This is the first I have heard of China trying to develop its own leading edge process technology.
Of course, there is a long path from an academic's achievement to a full blown working process at a fab, so I assume China still needs a lot of ecosystem development.
In my view, this trend was inevitable. Almost want to say "I told you so."
Why wouldn't China be capable of developing leading-edge processes? As long as their government isn't deliberately creating obstacles to progress, as it was in the past, a country with a huge population and a strong work and education ethic can't help but become competitive against anyone else.
And this can only accelerate if the people gradually take more control from their government.
This is nothing. So they basically use their lab tools to build one 22nm MOSFET. Then what? How are they going to ramp this up to SMIC's production line? Most of their (SMIC) tools/processes/engineers are not ready for 22nm. Not even close. Let alone yield.
I regard this news solely as for propaganda purposes.
I believe China will catch up very soon. The paces of scientists are moving faster and faster. What matters now is who has the money and people to work on this? China surely has the money and probably can also attract and incubate the top grade scientists!