HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — Two senior China executives defended the country’s big bet on its semiconductor industry here a week after a White House report called for international action against practices it called unfair. Executives from fab and capital equipment companies said the China government is not being unfair in the way it supports its still-infant industry.
The China national and provincial governments along with private investors aim to spend as much as $160 billion dollars over the next few years growing China’s semiconductor industry. U.S. chip makers are concerned the government help puts an unfair finger on the scale in what is seen as the largest growth market for semiconductors for the next several years.
Executives from foundry Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corp. and etch-system vendor Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) made the case both for China’s efforts and their companies at the Industry Strategy Symposium, an annual event sponsored by the SEMI trade group.
As the assembler of the vast majority of the world’s smartphones, digital cameras and other products, China runs a huge trade deficit in semiconductors. It buys about 45% of the world’s chips but makes only 13% of them.
China runs an estimated $150 billion annual trade deficit in chips. (Images: Huali)
A market-based policy set in June 2014 aims to close an estimated $150 billion annual trade deficit, but it will take years, the China execs said. Its goals include getting China fabs in mass production of 16/14nm chips by 2020 with a robust local equipment and materials industry to support them.
“If we don’t have these key [component] technologies we may have trouble in the future,” said Jack Qi Shu, vice president of sales and marketing for Huali in an interview with EE Times after a presentation here.
Next page: Huali’s $5.9 billion Fab 2 bet
China's provinces are kicking in money as part of a national chip effort.