Weekly news roundup: Leaked Huawei chipset details surface, revealing chips manufactured with SMIC 5nm process

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0


These are the most-read DIGITIMES Asia stories in the week of March 25 – March 29.

Huawei chipset spec leak shows chips made using SMIC 5nm process

A post on China's Baidu Qualcomm Tieba revealed the specs and capabilities of a new Huawei Kirin 5nm chip, showing the chip is manufactured with the SMIC 5nm process, according to the Huawei Central website. Speculations said the chip can be the Kirin 9010 that Huawei's new P70 series smartphones are expected to use. According to supply chain sources, the P70 smartphone will likely arrive in the market in April with a target shipment of 15 million units.

Former TSMC director: China will form its semiconductor system, but hard to compete with others

Konrad Young, the retired former TSMC R&D director, said at an international forum that China's semiconductor industry will be able to form its independent ecosystem while facing the US sanctions. However, the country may need decades to do so. Young also said China's closed-loop semiconductor system will be significantly smaller. The system will have a hard time competing with the external counterpart, which develops on the foundation of international cooperation.

Huawei GPUs surge in demand and price in China amid absence of Nvidia

Huawei delivered about 100,000 GPUs for computing demands in 2023 and has increased its production capacities to several hundred thousand units this year. The company has not been able to keep up with the rising demand in China as Nvidia's latest B200 GPU cannot access the Chinese market due to the US ban. Huawei's GPU prices have surged from approximately CNY70,000 to around CNY120,000.

Samsung Group ventures into glass substrate development to challenge Intel, Apple eyes adoption

Samsung Electro-Mechanics (Semco) has initiated joint efforts with Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display (SDC), and other key subsidiaries to invest in the R&D of Glass Core Substrates (GCS) to accelerate commercialization. Compared to traditional resin substrates, glass substrates offer finer patterning, thinner profiles, and greater heat resistance while facilitating large-area integration and compatibility with high-performance chips. The Samsung Group aims to challenge Intel, which has taken an early lead in this sector.

Chinese lithography equipment imports slow

Data from China's General Administration of Customs showed that lithography machines imported from the Netherlands monthly decreased after an export ban imposed by the Netherlands took effect this year. In January 2024, the import value of lithography machines reached US$666 million, declining by 41% month on month. The value was US$390 million in February, down 41.4% from January. However, the import value for the first two months of 2024 surged by 256.1% year over year to US$1.057 billion.

Exclusive: Taiwan supply chain helps Micron to achieve early HBM3E mass production

In an exclusive interview with DIGITIMES, Praveen Vaidyanathan, VP & GM of the Compute Products Group at Micron Technology, said the support of its Taiwanese supply chain partners, including TSMC and IP suppliers, is a reason for enabling Micron's early mass production of its latest high bandwidth memory (HBM) product, HBM3E. According to Vaidyanathan, HBM's compound annual growth is expected to surge in the coming years as AI applications extend from training to inference. Micron aims for an HBM market share similar to its global DRAM share.

Darling stay with me, Dutch government tells ASML

The Dutch government plans to invest EUR2.5 billion (approximately US$2.7 billion) in the Brainport region of Eindhoven, where ASML is headquartered. The news came after ASML reportedly threatened to leave the country. About EUR9 million will be injected into educational institutions, including universities and technical institutions, in Brainport. The Dutch government plans to improve local infrastructure and housing and expand Eindhoven University of Technology with the investment. It also proposed canceling the government's contentious plans to tax stock buybacks.