China’s core dilemma: design, packaging and testing have reached 5nm, but manufacturing is stuck at 14nm and cannot move forward

What is the hottest technology industry in the past two years? Some people may say that it is 5G and non-universe, but these are nothing compared to chips.

In 2020, there will be more than 20,000 new chip companies in China, and as of the end of the third quarter this year, more than 30,000 chip companies have been added. The number of new chip companies last year and this year is close to the sum of the past 10 years. The investment in the chip field has also doubled in the past two years, far more popular than 5G, Meta Universe and other industries.

With the increase in enterprises and investment, the development of China Chip is also very fast. For example, from January to September this year, we produced a total of 267.48 billion integrated circuits, an increase of 43.1% year-on-year.

At the same time, from January to September, we exported 233.98 billion integrated circuits, an increase of 28.4% year-on-year, and the export value was US$108.62 billion (693.2 billion yuan), an increase of 33.1% year-on-year. These are far higher. At the global average level.

But behind these, I think there is still a dilemma facing China’s core, that is, we have already reached 5nm in design, packaging and testing, but manufacturing is stuck at 14nm and cannot move forward.

Let’s talk about the design first. Last year, Huawei designed the 5nm chip Kirin 9000, and Huawei HiSilicon is continuing to develop it. The design level exceeds 5nm, and it is possible to reach 4nm. After all, Qualcomm and MediaTek have launched 4nm chips this year. .

In terms of packaging and testing, Huatian Technology said last year that it could package and test 5nm chips. Now companies like Jiangsu Changdian and Huatian Technology have long been able to package and test 5nm chips.

However, in terms of manufacturing, the strongest SMIC can only manufacture 14nm chips, while Hua Hong Group can only manufacture 28nm chips.

More importantly, we can’t buy the EUV lithography machine of ASML at present, and SMIC has also been “blacklisted” by the United States. Chip manufacturing equipment of 10nm and below is difficult to buy.

So within a short period of time, for example, SMIC could not enter 10nm at all, and could only be trapped at 14nm, while Hua Hong was farther away from 10nm and failed to achieve 14nm.

And chip manufacturing is the most important part of the chip industry. Manufacturing can’t keep up, and it’s useless to design, package and test better. This is the current dilemma of China Chip.

To solve this dilemma, it is not easy, because this requires the rise of domestic semiconductor equipment, materials and other supply chains, entering below 10nm, such as the most important domestic EUV lithography machine, I don’t know when it will be realized.

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