In China, the development of national production of microchips reaches a new level, despite the US attempts to limit access to advanced technologies. The main Chinese manufacturer of SMIC semiconductor launched new chips production lines in Shanghai. This was made possible thanks to cooperation with the technological giant of Huawei, aimed at the mass production of the next generation of processors for smartphones this year.
Such a step corresponds to the desire of Beijing for self-sufficiency in the field of chips against the background of tightening export restrictions by the Joe Biden administration, as well as joint efforts of the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan to block China’s access to modern chips.
SMIC plans to use the stored equipment of American and Dutch production to create more compact 5-nanometer chips designed for new Huawei premium-smartphones with Kirin processors developed by Hisilicon.
The situation demonstrates that, despite export restrictions, the Chinese semiconductor industry continues to gradually develop. Huawei has already surprised the industry and analysts by launching the MATE 60 PRO premium commercial submarine with a 7-nanometer processor in August, which made it possible to increase deliveries in China by almost 50% in the fourth quarter.
If the production is successful, SMIC will also begin production of a powerful processor with artificial intelligence – Huawei ASCEND 920 on a 5-nanometer process, which narrows the gap between Chinese alternatives and demanded graphic processors NVIDIA.
Despite the additional costs associated with the production of more complex chips, SMIC was forced to set prices for products with 5-nm and 7-nm technology processes 40-50% higher than that of Taiwanese TSMC, but Huawei has no other yet. choice how to use SMIC services due to the long process of obtaining TSMC export licenses from the US government.
Although the 5-nm SMIC chips will still lag behind the generation from the advanced 3-nm TSMC processes, they will mark significant progress for the China semiconductor industry in the current export control regime.
All these efforts to debug the production reflect the determination of China to develop their own semiconducting industry in the context of international sanctions, emphasizing the significance of these production lines for the future technological development of the country in the coming years.