[News] Big Fund II Infuses HLMC with an Additional USD 1 Billion, Potentially Eyeing on More Advanced Processes

2023-12-08 Semiconductors editor

The investment momentum of China’s Big Fund Phase II shows no signs of slowing down, with its latest investment directed at Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Co., Ltd. (HLMC), a subsidiary of Huahong Group.

According to Sina Finance’s report, this substantial investment of up to USD 1 billion will support HLMC in continuous development of advanced process technologies and enhancing its manufacturing capabilities.

Given industry reports from as early as 2020 suggesting HLMC has progressed to the 14nm process, this investment from the Big Fund II signifies China’s commitment to even more advanced processes below 10nm in pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency.

Recently, Huahong Corporation announced that, to accelerate the research and development as well as mass production of the 40nm featured IC process on the 12-inch wafer production line in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, jointly established by its wholly-owned subsidiary Huahong Hongli and other joint venture partners, Huahong Hongli signed a “Technology Development Agreement” with HLMC on December 1, 2023.

The agreement stipulates that HLMC will provide Huahong Hongli with 40nm logic fundamentals and related process technology, along with corresponding technical services, consultation, and support.

In contrast to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), historically positioned as China’s leading foundry to compete with TSMC, HLMC has maintained a more discreet profile.

Officially capable of manufacturing chips on 22nm- and 28nm-class fabrication technologies, rumors circulated in the market as early as 2020 that HLMC could produce chips on a 14nm FinFET process nodes using deep ultraviolet (DUV).

Moreover, leveraging DUV multi-patterning methods could potentially drive production for advanced processes below 10nm, contributing to China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency.

HLMC increased its registered capital from approximately CNY 22 billion to around CNY 28.4 billion, with Big Fund Phase II holding a stake exceeding 10%. This data indicates Big Fund Phase II’s confidence in HLMC’s development, providing substantial financial support to bolster its progress in semiconductor processes.

The investment direction of Big Fund Phase II differs from that of Big Fund Phase I, which primarily focusing on key industries such as chip manufacturing. It is more diversified, spanning multiple areas, including wafer manufacturing, integrated circuit design tools, chip design, packaging testing, equipment, components, materials, and applications.

Please note that this article cites information from Sina Finance

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(Photo credit: Hua Hong Group)