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How SMIC Can Keep Up With Advanced Process Technologies

SMIC has begun producing 14nm chips, and has joined the FinFET club. The company is on the verge of a stock offering that could reap in excess of $7B...

www.eetasia.com, Jul. 20, 2020 – 

There are a number of looming megatrends that will have an effect on society and bring opportunities to high-tech companies. The emergence of 5G networks will drive demand for 5G-enabled applications as well as various SoCs for edge computing, but demand growth will largely depend on rollout of 5G networks. Another developing megatrend is related to artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) applications that could certainly take advantage of 5G, but do not necessary need it right away. 5G, AI, HPC, and edge computing applications will consume a lot of chips, so all foundries are going to land additional orders.

SMIC might have some additional drivers.

China's rapid development in the recent decades has generated rather massive need for semiconductors and helped to cultivate a host of chip developers in the country. The number of Chinese IC design houses skyrocketed from 736 in 2015 to 1,780 in 2017, according to China Renaissance Securities. Meanwhile, the vast majority of chips that Chinese companies use (including those designed locally) are usually made outside of the country. To that end, any disruption in the normal supply chain presents opportunities to makers of semiconductors in China, such as SMIC and Hua Hong. There is a catch though: these manufacturers have to offer world-class products, nodes services, and competitive pricing.

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