China’s chip maker SMIC denies it has received key equipment

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/6 22:43:40

Zhang Rujing, founder of China-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation Photo: VCG

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China's leading chip maker, on Friday denied it had received a long anticipated extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machine - a key item for making world-class chips, media reports said.

The equipment that the company received recently is a normal chip making machine, which is not the EUV equipment that others have speculated about, reported Friday, citing a response from the company.

EUV is a crucial form of technology for making chips under 7 nanometers, a kind of world class chip. In other words, chip makers with access to EUV would be in a leading position in the industry globally.

Advanced Semiconductor Material Lithography (ASML), a Netherlands-based chip equipment maker is reportedly the only global firm that can produce EUV equipment. And several of the world's top chip makers including Samsung and Intel have already purchased EUV equipment from ASML.

According to media reports, SMIC, also a big client of ASML, ordered EUV equipment from ASML in 2018, in a contract worth $150 million. However, after more than one year, SMIC has not received it yet, due to some reasons including pressure from the US on ASML. 

Citing people familiar with this matter, Reuters reported in January that the Trump administration had "mounted an extensive campaign" to block the sale of Dutch chip manufacturing technology to China.

The US campaign began in 2018, after the Dutch government gave ASML a license to sell its most advanced equipment to a Chinese customer, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands Xu Hong said during an interview with Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad that "the cooperation between ASML and Chinese enterprises is purely between technology enterprises. We are pleased to see ASML's continuous expansion in the Chinese market in recent years."

"If the reports are true, that is, that the Dutch government stopped approving the export of EUV machines to China under pressure from the US, then this is a case of politicization of a business issue," Xu said.

Posted in: COMPANIES

blog comments powered by Disqus