The view from SMIC
Rick Merritt, SiliconValley Bureau Chief, EETimes
1/19/2016 07:03 PM EST
What does China's Big Fund to grow a national semiconductor industry and Powerball have in common?
China’s Big Fund to grow a national semiconductor industry is like the Powerball. A lot of money is at stake so everybody wants to play, but no one knows how to win.
China’s largest native foundry, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), provides a good example of the issues. It licensed 65 and 45nm process technology to get to market quickly but lacked the rights to modify the processes to create value-added services. So, it co-developed 28nm technology with IBM, gaining flexibility but losing time-to-market.
SMIC’s lead customer, Qualcomm, started using its 28nm polysilicon process last year. But the foundry won’t start production of the higher value high-k metal gate version until late this year.
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