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SMIC launches 28nm mobile phone chips

Posted: 14 Aug 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:28nm? Snapdragon 410? 4G?

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) has adopted its 28nm process technology into mainstream smartphones. China's largest semiconductor foundry has successfully manufactured Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 processors using the said technology.

A significant step in the commercial usage of 28nm core chips, the announcement marks a new era of advanced mobile phone chip manufacturing in China. This is another development in the company's collaboration on 28nm, following SMIC's announcement of successfully fabricating Qualcomm Technologies' processors at the end of last year.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processors, with integrated 4G LTE, offer an abundant feature set for high-volume smartphones. Compared with 40nm technologies, processors manufactured on 28nm process technology have twice the logic density, are 20 to 30 per cent faster, and consume 30 to 50 per cent less power.

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Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Dr. Zixue Zhou, chair of SMIC

"The first batch that used SMIC's 28nm node performed well, achieving recognition from Qualcomm Technologies and mobile phone manufacturers," said Dr Tzu-Yin Chiu, CEO and executive director of SMIC. "This is an important moment for the industry's entire ecosystem, because for the first time, China's mainland manufacturers can now introduce mainstream smartphones, which is a result of the close collaboration between SMIC and Qualcomm Technologies."

Playing catch up

SMIC, however, needs to catch up with leading foundry rivals such as Samsung and TSMC, which are ramping 14nm and 16nm FinFET technology this year. TSMC has dominated the 28nm node for nearly five years.

SMIC's most advanced technology node in the second quarter, 40/45nm, accounted for 15.3 per cent of its total revenue, down from 16 per cent in the first quarter this year. Its second-quarter revenue from 55/65nm products also dropped to 25.2 per cent from 26.1 per cent in the first quarter, while the company saw sales gains in less advanced 90nm and 0.13?m products.

SMIC is planning to make its first 14nm FinFET products by 2020, helped by a Chinese government initiative to boost the domestic semiconductor industry. The company said it may be possible to achieve the target sometime ahead of 2020.

In July, TSMC said it is on track with 10nm development for a volume ramp in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company reiterated expectations for its 7nm risk production to start in the first quarter of 2017.

- Stephen Padilla
??With inputs from Alan Patterson

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