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TrendForce Reports XMC to Be China’s Memory Base as It Gathers Technologies and Coordinates Nation’s DRAM Industry Development

29 June 2015 Semiconductors TrendForce

On October 14, 2014, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the establishment of the National Integrated Circuitry Industry Investment Fund. This announcement signaled China’s intent to create a competitive domestic semiconductor sector, starting with the DRAM industry. Since the revelation of the policy, six major Chinese regional governments have been gathering technological, human and financial resources as they sought to attract the DRAM industry to settle in their provinces. The region that secures the DRAM production base is expected to become the heart of the country’s semiconductor sector. 

After months of competition, MIIT’s semiconductor division led by its director general Ding Wenwu has set its sight on Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, as the center for DRAM industry development. The city’s own semiconductor company, Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing (XMC) will spearhead the project and serve as the focal point of investments. Zhao Haijun, COO and executive VP at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), is reported to lead XMC in fundraising. DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports several domestic tech companies and investment groups will be joining MITT’s IC industry fund in this investment project, including SMIC, Hubei Science and Technology Investment Group, and Hua Capital. The Wuhan venture will be the first official undertaking in the development of China’s DRAM industry. Its goals are to eventually raise US$24 billion and create a long-term target capacity of 300K wafer starts per month. 

Set to become China’s memory base, XMC will gather DRAM, 3D-NAND and NOR under one roof 

Established in 2006, XMC was an important strategic investment project backed by Hubei province and Wuhan city. The company’s 12-inch wafer fab, which was completed and began production in 2008, initially operated under SMIC’s ownership. When SMIC gave up ownership in 2013, XMC became an independent foundry supported by the city authority. The company’s management team is composed of industry veterans with solid technological background. Occupying roughly 87 acres of Wuhan’s New Technology Development Zone, XMC’s 12-inch wafer fab is currently the company’s only operating fab. XMC’s earlier products were NOR flash memory. Starting this year, however, XMC has been developing 3D-NAND flash technology in collaboration with Spansion, a U.S.-based IC solution provider. 

As its fab is nearly at full capacity, XMC would need to build another 12-inch wafer fab as to accommodate the additional DRAM capacity load and satisfy potential demands. DRAMeXchange expects XMC to have at least two 12-inch wafer fabs as it turns into a DRAM production center. Moreover, XMC will lead China’s semiconductor industry as it is draws in DRAM, 3D-NAND flash and NOR technologies. 

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