Samsung Elec ready to declare 3-nano migration at foundry lines next week

2022.06.22 13:47:55

Samsung Electronics Pyeongtaek complex. [Photo by Samsung Electronics Co.]이미지 확대

Samsung Electronics Pyeongtaek complex. [Photo by Samsung Electronics Co.]

South Korea’s top chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. next week will declare the world’s first start of mass-production of 3-nanometer chipsets at its foundry lines, keeping to its schedule on next-gen migration ahead of foundry competitor TSMC over consigned high-performance premium chips.

According to multiple industry sources on Wednesday, Samsung Electronics is ready to announce the mass-production of 3-nano chipsets based on Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistor technology next week.

GAA refers to a new structural process to enhance performance and efficiency of transistors by reducing chip area to lower power consumption versus existing Fin Field Effect Transistor (FinFET) technology.

Samsung Electronics had showed off a prototype of the world’s first GAA-based 3-nano chip last month when U.S. President Joe Biden visited the company’s Pyeongtaek complex during his Seoul visit.

Samsung Electronics had set target of launching mass production of 3-nano chips applying GAA technology in the first half of 2022 ahead of TSMC, which earlier on in the year said it will mass produce 3-nano chips for Intel in the latter half.

“We are on schedule to begin mass production in the first half,” said an unnamed official from Samsung Electronics.

The assurance of technology edge has given little relief to its stock price that has been testing new 52-week bottoms. Shares of Samsung Electronics were 0.9 percent lower at 58,000 won by midday Wednesday.

There had been speculation that Samsung Electronics could put off mass production of 3-nano chips due to yield issues. Early this year, major clients walked away from Samsung Electronics as it posed yield problems in micro processing foundry.

“Samsung Electronics announcing mass production of 3-nano chips would mean that it has secured certain level of yield,” said an unnamed industry official.

Beating TSMC in nanometer competition can help Samsung Electronics woo new customers and narrow the gap with the Taiwanese dominant foundry pure player.

According to Taiwanese market researcher TrendForce, the Korean tech giant raised $5.3 billion in foundry revenue in the first quarter ended March, down 3.9 percent from the previous three-month period.

Samsung Electronics was the only top 10 global foundry majors whose revenue declined in the January-March period. Its market share also retreated from 18.3 percent to 16.3 percent over the cited period.

TSMC earned $17.5 billion in revenue in the first quarter, up 11.3 percent on quarter. Market dominance strengthened to 53.6 percent from 52.1 percent.

“Samsung Electronics’ successful mass production of 3-nano chips will show it is one step ahead of TSMC in technical skills which would give strong impression on U.S. chip equipment manufacturers and customers,” said Park Jae-keun, head of Korea Society of Semiconductors and Display Technology.

Samsung Electronics is known to have secured clients for 3-nano application.

The memory giant has also been on schedule in facility expansion to achieve its goal to strengthen foundry business as strong as mass-market memory chips.

Samsung Electronics embarked on the construction of its $17 billion foundry plant in Taylor, Texas. Once complete, the 5 million square meter plant – which will begin operations in the second half of 2024 – will produce advanced system chips.

“Samsung Electronics would have to prove stable yield of GAA-based 3-nano processing to steal clients from TSMC,” said an unnamed industry official.

By Pulse

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