The Shanghai government said it aims to achieve “scaled production” of 12-nanometer semiconductors this year, as part of the nationwide effort to strengthen domestic production to cut reliance on imported chips amid ongoing US sanctions that restrict Chinese access to advanced foreign technologies and products, reported the South China Morning Post.
The plan is one of 166 projects put forward for 2021 by the Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission, according to its report to the local legislature. Other major tech-related projects on the list include a digital currency pilot program and the second phase of the Shanghai factory operated by US electric carmaker Tesla.
Gu Wenjun, chief analyst at Shanghai semiconductor research firm ICwise, said he does not think the Shanghai announcement means it will fund a new wafer fab capable of making chips at the 12-nm node, reported the SCMP.
Rather, it is likely that SMIC will be put in charge of the Shanghai project as it can produce chips at the 14-nm and 12-nm nodes “without any serious problems”, according to another China-based semiconductor analyst, who requested anonymity.