DIGITIMES: Chinese mainland foundries are focusing on expansion in power semiconductors
Chinese article by 孙乐
English Editor 张未名
07-14 16:24

By Kate Yuan

(JW Insights) Jul 14 -- Major Chinese mainland foundries are ramping up their production expansion in power semiconductors to achieve domestic substitution in "bottlenecked" fields amid mounting external restrictions, DIGITIMES Asia reported on July 11.

The global wafer fab capacity will continue to expand between 2022 and 2026, reaching 96 fabs. In terms of distribution, it's still a trend for newly-built wafer fabs to lean toward the Asia-Pacific region. 65 fabs will be located in the Asia-Pacific region, with 26 in China’s mainland, according to SEMI.

These 26 wafer fabs are mostly focused on expanding power semiconductors and mature process capacity. Recently, the most noteworthy investment is a $3.2 billion 8-inch SiC wafer fab jointly constructed by Sanan and STMicroelectronics, marking a relatively rare case where a Chinese-foreign joint venture successfully went through.

Foundry industry leader SMIC has construction projects for 12-inch production lines with a capacity of approximately 340,000 wafers over the next 5 to 7 years, including projects in Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai. As for its Shaoxing project, there are plans to invest RMB22.2 billion ($3.1 billion) in a 12-inch digital-analog mixed-chip manufacturing project with a monthly capacity of 100,000 wafers over the next 2 to 3 years.

Hua Hong, the number two wafer fab in China, has also recently begun construction on Phase II of its Wuxi site. It's estimated that when both Phase I and II are completed, the site can reach a monthly capacity of 180,000 wafers.

In the near future, Hua Hong, which is preparing for an IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange STAR Market, plans to raise a total of RMB18 billion ($2.52 billion) to invest in the Wuxi project, the optimization and upgrade of its 8-inch fabs, innovative R&D projects for specialized processes, and liquidity supplementation.

CR Micro, which has been cultivating power semiconductors like MOSFET and IGBT for a long time, is also seeing its production capacity grow. CR Micro currently has three 6-inch and two 8-inch production lines. It also has two 12-inch production lines, one already in service while the other is under construction.

Although starting in 2022, the semiconductor industry has shifted from "supply shortage" to "order cancellation," there is still a shortage in the power semiconductor application sector, especially IGBT chips. Industry sources pointed out that China's high-end power chips, particularly in emerging industries like solar power and EVs, are still facing a supply shortage, said the DIGITIMES Asia report.

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