The desire of Chinese semiconductor products products to independence from external suppliers arose long before the crisis of deliveries in the global industry, since local companies were forced to deal with the consequences of American sanctions. Progress in mastering the advanced lithography slowed down, as companies from the PRC are recognized.
Nikkei Asian Review Edition conducted a survey of representatives of the Chinese semiconductor industry in March at the Semicon China 2021 event. Of the twenty respondents, more or less specific answers were given about seven, but even this statistics suggest that China’s progress in the transition to the foremost lithography is not so noticeable as I would like to the authorities and the companies themselves.
The leading manufacturer of lithographic equipment in the PRC can be considered Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment. Representatives of the company admitted that the main part of the range is scanners designed to work with the 90-nm technical process. Equipment that is focused on 28-nm and 14-nm technical processing, so far that leaves space for improving the exhaust production level.
Advanced Micro Fabrication Equipment (AMEC), specializing in systems for etching silicon plates, stated that it is ready to supply equipment to work with a 5-nm technical process, but the main demand falls on the installations for 14-nm and 28-nm technical process. Competing E-Town Semiconductor Technology mainly produces equipment for 40-nm and 28-nm technology, as explained by representatives of the company.
The leading contract manufacturer in China, SMIC, in the third quarter of last year, received up to 14.6% of revenue from the sale of products manufactured by 14-nm and 28-nm technologies. By the fourth quarter, this share decreased to five percent, largely due to American sanctions.
According to IC Insights, by 2025, the Chinese semiconductor industry will only be able to ensure the needs of the national economy in electronic components. This forecast took into account the possibilities of enterprises of foreign companies operating in the territory of the PRC. If you exclude them from the sample, then the “indigenous” manufacturers will provide only 10% of the demand within the country. The goal set by the PRC authorities to go to the level of self-sufficiency in 70% by 2025 in these conditions looks unattainable.