Report have it that SMIC, Chinese largest chip maker have stolen 7nm chip idea to develop its domestic chip
China desperately wants to be autonomous in developing and creating its own chipsets, but there is one problem that hinders China's ambition: the US has tried to prevent it by banning chip manufacturers from selling them.

China's largest chipset maker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) is currently only able to manufacture chips using the old 14nm process of a few years ago while other manufacturers such as TSMC, Samsung are currently using this technology. advanced 5nm process and is about to transition to 3nm later this year.

This is important because the lower the progress, the higher the number of transistors that can be fitted inside the chip. And the more transistors inside the chip, the more powerful and energy efficient that chip is.

With the 15 billion transistors in Apple's A15 Bionic, you're sure to ask how the components in the chip are manufactured. The answer is a machine manufactured by Dutch company ASML, an ultraviolet lithography (EUV) printer.

The EUV machine is capable of etching circuit designs on semiconductor wafers that are a fraction of the thickness of a human hair. The machine has been credited with keeping Moore's law alive as the number of transistors in the chip would double every year.

In 2020, an export rule change implemented by the US Department of Commerce blocked chipset makers around the world from selling cutting-edge chips to China's Huawei if those manufacturers developed chips using America's technology. As a result, Huawei was forced to use Qualcomm's current Snapdragon chip that has been modified to run only on 4G networks.

In the past, the US has also taken steps to prevent SMIC from buying EUV machines from ASML to prevent China from producing advanced chips. But according to SMIC's announcement last September, the company announced that it has spent billions of dollars building new devices and plans to continue developing 28nm chips used for Wi-Fi chips and other devices. integrated circuits.

What's more interesting is that SMIC says that they are developing a process called N+1 that can compete with 7nm chips. And all of this was achieved without an EUV machine.

Now, a company called TechInsights says that it has discovered that SMIC has "stealed" its 7nm process to build a Bitcoin mining CPU. After viewing this CPU design, TechInsights said, initial images show it to be a close copy of the 7nm process technology developed by TSMC.

This may not be too surprising since TSMC has sued SMIC twice for copying its technology. If TechInsights is correct, SMIC can make 7nm chips. As profit may not matter for a company like SMIC that considers companies under the Chinese government. As a result, it is feared that SMIC could move closer to TSMC and Samsung would mean that China could come on par with the world's production of process CPUs.


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