Sunday, June 4, 2023

China Erases All Traces of Its 14nm and 7nm Chips, Has the US Won?

Sanctions and blockades are killing China as much as they are killing Russia. In the case of Vladimir Putin’s country, its infrastructure and technology are sorely lacking in chips, more than a decade behind. For this reason, they counted on China as an ally and partner, where the two would exchange energy, natural resources and technology, selling themselves at the expense of a “friend”. But the game may have turned the rules, because in an unexpected move and after persistent public complaints, SMIC, the largest chip maker in China, has abruptly phased out its 14nm and 7nm processes. Has America won the battle?

Total blockade by China’s rivals in the west and east. SMIC, giant as it is in Xi Jinping’s country, is in loss right now, with a loss of $1.84 billion in the first quarter of this year and the expectations for the next are not really good, as they barely grow. What a score achieved in 2022. Then where are the problems?

SMIC continues to invest in FABs, but no longer names its 14nm and 7nm

New production lines and a new high-performance FAB that will cost $7.5 billion, bearing in mind that we’re talking about mature nodes of at least 28 nm. But all of a sudden, in the middle of the quarterly report and all the talk about this new FAB… no sign of 14 nm or 7 nm.

This is not normal, because this FAB is built to hold exactly these two new nodes. Not only are their names not in the report, but they are completely missing.

In fact, all of a sudden we can log into their website and… no trace. 90nm, 65nm, 55nm, 40nm and 28nm are listed, but the company is no longer considering 14nm and 7nm as of two weeks ago.

Of course, it is really difficult to fit all its partners, because the great expectation of many countries was to be able to choose from the 6 most common options in the industry, where China will compete in price thanks to manufacturing technology and design. Similar to TSMC.

ASML DUV scanner and EU/US blockade

Both 14 nm and 7 nm were part of SMIC’s more ambitious strategy for China, where both lithographic processes would be carried out with classical immersion technology, i.e. DUV. The problem is that the United States and Europe seem to have nipped it in the bud and blocked all internal and external ties with China and any partner for its technology and manufacturing equipment.

The danger is clear, as we saw a month ago, blockades and sanctions extend beyond China, so no country wants to risk selling scanners to Xi Jinping. Obviously, the country of silk already had this and that’s why retreated to SMIC with its 14 nm and 7 nm. Instead, it looks like they’re going to focus on offering patents that will allow them to close the gap in the future.

Something similar to what Samsung did with its 3nm, where it left the nanometer race momentarily and rejoined after a break and worked on the back-end with GAA transistors, where it now Has advantage over Intel and TSMC. Could China be a future threat to the rest of the manufacturers? At the moment, without Western technology, this seems unlikely, as even TSMC has not been able to become independent from Europe and the US.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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