Chinese chip contractor Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) has announced the construction of a new semiconductor plant in Shanghai, China. The venture costs the equivalent of almost 9 billion US dollars, of which investors take over a part as part of a joint venture, including usually state financial injections.
On the Bau reports, among others, the South China Morning Post. Accordingly, after completion, SMIC plans to expose around 100,000 silicon wafers with a diameter of 300 mm per month in the production facility. Technology with structures of 28 nanometers and coarser is used, with which SMIC already makes the majority of its own sales.
Suppliers such as ASML are still allowed to sell corresponding exposure machines and design tools to SMIC – the US trade embargo applies to more modern technology from 7 nm. With 28 nm structures, among other things, power management circuits (PMICs) and control units for Cars manufactured that have been in short supply since 2020. Additional capacity in China could also ease the global chip shortage.
Three semiconductor factories for 240,000 wafers per month
The construction in Shanghai is only one of three fab projects. Meanwhile, SMIC is also expanding its own presence at two other Chinese locations: In Beijing, a semiconductor plant is being built for the equivalent of around 7.8 billion US dollars with the same production target as the Shanghai Fab (100,000 300 mm wafers per month at 28 nm and coarser). In Shenzhen, SMIC and partners are investing almost 2.4 billion US dollars for around 40,000 wafers with a diameter of 300 mm and the same manufacturing technology every month. The first capacities should be available from the end of 2022.
Competitor TSMC is also expanding in China: TSMC expanded the semiconductor plant in Ninjang in 2020 to expose 25,000 300 mm wafers there with 16 nm technology every month. In a second expansion phase for almost 2.9 billion US dollars, 15,000 300 mm wafers with 28 nm structures will be added per month, such as TSMC’s chief executive announced at a past analyst conference (from minute 24:08).