We all know that if you are behind, you will be beaten! And I believe everyone can still remember the experience of ZTE. Although it was reconciled in the end, the price paid was not small. Now the mainstream mobile phone chip processor manufacturers are mainly Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, Huawei, and Apple. And our country’s best performance in mobile phone chip research is undoubtedly Huawei. Xiaomi is also involved in this area, but the results achieved are not satisfactory. The most fundamental reason is to burn money!
According to the latest article by the president of digitimes asia, they evaluated the construction cost of semiconductor wafer fabs. After the use of 12-inch wafers from the 90nm process, the construction cost of each generation of the process has increased sharply, and the 28nm process will cost 6 billion to build a factory. US dollars, 14nm process requires 10 billion US dollars.
The research and development of the chip is mainly divided into two parts, design and manufacturing (if packaging and testing are added), chip design is a work that mainly relies on software. This requires the purchase of various software from the three major international EDA companies. The license alone Very expensive. Chip manufacturing is even more costly. Since the entire chip manufacturing process has hundreds of processes, the price of various machines is not sky-high, but it is also many times more expensive than software. For example, an immersion lithography machine of ASML, a local tyrant company, required for lithography alone would cost about 60 million US dollars, which does not include maintenance and other material costs. So you need a chip to tape out several million, but it may not be successful. This is hundreds of times more difficult than making a software that can be used for continuous iteration.
If it is a node below 10nm, the 7nm process will cost more than 12 billion U.S. dollars, and the 5nm node will cost 16 billion U.S. dollars, or about 101.9 billion yuan.
Hundreds of billions of investment is built with a monthly capacity of 50K, which means that it produces 50,000 wafers per month. If higher production capacity is pursued, a large factory with 100,000 wafers will have to double to more than 30 billion US dollars. The money speed is terrible.
The cost of building factories with advanced processes such as 5nm has directly caused more and more companies to fail to follow up the investment, because the investment may not be able to pay back, and Samsung has been unable to catch up with TSMC. The main reason is that Samsung’s chip foundry revenue is less than 15 billion. U.S. dollars, this kind of revenue capacity cannot guarantee that they will invest in a new generation of fabs. They can only lead at one or two nodes and seize one or two customers.