Potential Intel competitor HF Core Storage put on US sanction list

Amy Fan, Taipei; Jack Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Photo: Industry sources are quite surprised by HF Core Storage's sanctioning by the US. Credit: HF

In December 2022, the US revealed its latest sanction list on Chinese semiconductor companies. Analysis pointed out that the corporations targeted by the US are mostly rising stars in China's semiconductor sector. Besides Yangtze Memory (YMTC), another company worth paying attention to is memory control IC maker Hefei (HF) Core Storage.

HF Core Storage was founded by the former team of VIA Technologies in 2015 and is rumored to be developing a domestic replacement for Intel processors. Its main business is the R&D and sales of flash memory controllers, eMMC, UFS, SSD control chips/complete system designs.

HF Core Storage's main products are embedded storage devices, SSDs, and IC controllers. Confidential memory technology can be widely used in consumer electronics, industrial electronics, IoT, cloud computing, mobile applications, AI, and more.

In addition, HF Core Storage claimed that it established an independent self-development team. The team consists of high-end talent from leading Chinese universities like the China University of Technology, Hefei University of Technology, and Anhui University. This team focuses on IC design, hardware, and testing. It has nurtured nearly 300 technical talent locally, with over 80% of them being R&D engineers.

Sources related to HF Core Storage are generally quite surprised by its inclusion on the sanction list. However, other sources pointed out that this could be a sign that the US already has a grasp on China's development plans for its semiconductor sector. The US discovered that the processor HF is developing could be used for supercomputers or support China's endeavor in advanced memory chips, hence they struck first. This sanction is right on the point, targeting and possibly 'removing' one of Intel's potential rivals.

Taiwan-based Phison is also rumored to have invested in HF Core Storage. However, Phison later announced that it has sold all of its stocks in HF Core Storage. Its operations won't be affected by the sanctions.