SMIC set to build China's largest fab yet

Ibm 2nm Chip
Ibm 2nm Chip (Image credit: IBM)

What you need to know

  • SMIC is a Chinese semiconductor manufacturer.
  • It's committed to building the largest wafer fabrication facility in China.
  • The project will cost just under $9 billion.

Countries are in an all-out race to be technologically self-sufficient, a race that has only intensified under the pressure of global semiconductor shortages. Many nations remain strained for supplies of tech products. With production pipelines of everything from the best graphics cards to the best Windows laptops delayed due to chip shortages, countries such as China are working hard to build up independence when it comes to satisfying their citizens' needs.

In response to the growth in the industry and the need for more chips than ever before, Chinese semiconductor company SMIC plans to open the biggest wafer fabrication facility in the country, which will cost $8.87 billion (via Tom's Hardware). It's a joint venture between SMIC and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lin-Gang Special Area Administration ("Lin-Gang FTZ Administration," for short).

This fab will be able to produce 100,000 12-inch wafers every month, with a focus on nodes 28 nanometers and above.

As has been previously documented, SMIC is on the way up as China bolsters its efforts to outpace the U.S. in the chipmaking war. The country's goal is to shed its ties to the U.S. so that it cannot be handicapped by sanctions, among other reasons.

But the U.S. is fighting to stay in the game as well, with its government dedicating funds to spur semiconductor activity. Many countries are employing similar methods to ensure the semiconductor shortage is resolved as quickly as possible. The only question is which countries will be dominant and integral to the world's overall supply when the shortages are over.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • China will undoubtedly outpace the rest of the world, and the US, with its dirty tactics, will lose its lead in the chip industry.
  • Which lead is China going to get?
    You did read the part about "28 nanometers"?
    They're looking to build chips for consumer electronics (and maybe) military devices, not export.
    Self sufficiency is, in this case, reasonable even if built off (yes) stolen IP.
    At least they won't be competing with western fabs for chips for cars, fridges, TVs, etc.
    Now, if they start building 5nm chips in '22, it'll be time to worry...
    Just remember the Chinese economy (like russian aerospace) has to be taken with a pound of salt to counter the nationalist/xenophobic posturing.
  • It stands to reason they would want to have self sufficiency for all chip manufacturing.
    Of course its going to be for export aswell.
    This was always going to happen, but the West's nationalistic and xenophobic attitude has accelerated this.
    If people want someone to blame, then that falls on the US and mainstream media.
  • Uh, no.
    If the west hadn't bent over to *help* China hoping they would play be the rules, China would still be back in the 80's. They are the xenophobic expansionist ones, just ask Vietnam (irony, is a witch), Phillipines, India, and every country bordering China.
    China was invited to be a "regular" member of the international community but instead has has been *openly* been ramping up to make war. And not just economic, as they have so far. As for SMIC exports, even the EU has a fair supply of older generation chips like the ones they are looking to produce; it is after all 10 year old tech. Ditto in the US. They might eventually "acquire" newer processes with direct export potential but for now those chips (if any good) will go the way of their local x86 production, to feed local consumption.
  • Brexit is looking to be even more and more dumber mistake by the day.
  • Don't be so sure.
    Things take time to settle down and we *are* in a pandemic.
    The UK has an excellent tech sector that was being stifled by EU rules designed to protect old school industries. Notice that the only non-US consumer CPU architecture of any consequence is ARM. Or look to aerospace and projects like OneWeb. Or remember the early days of Microcomputers, with the Sinclair, Acorn, BBC Micro, etc. And a lot of language work has come from the UK. Being part of a herd isn't always the best way to go. It isn't even the safest path.
    It *could* get bungled but that isn't guaranteed. Do note that the rest of the "anglosphere* (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and yes, the US) all have vibrant forward-looking economies unlike, say, France with its concept of national champions. The UK was always an odd economic and cultural fit among the likes of Italy, Spain, and Greece, to say nothing of France. Neighbors they might be but hardly bosom buddies as the recent vaccine war has demonstrated.
  • "it could get bungled" - is my biggest concern. this government has shown itself to be utterly incompetent at every conceivable level, while siphoning off millions to companies run by their mates based on spurious policies, for no reason. reality is i dont think they give a fuck if brexit "works" or not
  • What if your readers are not chip manufacturing industry insiders and do not know what the term "fab" refers to?
    Think about those things when writing an article. I shouldn't even be the one telling you.
  • It's in the article multiple times. "Wafer fabrication facility." You don't need to be an industry insider to read the article carefully and learn the terms.