Sunday, February 10, 2019

Update on China Fab expansion

China has the most fab projects in the world, with 30 new facilities or lines in construction or on the drawing board, according to data from SEMI’s World Fab Forecast Report. Of those, 13 fabs are targeted for the foundry market, according to SEMI. The remaining facilities are geared toward LEDs, memory and other technologies.As before, China’s foundry industry is split into two categories—multinational and domestic vendors.

Until recently, both groups used older technology. But Taiwan-based TSMC recently moved into 16nm finFET production in China, while SMIC this year hopes to become the first domestic foundry to enter the 14nm finFET race. SMIC’s move would put it on par with some of its foreign rivals. In addition, SMIC has obtained $10 billion in funding to develop 10nm and 7nm. There are a number of major foundry events in China. Here’s the latest:
  • TSMC will expand its 16nm finFET production in a new China fab with possible plans to build another plant.
  • UMC plans to expand its 200mm capacity in China, and continues to produce 40nm and 28nm in a 300mm fab.
  • GlobalFoundries and TowerJazz are building fabs in China.
  • The latest possible entry is Taiwan’s Foxconn, which plans to build a fab for captive and foundry purposes, according to reports.
  • On the domestic front, SMIC and Shanghai Huali are eyeing 14nm. Plus, several domestic vendors are expanding their 200mm and 300mm capacities.
In 2018, China produced 15.3% of the world’s chips, up from 12.6% in 2013, according to IC Insights.Citing a slowdown in memory and other factors, chip sales in China are expected to grow by only 3% in 2019, compared to 21% growth in 2018, according to IC Insights. In total, the worldwide chip market will grow by 2% this year, the firm noted.

Pure-play foundry sales in China reached $10.69 billion in 2018, up 41% over 2017, according to IC Insights. In 2019, though, foundry sales in China are expected to slow to about 10%.

As of the end of 2018, the installed foundry capacity of 1.3 million wpm in 200mm equivalents is reported in China. Worldwide is about 7 million wpm. This includes IDM foundry capacity.The figures include both 200mm and 300mm fabs. In total, there are six 200mm facilities in the works in China, according to Dieseldorff.Last year, SEMI reduced its projections for fab equipment spending in China for 2019, from $17 billion to roughly $12 billion. So, in 2019, fab equipment spending in China is expected to reach $11.96 billion, down 2% over 2018, according to SEMI.

SK Hynix will invest more this year in China compared to Samsung. This is because they have a new fab in Wuxi.
TSMC makes chips for the cryptocurrency systems firms in China and elsewhere. Now, the company is suffering from the bust in Bitcoin. In its fourth-quarter results, TSMC posted mixed results with a weak outlook due to a slowdown in smartphones and cryptocurrency. It’s unclear if this will impact TSMC’s fab plans in China. For years, the company has operated a 200mm fab in Shanghai. Last year, TSMC began ramping up 16nm finFETs in a new fab in Nanjing. The 300mm fab is producing 10,000 wpm with plans to move to 20,000 wpm by year’s end.TSMC’s Nanjing fab is in the first phase with three other phases in the works. Originally, the company planned to move 7nm into a proposed second fab in Nanjing at some point, according to sources. Now, TSMC is rethinking its plans, targeting 16nm or 12nm for the second phase, sources added.UMC has been producing chips in a 200mm fab in Suzhou for several years. UMC plans to expand this fab amid a worldwide shortage of 200mm capacity. Meanwhile, in 2017, UMC moved into production in a 300mm fab venture in Xiamen. The fab is ramping up 40nm and 28nm. Meanwhile, GlobalFoundries is building a 300mm fab in Chengdu. Previously, the goal was to develop 180nm/130nm processes in the fab. Last year, though, the company changed its plans, targeting the fab for its 22nm FD-SOI technology, dubbed FDX. It has not provided a timeline for the completion of the fab. In addition, contract manufacturing giant Foxconn is in talks to build a 300mm fab in Zhuhai, according to reports. The fab, a joint venture between Foxconn and Sharp, would be used for both captive and foundry purposes. Foxconn has yet to make an official announcement.China also has more than a half-dozen domestic foundry vendors. SMIC is the largest one. The Huahong Group is another foundry player in China. Other vendors include ASMC and CSMC.

2019 is a major test for SMIC, the most advanced domestic foundry in China. SMIC’s most advanced technology is 28nm, although it has been struggling with its yields in this arena.China is behind in process technology. So in 2015, SMIC, Huawei, Imec and Qualcomm formed a joint R&D chip technology venture in China with plans to develop 14nm finFETs by 2020.SMIC is getting $10 billion to build capacity for 14nm, 10nm and 7nm. They will have capacity for 70,000 wafers a month by Q4 in 2021.Besides SMIC, meanwhile, the Huahong Group is also a player in China. HHGrace and Hua Hong Semiconductor, two foundry vendors within this group, provide 200mm foundry services. Hua Hong also is building a new 300mm fab for mature processes in Wuxi.

Shanghai Huali, another member of the Huahong Group, has a new 300mm fab in the works with plans to ramp up 28nm. At some point, the company is targeting 14nm.

One of the newer foundry players is CanSemi Technology, which is building a 300mm fab in Guangzhou.

Sumirized by Abhishekkumar Thakur
Source : "China’s Foundry Biz Takes Big Leap Forward" Semiconductor Engineering (LINK)

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