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After 28nm chip suspension expansion, 14nm suspected "offline", what's the matter?

via:新浪科技     time:2023/5/16 11:01:02     readed:90

Chip companies are in the midst of a series of cost-cutting moves as the market for high-end chips slows, resulting in a global surplus of high-end chip capacity. Companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor, Intel, and Qualcomm have announced capital expenditure cuts, including a 40% reduction in EUV equipment orders for Taiwan Semiconductor and 40% reduction in EUV equipment orders for Taiwan Semiconductor.

Unlike those giants, SMIC's move came as a surprise. While other chip-making giants are cutting capital spending, SMIC has maintained spending comparable to 2022, which is expected to exceed 43 billion yuan. This suggests a relatively cautious approach to capital expenditure.

Rather than follow the lead of other chip-making giants, however, SMIC has opted to expand its mature process capacity. By contrast, others are expanding mature process capacity, notably Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung.

It is worth noting that,The 14nm foundry information is suspected to be "offline" on the official website of SMIC. Only 28nm and above chips are displayed.That raises the question, what's going on at SMIC? After 28nm process was suspended to expand capacity, there was no relevant information for 14nm process?

According to professional analysis, in fact, SMIC mainly focuses on mature process chips, including 28nm, 40nm/65nm and other processes, among which the yield rate of mature process has reached the world's leading level. Smic has also tested the N+1 process on a small scale, and achieved the desired results. It is also developing processes such as N+2 that will make it more competitive in chip manufacturing.

Smic withdrew the 14nm foundry information on its official website, a decision that has drawn wide attention from industry insiders.

For one thing, SMIC has kept a low profile in recent developments. The United States has continually changed the rules, limiting the export of some high-end technologies and equipment, while cutting off the supply of advanced technologies. Smic withdrew the information in order to avoid outside interference and continue to develop quietly. In addition, no further information will be released, and similar situations may occur with more advanced technologies.This shows that SMIC will pay more attention to the robustness of technology research and development and market strategy in the future development.

After all, improving sustainable profitability is also key in this environment. Smic has seized the opportunity of mature processes such as 28nm,The mature process capacity has been expanded in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin for four times. The company has noted that the Shenzhen plant has entered the mass production stage, while the Beijing plant is expected to be put into operation in the second half of 2023.However, with other players such as Taiwan Semiconductor, mature process capacity is quickly reaching saturation, so SMIC needs to slow expansion and spend more money on research, development and production of advanced processes.

On the other hand, the issue of orders is also a factor in the consideration of SMIC. Internet Fish noted that SMIC's financial data showed that75.4% of SMIC's revenue came from Chinese manufacturers, with international customers accounting for a relatively low proportion.The United States constantly changes and upgrades chip "rules" to restrict shipments, but SMIC still needs to import some products in terms of equipment and raw materials, which may affect product expansion expectations, so it will focus on mature manufacturing process.

After all, the demand for chips in the domestic market has been growing, especially in the fields of artificial intelligence, Internet of things, cloud computing and so on. The demand for high-performance, low-power chips is more urgent, and SMIC is good at this aspect.

And more importantly,The domestic semiconductor industry chain needs to be improved, and the backward level of manufacturing technology makes the domestic chip industry in a relatively inferior position. In this case, SMIC's contract manufacturing business has gradually been recognized and valued by domestic manufacturers, becoming one of the important supports for the development of domestic chip industry.Smic undertakes the important mission of the rise of domestic chips.

The chips manufactured by SMIC are mainly processed by 28nm/40nm/65nm or above. Compared with overseas OEM factories such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., LTD and Samsung, SMIC still lags behind in terms of technology level and process.But the chips it manufactures can already satisfy most of the domestic market.

In general, SMIC needs to continuously strengthen research and development and technological innovation, introduce more high-performance and low-power chip products, and continuously improve the foundry process and technology level.It has further promoted the development of the domestic chip industry and injected "core" power into China's scientific and technological undertakings.

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