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SMIC May Have Developed 5nm DUV Process

CNBeta, one of China’s largest technology news sites and a member of Microsoft Chinese Technology Cooperation Network, recently republished an article by Hankyung (The Korea Economic Daily, South Korea’s largest business newspaper by revenue), suggesting that China’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), has achieved a new milestone in the use of Deep Ultraviolet Lithography (DUV) technology to manufacture computer chips without the use of more advanced Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) equipment. The news claimed that the new 5nm process, which uses legacy DUV equipment, has been completed and SMIC is ready to mass produce a first batch of wafers.

In the meantime, Huawei has also announced that its next-generation Kirin SoC chip will appear in the upcoming Mate 70 series mobile phone this October. There is no word yet on production volumes, but SMIC’s 5nm process has previously been considered expensive to produce due to the lack of next-generation equipment. A current U.S. trade ban prohibits companies like the Netherlands’ ASML from supplying cutting-edge EUV equipment to any Chinese company.

It is estimated that the cost of SMIC’s 5nm chips will be 50 percent higher than Taiwanese TSMC’s chips. Also, Huawei’s HarmonyOS Next operating system will be unveiled with the new Mate 70 mobile phone, aiming to compete head-to-head against Google’s Android platform.

Source: CNBeta, May 15, 2024