SAN FRANCISCO Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) President and CEO Richard Chang said Thursday (Oct. 27) that his company would deliver 65-nanometer engineering samples in 2006.
As part of the company's earnings announcement Thursday, Chang said SMIC has recently entered into an agreement with an unnamed customer to co-develop a 65-nm process and deliver engineering samples by the end of next year.
The announcement comes as a surprise to industry observers SMIC and other Chinese foundries are widely assumed to be well behind the rest of the world in the development of leading-edge process technology.
Taiwanese foundry giants Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) have recently begun sampling 65-nm. TSMC said earlier this month that it has completed the first run of its 65-nm CyberShuttle prototyping service carrying customer designs and UMC said Wednesday that it has delivered the first 65-nm product samples to customers.
In a conference call following the earnings announcement, Chang said SMIC would focus its 65-nm efforts on a few customers that have higher volume requirements.
Chang also said Thursday that SMIC would commence pilot product on 90-nm by the end of 2005, with commercial production to being slightly thereafter. He said SMIC's 90-nm qualification lot yields have exceeded customer and are "comparable to the industry average."
Chang said SMIC would use its 90-nm logic process with technology licensed from Saifun Semiconductors to manufacture a 2 gigabit NAND flash product. The company has also entered into a definitive agreement with Elpida to migrate its capacity from 100-nm to the 90-nm process at SMIC's Fab 4 in Beijing, he said.
In the third quarter, 130-nanometer logic products accounted for 15 percent of the company's revenue.
SMIC, China's No. 1 foundry, reported Thursday third quarter sales of $310 million, up 11 percent from the $279.5 million in sales that the company posted for the second quarter. The company posted a net loss for the quarter of $26.1 million, down 35 percent from the $40.4 million net loss it posted for the second quarter.