China’s state-backed funds provided $2.25 billion into a Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) wafer plant to support advanced-chip making as the U.S. is tightening technology restrictions on the Asian country.
SMIC plant’s registered capital jumps from $3.5 billion to $6.5 billion after the investment, the company announced in on Friday.
The chipmaker’s stake in the Shanghai facility will drop from 50.1% to 38.5%, it said. The plant has capacity to produce 6,000 14-nanometer wafers a month and plans to boost that to 35,000.
The new investment came as Washington moved to prevent sales to Huawei Technologies Co. by chipmakers using U.S. technology. The Commerce Department on Friday said it would require licenses before allowing U.S. technology to be used by the Chinese company or its 114 subsidiaries, including its chip-design unit HiSilicon.
China hopes that local chipmakers can reduce the country’s reliance on U.S. technology.
Shanghai-based SMIC is also said to have started mass production of the Huawei Kirin 710A chip based on its 14-nanometer semiconductor technology. The chip is clocked at 2.0 GHz, domestic financial news site chinastarmarket.cn reported on Monday.
Huawei's chip arm HiSilicon declined to confirm or deny the report.
The Kirin 710 is a relatively old design, which combines four Cortex-A73 CPU cores on the same die with four Cortex-A53 cores. But still, if the report is true, the Kirin 710A is the first pure Chinese chip with independent intellectual property rights.
Previously, all chips for Huawei mobile devices were designed by HiSilicon, and then manufactured by TSMC.
But US has applied pressure to TSMC in order to prevent the foundry from selling chips to Huawei.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, which unveiled a $12 billion investment plan in Arizona on Friday, has not been given any assurances that it will be granted a license to allow it to sell U.S. technology to China’s Huawei, a senior U.S. official said.