[News] China Imports 32 Lithography Systems in 2 Months, Shanghai and Beijing Top Buyers

2024-03-27 Semiconductors editor

Despite Western chip equipment export bans, China reportedly has imported 32 lithography systems from the Netherlands in Jan-Feb 2024, marking a 256.1% YoY growth.

According to China Customs data, Jan-Feb 2024 imports from the Netherlands totaled USD 1.057 billion, up 256.1% YoY, but down 44.8% QoQ, with 32 systems imported. January saw USD 666 million imports, up 522% YoY, down 41% QoQ, with 20 systems; February recorded USD 390 million imports, up 105.9% YoY, down 41.4% QoQ, with 12 systems.

From the data, it’s evident that in 2024, China’s imports of lithography systems from the Netherlands saw significant growth compared to the same period last year, but a noticeable decline from the previous quarter. In the first two months, China’s imports of exposure machines from the Netherlands decreased by 44.8% compared to December last year.

Per a report from IJIWEI, the average price of lithography systems imported from the Netherlands to China has increased from USD 10 million per unit since May last year to USD 30 million per unit. As of the first two months of 2024, the average price remains above USD 30 million.

According to a report by China’s Media outlet ICsmart, in terms of imports based on domestic registration locations, from January to February 2024, a total of 9 provinces and cities imported lithography systems. The top 5 importers were Shanghai (USD 303 million), Beijing (USD 145 million), Shandong (USD 131 million), Sichuan (USD 131 million), and Guangdong (USD 117 million), accounting for 28.7%, 13.8%, 12.4%, 12.4%, and 11.1% respectively, totaling 78.4%.

In June 2023, the Netherlands announced restrictions on the export of chip manufacturing equipment. According to relevant export regulations, it became difficult for Chinese companies to obtain export licenses starting from January 1, 2024.

Thus, since the second half of 2023, there has been explosive growth in the amount of exposure machines imported from the Netherlands. As per a previous report from South China Morning Post, in November 2023, China witnessed a remarkable 1050% surge in the import value of crucial chip manufacturing lithography equipment from the Netherlands.

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(Photo credit: ASML)

Please note that this article cites information from IJIWEIICsmart and South China Morning Post.