China's chip breakthrough poses strategic dilemma

How much time and money will SMIC sink into producing its new semiconductor at scale?

SMIC has been open about its quest for 7nm technology. PHOTO: REUTERS
Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

(FINANCIAL TIMES) - A breakthrough by China's largest chipmaker revealed last month triggered a gasp of surprise among observers outside the industry. But the move by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) to start shipping advanced "7 nanometre" semiconductors had only been a matter of time.

The more interesting question now is how much time and money the company is willing to sink into producing them at scale using a method their international rivals have abandoned for a more efficient one.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.