The road to autonomy in China’s semiconductor manufacturing industry is still long

In recent years, due to the continuation of the Sino-US trade war and the technological war, mainland China is devoting its efforts to the development of its own semiconductor industry. However, key Semiconductor equipment such as lithography machines are still severely controlled by others, and the road to independence is still a long way off. .

In terms of lithography machines necessary for semiconductor manufacturing, it is currently mainly divided into DUV and EUV lithography machines. DUV is generally used for the production of chips with a process of 7nm and above, while EUV is mainly used for the production of chips with a cutting-edge process of 7nm and below. At present, the only manufacturer of EUV lithography machines in the world is ASML in the Netherlands. If you want to produce advanced process chips below 7nm, you must have ASML’s EUV lithography machine. At present, due to the obstruction of the United States, Chinese mainland enterprises are still unable to purchase EUV lithography machines.

According to information released by Taiwanese media, the equipment with the highest cost ratio in the semiconductor manufacturing process is lithography equipment, etching equipment, thin film deposition equipment and process testing equipment. These four types of equipment account for about 74% of the cost of all production line equipment. %. Among them, lithography machines account for about 21%, thin film deposition equipment accounts for 22%, etching equipment accounts for 20%, and process inspection equipment accounts for 11%. At present, the localization ratio of these four types of equipment in mainland China is relatively low, of which lithography equipment is less than 1%, process testing equipment is about 2%, etching equipment is about 7%, and thin-film deposition equipment is about 8%.

In addition to chip manufacturing equipment, there are also more important materials. At this stage, the mainland is also quite dependent ON foreign imports. Taking SMIC’s latest 14nm process, some materials are even 100% dependent on imports. Taking ArF photoresist as an example, China currently relies almost on imports, and EUV photoresist has not made a breakthrough.

The report emphasized that even if Chinese manufacturers can obtain advanced process equipment and materials, the key to success in the end depends on chip manufacturing technology. It is not necessary to have equipment and materials to successfully enter the advanced process below 7nm. If only equipment materials can cross the threshold, then GlobalFoundries, UMC and other manufacturers have long caught up with TSMC, but they gave up in the end. It can be seen that the more cutting-edge and advanced process chip manufacturing technology, the higher the threshold, and the higher the yield rate. difficulty.