Weekly news roundup: With 300 immersion lithography DUV machines, can China expand advanced chip capacity and other top stories

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0


These are the most-read tech stories during the week of December 4-8:

Approximately 1,400 ASML equipment installed in China, limited application for advanced chip expected

The number of ASML machines installed in China is estimated to reach nearly 1,400 units. Most installed and uninstalled machines in China may not be used in fabricating chips with advanced processes. Until recently, ASML's capacity in China has been limited. According to ASML's annual reports, the global shipments of its DUV equipment are lower than 200 units annually due to production capacity constraints until annual shipments of DUV equipment surpass 200 in 2021. It is estimated that about 300 immersive DUV equipment are in China, including nearly 100 installed and about 200 uninstalled.

Huawei's 5nm chip in L540 NB could be inventory made by TSMC before US ban

The latest report by Wccftech pointed out that Huawei's new notebook (NB) PC L540 is equipped with the 5nm Kirin 9006C, an SoC with 8 cores. Chinese media ITHome recently revealed that this 5nm 9006C processor has been adopted by L420 in 2021. Therefore, it is not a new chip manufactured in 2023. It is more likely that Huawei's stockpiled chips were manufactured by TSMC, before the company was banned by the US from accessing American technologies in September 2020.

Samsung and SK Hynix will both supply HBM3 for AWS Trainium 2

According to industry sources quoted by Korean media Digital Times, the AI training chip Trainium 2 unveiled in AWS's re:Invent 2023 conference will let both Samsung and SK Hynix supply the HBM3 it needs. It is reported that Trainium 2, compared to the previous generation product, improves training performance by four times, featuring four 24GB HBM3 units, supporting a memory capacity of 96GB.

Western Digital to raise NAND flash prices by up to 55%

Western Digital has informed customers that prices for NAND flash memory may rise by up to 55% in the coming quarters, according to industry sources. NAND flash prices have been rising sharply in the second half of 2023, and the extent of increases in the fourth quarter has been much faster than expected.

China Big Fund II injects US$1 billion into HLMC, may aid advanced chip development

China's efforts in fostering the domestic semiconductor industry continue advancing, with the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund ("the Big Fund") phase 2 injecting capital to Huahong Group and its subsidiaries (including HLMC), which have followed the heels of SMIC to produce chips at 14nm FinFET processing node in 2019. As HLMC already has Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) immersion lithography machines, it should be capable of producing advanced chips under 10nm, just like SMIC.

AMD to ship up to 400,000 new AI GPUs in 2024, say sources

According to industry sources, AMD's new-generation AI GPU series, the Instinct MI300, will be available soon, with shipments expected to reach 300,000-400,000 units in 2024. AMD is scheduled to tout its Instinct MI300 datacenter GPU accelerators in a live-streamed event on December 6, 2023, which the company said will highlight its growing momentum with AI hardware and software partners.

Nvidia sees Huawei as a formidable competitor, but questions remain about the Chinese vendor's chip progress

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang described Huawei as a formidable rival to his company in the Chinese market. However, many in the semiconductor industry wonder how far China's tech giant could go amid the US sanctions. Huawei wowed the tech world in August 2023 when it launched a 5G flagship smartphone, the Mate 60, equipped with an SMIC-made 7nm SoC. Earlier this month, Huawei introduced its L540 notebook running on its in-house developed 5nm Kirin 9006C processor.