Chinese contract manufacturer of semiconductor components SMIC is not officially included in the “black list” of unreliable companies, but the US authorities have already warned the suppliers cooperating with this company that there are corresponding risks. SMIC itself is preparing for the possible imposition of sanctions since the beginning of the year, forming stocks of imported components and equipment.
Representatives of SMIC, as the Nikkei Asian Review explains, prefer not to admit that the company has increased its purchases of imported materials and lithographic equipment in order to form an “emergency stock”. The company’s costs, however, speak for themselves. Capital expenditures in the current year increased from $ 3.1 to $ 6.7 billion. SMIC’s revenue for the last year did not exceed $ 3.12 billion, so the scale of expenses is doubly impressive.
Since the beginning of the year, SMIC has increased purchases of consumables and lithographic equipment in excess of its current needs, informed sources explain. One of the American equipment suppliers explained that the volume of orders from SMIC has really increased, but now there is no guarantee that the counterparty will be able to fully fulfill its obligations if sanctions are imposed. The stock of consumables of imported origin SMIC should be sufficient for approximately one year of operation in the current mode.
Chinese counterparts, according to industry representatives, are one or two generations behind their foreign counterparts, so in the foreseeable future it will be difficult for SMIC to do without imported materials. The company even reached an agreement with other Chinese consumers of similar goods to create general stocks in the event of a “protracted siege.”
Recall that by the end of the year SMIC expects to launch an experimental production line that will manufacture 40nm products without the use of components and equipment of American origin. In three years the company plans to master the “sovereign” production of 28 nm components. Industry experts believe that any Chinese company cannot do without imported materials and equipment in the production of semiconductor components for at least another ten years.
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