According to reports, the world’s largest chip machine manufacturer, AMSL in the Netherlands, confirmed that China has ordered a state-of-the-art EUV lithography machine for wafer manufacturing, the buyer is SMIC. This machine is worth 120 million euros, roughly equivalent to SMIC’s last year’s net profit of 126.4 million US dollars. Sources stated that this equipment is expected to be delivered in early 2019.
The lithography machine is a key device for manufacturing MEMS, optoelectronics, and diodes for large-scale integrated circuits. Many of the world’s leading chip manufacturers such as Intel, Samsung, and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) have already started to test the use of this EUV device to produce chips. Placing more transistors in a smaller chip area will allow faster computing devices and it is estimated that the first batch of finished products will be produced by the end of this year.
Analysts believe that this machine will helps to promote China's independent research and development of semiconductor production. For ASML, which has an annual turnover of 9 billion euros, the share of orders from China is small, but this shows a trend that China is about to play a role in the chip market in near future and no longer rely on foreign products.
There was a rumor that based on the Versat van Wassenaar agreement, the Netherlands could not sell lithography machines to China. ASML stated that the company treats customers worldwide, including Chinese customers, on an equal footing, and has not restricted the sale of EUV lithography machines to Chinese customers under the Wassenaar Agreement.