CIIE's vision for shared future accords with ASML’s pursuit of open cooperation: company
Published: Oct 31, 2023 12:39 PM


China International Import Expo (CIIE)'s vision of shared future chimes with ASML's pursuit of open cooperation, the Netherlands' chip-making equipment giant's China President told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, as the CIIE is scheduled to open on November 5 in Shanghai.

"The annual CIIE has continued to demonstrate China's long-term resolve to foster an open and cooperative market environment, and the spirit of openness embodied by the CIIE is consistent with ASML's pursuit of open cooperation," Shen Bo, senior vice president of ASML and president of ASML China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

ASML, which has participated in the CIIE for five consecutive years, has witnessed a growingly objective and comprehensive understanding of ASML from the Chinese public, Shen said. 

The company will continue to build its China team to better support the development of its customers in China and offering more localized services in the future, Shen added, noting the growth of Chinese fab using mature node process has been fast and impressive.

With new Dutch export control regulations taking effect on September amid the US' high-tech exports curbs against China, ASML has licenses which allow it to be able to continue shipments of chip tools to China until the end of the year.

"ASML has always valued the Chinese market, and will strive to provide services and support to its global customers, including those based in China, under the premise of strictly complying with relevant laws and regulations," Shen said.

ASML has maintained its pace of recruitment in China this year with plans to hire some 200 professionals in 2023, roughly the same as last year, with key positions related to scanners, e-beams and computational lithography. 

Shen said that ASML's China business will continue to be centered on improving services and support to customers, including product development, team building, and localization. Currently, ASML has 16 offices, 12 warehousing and logistics centers in addition to three development centers focusing on e-beams and computational lithography, as well as a training center and a repair center in China. Its total payroll in Chinese mainland exceeds 1,600.

Recently, ASML saw its sales revenue in China has increased, accounting for 46 percent of its total sales in the third quarter, significantly above the 24 percent recorded in the second quarter and 8 percent in the first quarter.

"Most of the shipments are destined to customers in China for the mature process. And most of the shipments in the third quarter was based on bookings placed in 2022 or earlier," Shen said, noting that China's mature process market has grown well amid broad development of Chinese semiconductor market. According to industry standards, mature process refers to 28/40-nanometer manufacturing process.

Shen Bo Photo: Courtesy of ASML

Shen Bo Photo: Courtesy of ASML

Chinese success in the terminals market, which include mobile phones, PCs, servers, electric cars and new-energy gears, are offering a foundation for sustainable development of made-in-China chips using a more mature process, Shen said.

Although the global semiconductor market is seeing a slump in 2023, Shen said the industry is hoping to see a bottoming-out by end of this year, but it is too early to predict a positive recovery in 2024.

"We are continuing to pay attention to developments in this regard. However, we do see a lot of customers preparing for continued growth, with a lot of fabs under construction which are expected to come online in 2024 and 2025, which will need a lot of equipment," Shen said.

ASML warned that new updates to US export curbs that are designed to block China's access to advanced chips will undercut its sales in the Chinese market, Bloomberg reported on October 17.

On June 30, the Dutch government announced an order restricting exports of certain advanced semiconductor equipment, a move widely believed to target China due to pressure from the US.

A total of 289 Global Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises will showcase their products and services at the 6th CIIE, which will be the first complete return to in-person exhibition post-pandemic.