With technology from Infineon Technologies A.G., Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) is building China's first 300mm-wafer fab in Beijing, which the Chinese company expects will vault it closer to the world's leading chipmakers.
Infineon, Munich, Germany, last week agreed to transfer to SMIC 300mm and 0.11-micron processing technology, putting the Shanghai-based company at the leading-edge level of other global semiconductor suppliers. The latest agreement is an extension of an earlier pact that transferred 0.14-micron processing technology from Infineon to SMIC.
Infineon expects the 300mm fab to produce the first chips in the summer of 2004. As part of the deal, Infineon will be able to use as many as 15,000 wafer starts a month from which the fab will produce DRAMs.
The German company said SMIC will also manufacture DRAMs at its existing 200mm fabs in Shanghai, giving Infineon access to additional DRAM capacity of 58,000 wafer starts a month in 200mm-wafer equivalents.
EBN reported last November that another company, Beijing Semiconductor Corp., was building a fab that SMIC would manage and operate. At the time, SMIC executives said they were considering launching the Beijing fab as a 300mm-wafer facility.
It isn't clear, however, how China's loose export controls may affect SMIC's efforts to adopt advanced chip technology. The Wassenaar Arrangement, between various nations regarding common standards for export control, relegates the technical level of controls to each member country.
So far, SMIC has not encountered major problems getting export control approval for technology and equipment that would allow it to move to 0.18- and even 0.15-micron processing at its two 200mm fabs in Shanghai.