Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) has begun commercial production at a 300-millimetre semiconductor fabrication (fab) plant in Beijing.
This is the first such facility to open in China.
The announcement marks an important milestone for China's chip-making industry. Compared with the 200mm wafers used by the previous generation of chip-making equipment, 300mm wafers have a surface area that is 2.25 times bigger, allowing more chips to be produced with each wafer, and help reduce production costs.
Fabs that use 300mm wafers are among the most advanced chip plants in the world and generally use the most advanced chip-making processes and equipment. Two of SMIC's larger rivals, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and United Microelectronics, also have 300mm fabs in production.
SMIC's fab will initially produce dynamic Ram using 0.10-micron and 0.11-micron processes for two customers, Elpida Memory and Infineon Technologies.
The plant will help boost SMIC's production capacity from the equivalent of 100,000 200mm wafers per month in September, to 125,000 wafers per month by the end of this year, said Reiko Chang, a spokeswoman for SMIC in Shanghai.
In addition to this unit, SMIC plans to open two more 300mm fabs in Beijing. Those plants are expected to begin production in 2005 and 2006, Chang said.
Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service