TechInsights confirms Huawei's SoC made by SMIC N+2 7nm node

Amanda Liang; Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

TechInsights' latest report pointed out that its lab in Ottawa, Canada, has confirmed that the SoC of Huawei's Mate 60 Pro smartphone was manufactured by SMIC's N+2 7nm process node. It is an upgraded version of the N+1 pseudo 7nm process node by which the MinerVa bitcoin miner chip was made. TechInsights was the first to discover SMIC's advanced processing effort, by confirming the SMIC N+1 node in MinerVa chip in July 2022.

According to Pacific Technology, a Chinese media outlet, 90% of the components and parts in Mate 60 Pro were made by at least 46 Chinese manufacturers. TechInsights also noted that if SMIC's N+2, 7nm node (with integrated SRAM cache) and 5G RF front-end chipsets are released, it would indeed mark a major milestone and breakthrough for China's semiconductor industry, a disruptive move on the global stage.

Compared to TechInsights' previous report on MinerVa chip, SMIC obviously has overcome the mass production yield problem and has achieved satisfactory yield to supply smartphone chips for Huawei.

This is also the first time bitcell (embedded SRAM) has been adopted by China's advanced semiconductor manufacturing node. However, it is still questionable as to how many of the supply chain operators that have partnered with Huawei can immediately achieve the competitiveness of scale procurement.

Although many industry insiders have questioned the commercial feasibility of manufacturing 7nm chips with immersion DUV, profitability and the cost of using chips manufactured by Chinese companies may not be a consideration for Huawei or other Chinese firms prohibited from purchasing advanced chips anyway.

China is gradually building a domestic SoC design and manufacturing ecosystem, and Huawei reportedly has control over 5 fabs (logic and memory) in China via equity investments, according to a senior semiconductor industry expert.