China is sweeping semiconductor production equipment from all over the world, heating up the global semiconductor war. U.S. sanctions against China appear to be not enough to dampen the country’s will to promote the semiconductor industry. Even if China cannot produce cutting-edge semiconductors, it is seeking to seize hegemony in such sectors as automotive semiconductors, which are in a deepening supply shortage. As a result, Korean chipmakers such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which are currently constructing new fabs, are also on alert with respect to securing equipment.
Chinese semiconductor companies are currently buying in advance equipment needed for chip production lines. “Chinese companies are purchasing five to six additional devices in addition to what they exactly need,” said an industry insider. “Some of them doubled their orders,” another official said.
In the first quarter, China ranked first in purchases of semiconductor production equipment from the United States and Japan. In fact, Lam Research, a U.S. company, logged 32 percent of its sales from Chinese companies in the first quarter. The sales figure includes sales to non-Chinese companies such as Samsung Electronics’ and SK Hynix’s plants in China, but industry experts believe that equipment purchases by Chinese native companies also soared. In particular, SMIC, which represents China’s foundry industry, contacted Korean semiconductor equipment manufacturers to minimize the impact of the U.S. sanctions.
The most important part of semiconductor plant construction is securing equipment. In particular, 60 to 70 percent of the equipment required for frontend chip manufacturing is dominated by American and Japanese companies.
Samsung Electronics is also watching Chinese companies’ moves as it needs to secure semiconductor equipment on a large scale to ramp up the production capacity of the Pyeongtaek plant. The company’s high-ranking checked the equipment supply situation in the United States last week. Business Korea