Naura Technology (formerly Beijing Sevenstar Electronics) has started shipping ion etch equipment for the manufacture of 14nm chips to chipmakers, while Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment (AMEC) is being engaged in the development of etch tools for the production of 5nm chips, according to industry sources.
Naura has also secured continued orders from Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC), the largest China-based pure-play foundry, said the sources. SMIC has become an important client of Naura, which has already obtained orders for advanced-node manufacturing from the foundry's 12-inch fabs, the sources indicated.
SMIC plans to enhance its 28nm process variants to meet customers' various needs, while expanding production capacity at its 12-inch facilities. With China pusing its self-sufficiency rate for production of chipmaking equipment, Naura and other China-based fab toolmakers are being pinpointed as the major beneficiaries of SMIC's 12-inch fab expansion, the sources said.
Naura CEO Zhao Jinrong was quoted in previous reports as saying China's semiconductor equipment industry growth will be driven by the development of the country's homegrown IC industry supply chain. China's self-sufficiency rate for production of semiconductor equipment is still lower than 10%, but the proportion is expected to reach 30% within the next three years, according to Zhao.
Naura's sales generated from the semiconductor sector grew to CNY810 million (US$117 million) in 2016 from CNY520 million in 2015 - a 56.2% jump. The company expects to continue enjoying impressive revenue growth in 2017 driven by new orders.
AMEC is also among SMIC's major equipment suppliers in China. AMEC has been engaged in the development of 5nm etching tools for five years, and is expected to roll out the new product line at the end of 2017, according to industry sources. The availability of AMEC's 5nm etch equipment will be a milestone for China's homegrown chipmaking equipment industry.