Another question is how far it will advance under the sanctions.
The experience of the current CEO, Liang Mong Song, who previously led development at TSMC and Samsung Electronics, led China’s SMIC to start developing 5nm technology, people familiar with the matter told DigiTimes. At the very least, the company expects to achieve performance comparable to competitors’ 5nm process technology without the use of EUV lithography, since it is denied access to it due to US sanctions.
Image Source: SMIC
It was previously reported that SMIC has been supplying one of its Chinese customers with products that rival TSMC’s 7nm products in terms of performance over the course of a year. However, one cannot count on a “Chinese breakthrough” in this area, since specific specific products have a rather primitive layout and transistor structure, which is not useful for the production of complex processors with a high level of performance. Secondly, the level of yield of suitable products and the cost of such chips also remain in question.
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What SMIC management is willing to admit is the desire to increase capital expenditures for expanding production capacity and spending on staffing. The latter has increased by almost a third since last year, and SMIC, according to the company’s management, does not experience a shortage of those wishing to link their careers with the Chinese semiconductor industry.