Toshiba to provide SRAM knowledge to China's SMIC

Toshiba Corp. has signed its first semiconductor production technology transfer deal with a Chinese chip-maker, the company announced Thursday.

The deal provides Shanghai-based start-up Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) with production know-how for static RAM (SRAM) chips at the 0.21 micron level. Under the terms of the deal, Toshiba has rights to 2,000 wafers per month from SMIC, should it require them, and the Chinese company is free to sell excess chips to its own customers. Production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2002.

SRAM is most commonly used in the cellular telephone handsets and Toshiba said the deal will help it benefit as the Chinese market for cell-phone handsets grows even larger. At present, Toshiba produces SRAM chips at its Yokkaichi plant in Japan, now the company's only semiconductor manufacturing base, at the deal with SMIC is intended to supplement that production.

"SRAM is a key component in mobile telephones and so we had to secure some manufacturing capability in China (that will supply chips) with a low price," said Kenichi Sugiyama, a spokesman for Toshiba. SMIC officials could not be reached for comment.

But Toshiba has its eye on more than just cell-phone memory chips. The company said the deal is "expected to open the way to additional potential technology and outsourcing partnerships in other product areas as well."

The value of the deal was not disclosed although Toshiba said it is accepting a "small stake" in SMIC as partial payment. Incorporated in the Cayman Islands, SMIC recently completed a US$1 billion financing round that included Shanghai Industrial Holdings Ltd., Goldman Sachs, H&Q Asia Pacific Ltd., Walden International and a group of Singaporean companies as investors, according to a company statement. SMIC said it is also seeking $480 million from domestic banks.

The company is currently building the first three of a planned six wafer fabs in Shanghai and production at the first fab began in September this year. The three fabs will have, in total, a monthly production capacity of 1.4 million 8-inch (200-mm) wafers per year using a 0.25-micron production process, according to one investor. SMIC is the first contract chip maker, or foundry, to begin production in China. However, several other groups have plans for similar ventures. They are hoping to mirror the success of Taiwan, whose semiconductor industry began with contract chip making plants and blossomed into one of the world's major semiconductor production bases.

In nearby South Korea, contract chip makers are also beginning to appear and Toshiba was also quick to enter that market when it stuck a similar technology transfer deal with Dongbu Electronics Co. Ltd., the country's first foundry. Toshiba also has a technology transfer deal with Israel's Tower Semiconductor Ltd. and previously had deals with Taiwan's Winbond Electronics Corp. and Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., although the latter two alliances have ended.

Among Toshiba's Japanese competitors, NEC Corp. has a joint venture semiconductor manufacturing venture in China, Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics Co. Ltd.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?