A ceremony was held in Tianjin, northern China, to mark the start of moving equipment into a significant expansion of at its 200mm wafer fab there, Digitimes said. The fab – in the Xiqing Economic Technological Development Area – already has a manufacturing capacity of 45,000 wafer starts per month.
In October 2016, the China-based IC foundry disclosed plans to commence an expansion that would take production capacity to 150,000 wafer starts per month and claimed this would make the Tianjin plant the world's largest 200mm-diameter wafer fab.
There have been numerous reports of capacity shortages for so-called more-than-Moore technologies that are made on 200mm-diameter, and sometimes smaller, wafers. The Tianjin plant is being set up for the production of fingerprint sensors, power management IC, mixed-signal chips, automotive electronics- and IoT-related solutions.
SMIC has reportedly set a capital expenditure budget for 2018 of $1.9 billion, down from the $2.4billion it spent in 2017. The money is earmarked for 14nm FinFET R&D and for expansions of both 200mm and 300mm wafer fabs.
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