Huawei Capable of Producing 5nm Chips, According to Former TSMC Research Vice President

Huawei Capable of Producing 5nm Chips, According to Former TSMC Research Vice President

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Huawei es capaz de fabricar chips a 5 nm según el ex vicepresidente de investigación de TSMC

Burn Lin, the renowned “chip guru” and former Vice President of Research and Development at TSMC, revealed that it would not be surprising if Huawei manages to manufacture 5nm chips. Lin is known as the inventor of immersion lithography.

Immersion lithography involves submerging semiconductors in a liquid, typically water, to expose them to shorter wavelengths of light than can be achieved by exposing the semiconductor to light through the air. This results in improved resolution and allows for the production of smaller, more space-efficient components.

Huawei manufacturing 5nm chips will only be a matter of money

Huawei made significant noise with its 7nm Kirin 9000S SoC manufactured by SMIC. The “guru” now indicates that existing DUV equipment will enable Huawei to leap from 7nm to 5nm chips. However, while it is feasible to squeeze the current equipment, Huawei will have to spend large amounts of money to make this possible. Given the success of the Huawei Mate P60 and the development of the Mate P70, Huawei will likely make it happen at any cost.

Of course, while next year we will have three different Huawei Mate 70s, what matters is the SoC integrated into these phones, which is still unknown. According to the guru, SMIC’s current DUV lithographic machines will allow Huawei to jump to 5nm, but the move will be expensive. This would also result in a low yield rate, limiting the number of Mate 70 devices the company can launch.

Although the Huawei Mate 60 was a sales success, production limited those sales. Huawei may not want history to repeat itself with its next flagship. Therefore, barring any surprises, Huawei will likely remain at 7nm next year due to a foreseeable performance improvement from SMIC. By performance, we mean the number of functional chips each wafer can accommodate. In this sense, SMIC’s 5nm process is unattractive due to a predictably low yield rate and high manufacturing costs.

Without access to lithographic machines, availability or high prices must be chosen

Of course, if Huawei or SMIC could access more lithographic equipment, the story would change significantly. But for now, with U.S. sanctions, China’s government must continue investing billions of dollars to ensure not only China’s technological independence but also to achieve cutting-edge manufacturing processes.

It is logical to expect a minor revision of the Kirin 9000S. Access to 5nm would not only limit the number of devices but also make them more expensive. It will be interesting to see what Huawei does to continue stealing market share from Apple and Samsung next year.

This article first appeared on El Chapuzas Informático, stating that Huawei is capable of manufacturing 5nm chips, according to the former Vice President of Research at TSMC.

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