Weekly news roundup: ASML CEO warns against compelling China to be innovative and other top stories

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

ASML CEO Peter Wennink. Credit: ASML

These are the most-read stories on the DIGITIMES Asia website during the week of September 4–8:

ASML CEO warns against 'compelling China to be innovative'

Semiconductor equipment firm ASML is seeing a negative effect on US' containment policy towards China. ASML CEO Peter Wennink shared his views on the China issue, as well as the export restrictions and protectionism that the company is facing. Wennink emphasized during the interview that isolating China completely through export controls is not a viable approach. This indirectly suggests that Huawei's self-developed 5G SoC used in Mate 60 Pro and manufactured by SMIC's N+2 7nm processing node should not come as a surprise to anyone, as these restrictions are, in fact, pushing China to redouble its innovation efforts.

Support for Huawei 7nm chip could hurt SMIC profitability, say sources

For SMIC, providing support for Huawei's 7nm chip without access to EUV technology could prove to be detrimental to its profitability, according to industry sources. Relying on DUV and multiple exposure processes to make 7nm chips for Huawei would generate high costs and poor yield rates for the Chinese foundry house. If SMIC developed the 7nm process specifically for Huawei, the manufacturing quotes must be very high, the sources said. Otherwise, the more SMIC makes for Huawei, the more losses, the sources added.

Why TSMC sees more trouble than Samsung in US fab projects

TSMC has encountered difficulties building its advanced wafer fab in the US, sparking concerns over the prospects of the Taiwanese foundry house's overseas expansions in terms of production costs and labor issues. In contrast, the Korean chipmaking giant Samsung Electronics' US fab project seems to be experiencing none of the issues that are troubling TSMC. Sources from the semiconductor industry noted that TSMC embarked on its US fab project under different situations than those when Samsung started its. And TSMC and Samsung have been working differently in building their respective fabs.

Rumors debunked: who made the SoC within Huawei Mate 60 Pro?

Recently, Huawei launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Mate 60 Pro. It is rumored that the internal chipset used is a completely Chinese-made SoC, successfully circumventing the technological sanctions imposed by the United States in recent years. However, the market rumors remain very chaotic to date. In response to this, DIGITIMES conducted in-depth interviews and investigations in the hope of clarifying various exaggerated and untrue statements for all readers.

Expectations grow for heightened US containment measures against China, says DIGITIMES Research

Amid US sanctions and the visit of US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to China, Huawei's Mate 60 Pro, featuring the homegrown Kirin 9000s chip based on SMIC's N+2 process, has sparked much discussion. DIGITIMES Research believes the US may mount new policies to contain China's semiconductor development.

Japan's export controls on lithography and thin film deposition more likely to be enforced, says DIGITIMES Research

As Japan's ban on semiconductor equipment exports to China officially went into effect on July 23, many are left wondering about its implications for the Chinese semiconductor industry. A total of 23 types of semiconductor equipment were included by the export controls regime, covering lithography, etching, thin film deposition, heat treatment, cleaning, and inspection. According to DIGITIMES Research analyst Eric Chen, however, the restrictions on lithography and thin film deposition equipment are more likely to be enforced and thus impacting China's advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

Huawei localizes over 90% of components for Mate 60 Pro

Huawei's unveiling of the Mate 60 Pro has shaken the industry. The company has demonstrated to the world, by producing a flagship smartphone featuring most components made or developed by Chinese companies, that it has to potential to be self-reliant and decouple from US technologies. According to Chinese media, including Cailien and Jiwei, about 70–80 suppliers for the Mate 60 Pro have been disclosed, and local suppliers in China accounted for more than 90% of the components adopted in the smartphone. Still, some non-Chinese components are used in Mate 60 Pro, including memories from SK Hynix and Micron.