[News] Intel Promotes 1.8-Nanometer Process in South Korea, Reportedly Pledges Various Benefits to Startups

2024-02-27 Semiconductors editor

Intel, according to South Korea’s media outlet TheElec, is actively promoting its 18A process (equivalent to 1.8 nanometers) to South Korean fabless chip companies.

The report cites industry sources revealing that Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger personally engaged with senior executives of these South Korean fabless IC design companies last year. He briefed them on the latest developments in Intel’s foundry plans.

The same source further indicates that Intel is vigorously marketing the 18A process to South Korean chip startups and pledges various benefits to them.

Last week, Intel unveiled its 14A process, equivalent to a 1.4-nanometer process, and announced that chips utilizing this process will enter mass production in 2027. Intel has also announced that it has secured USD 15 billion in orders during its event Intel Foundry Direct Connect at San Jose.

Intel continues to emphasize its goal of becoming the second-largest foundry by 2030, aiming to surpass current foundry runner-up Samsung Electronics and trailing behind market leader TSMC.

As for the mass production of the 18A process, Intel has indicated that it is scheduled to commence by the end of this year. This signifies that Intel’s process technology will surpass both Samsung and TSMC, as the latter two are currently preparing to launch 2-nanometer processes.

Samsung is planning to utilize the gate-all-around (GAA) transistor architecture, initially developed for the 3-nanometer process, for its upcoming 2-nanometer process. On the other hand, TSMC and Intel have opted to employ the fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) structure for their 3-nanometer chips.

Currently, these three major players are actively vying for customers. A report from the Business Korea has indicated that Samsung Electronics recently secured an order from the Japanese AI startup Preferred Networks (PFN) to produce semiconductors based on the 2-nanometer process.

Per the report, while this Japanese company initially planned to use TSMC’s process for producing their Gen 2 AI chips, they will now transition to Samsung’s 2-nanometer process.

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(Photo credit: Intel)

Please note that this article cites information from TheElec and Businesskorea.