China doubles localization rate for chipmaking equipment, reportedly over 40%

Jessica Tsai Taipei; Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

Amid the US containment measures to slow down China's development in semiconductors, China has reportedly increased its semiconductor equipment localization rate to over 40%.

Korean media Ddaily quoted industry sources indicating that China's self-sufficiency in semiconductor equipment has exceeded 40%, doubling within two years, with the localization rate of equipment for PVD and oxidation over 50%.

According to data compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, in China's semiconductor manufacturing supply chain, including equipment, foundry, packaging and testing, and IDM, semiconductor equipment manufacturers have the highest R&D ratio among manufacturers. During the past two and half years, the median R&D ratio of China-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers maintained above 10%, slightly higher than the major pure-play foundry SMIC and much higher than OSAT players.

The R&D ratio of Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc China (AMEC) is over 13% on average for the past two and half years. Naura Technology has spent 11% of its revenue on R&D expenditures during the period. On the other hand, due to the nature of the IC design industry, China-based design houses enjoyed higher R&D ratios than foundry and chip equipment manufacturers. Still, the R&D ratios of China-based semiconductors are impressive.

According to "Semiconductor Localization: China Makes Advances" released by State Street Global Advisors, China's self-reliance in semiconductors can be attributed to a large domestic market, government support, strong R&D capabilities, and support from the capital market.

Korean media Hankyoreh quoted a report, "Status of Promotion of China's Semiconductor Localization," released by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, saying China's localization rate of semiconductor equipment is rising rapidly, with Naura and AMEC acquiring technology through government investment support and have increased their localization rates in process areas such as etching, thin films, and deposition. However, according to Ddaily, China still relies on foreign technology regarding the lithography process, which accounts for approximately 60% of the time and around 35% of the cost of semiconductor fabrication, with the localization rate of lithography equipment still in the single digits.

Source: Bloomberg, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, September 2023

Source: Bloomberg, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, September 2023