China's largest chipmaker SMIC to see more capacity after record sales revenue despite US crackdown
Published: Feb 11, 2022 02:15 PM


China's largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) said the company's factory expansion is going smoothly and three projects, upon completion, will make its output increase, the group's executive said on Friday, amid the ongoing US crackdown. 

The remarks came after the company reported a record high revenue of 10.26 billion yuan ($1.61 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 53.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

Announcing its yearly performance, SMIC said its sales revenue was $5.4 billion in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 39.3 percent, making it the fastest growing among the top four pure-play foundries in the world that year. 

SMIC attributed its growth to the sales increase brought in by wafers, and income from investments and financial assets.

The Shanghai Lingang project in Pudong New Area broke ground at the beginning of this year, and the two projects in Beijing and Shenzhen are expected to be put into production by the end of 2022, and the three new projects will increase the company's total production capacity, SMIC Co-CEO Zhao Haijun said on Friday.

2022 is still the peak investment period for SMIC; capital expenditure is expected to be about $5 billion, and the capacity increment is expected to be higher than that in 2021, the company said in its fiscal report released on Thursday.

However, the development of SMIC also experienced some difficulties. The US Commerce Department announced in December 2020 that it added more Chinese companies, including SMIC to its Entity List, banning its access to advanced manufacturing equipment from US suppliers due to "so-called" ties to China's military, especially 10nm and more advanced process-related technologies.

The global shortage of chips and the strong demand for local manufacturing have brought rare opportunities to the company, but the restrictions on the "entity list" in the US have set up many obstacles to the development of the company, it said.

The company will always follow compliance operations, adhere to internationalization and deeply integrate into the global industrial chain, the firm said. 

Bloomberg reported in December 2021 that the Biden administration was considering imposing tougher sanctions on SMIC, building on an effort to limit the country's access to advanced technology.

If adopted, Applied Materials Inc, KLA Corp and Lam Research Corp - key companies along the industrial chain - may find their ability to supply gear to SMIC severely limited, the report said.

China's Foreign Ministry harshly criticized such behavior and vowed to defend Chinese companies' legitimate rights and interests.