loan guarantee. But the field is so large Government alone cannot do it

Fortunately the private industry and venture capitalist step up the plate and get involve But as in military you cannot do it overnight It will take time . but I think they have no choice but speed up the development

Anyway here is some good news from global time
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Huawei Kirin 710A chip achieves mass production
Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/11 16:00:53

Consumers check out Huawei gadgets at a store in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province on Friday. Photo: VCG

The Huawei Kirin 710A chip, based on 14-nanometer semiconductor technology, has achieved commercial mass production. It is the first pure Chinese chip with independent intellectual property rights.

Produced by the Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), the chips have a main frequency of 2.0 GHz, domestic financial news site chinastarmarket.cn reported on Monday.

It reported that almost every employee at SMIC Shanghai had received an Honor Play 4T smartphone on Sunday, with "Powered by SMIC FinFET" printed on the back. The phones showcases the commercialization of 14-nm FinFET chips made by SMIC.


Huawei's chip arm HiSilicon declined to confirm or deny the report when reached by the Global Times on Monday.

Sun Yanbiao, head of Shenzhen-based research firm N1mobile, told the Global Times on Monday that research staff from both sides began exchanges on the project last year.

"The successful mass production benefits Huawei, as using chips provided by a manufacturer located in the Chinese mainland could help it reduce its reliance on Taiwan-based semiconductor maker TSMC, which will cushion shocks from China-US trade conflicts," Sun said.

Previously, all chips for Huawei mobile devices were designed by HiSilicon, and then manufactured by TSMC. But foreign media reported the US plans to prevent TSMC from selling chips to Huawei, which was put on the US' Entity List in May 2019.

As a chipmaker with high hopes of localizing chip manufacturing in the mainland and becoming an alternative to TSMC, SMIC announced on May 5 that it would apply to list on the sci-tech innovation board, a new Nasdaq-style tech board in Shanghai.

Following the news of mass production, A-shares relevant to chip manufacturing equipment lithography strengthened on Monday.

Shenzhen DongDa Photosensitive Science & Technology Co rose by the daily limit of 10 percent to 68.53 yuan ($9.68) per share, and Anji Microelectronics Technology Co rose by 6.54 percent to 280.05 yuan.

Global Times
Personally, I think it's time for HiSilicon to be spun off as an independent entity or sold to Unisoc/Tsinghua.
It means HiSilicon can continue designing and manufacturing chips without restriction, and then selling them to anyone.

This means more competition for Huawei, as their competitors can buy those chips as well.
But at least Huawei still has access, which is better than the alternative.
And Huawei gets a cash infusion to invest in R&D in other areas..

It also means Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo can ditch Qualcomm in favour of HiSilicon for high-end smartphone chips.
And that ZTE could potentially build better 5G base stations as well.

So overall, the Chinese technology industry should end up stronger, whilst still working as hard as possible to de-Americanise.
 

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