back to article One of China’s flagship 7nm foundries falls in a hole as funding flees

One of China’s flagship efforts to accelerate its semiconductor industry is floundering in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wuhan Hongxin Project, an effort to create a Chinese-owned 7nm foundry in the city that became the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, started in 2017. But some of the project’s backers have earned …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "published and then took down an assessment of the project that found it has not received around 90 percent of its promised $20bn funding."

    Estimated cost for an operational 12-16nm fab is US$5bn although that's likely the marginal cost of adding the equipment/facilities/people to an existing process/R&D operation so likely significantly underestimates costs for a new entrant.

    The equivalent for a 7-10nm fab is US$20bn.

    I'm not sure this was ever a viable fab at the stated process nodes outside of dreams. More likely it was a 28nm-32nm facility hoping to rapidly evolve but being uncompetitive in a very crowded market.

    1. aki009

      Add in the corruption factor

      If the project was budgeted for $20B, and given China's typical corruption factor that sucks up to 50% of the allotted funds, this thing was only a $10-15B project to begin with. Also, this could be a play for funding from the central government, so the party can continue.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Add in the corruption factor

        If only China had a strong leader who could ban foreign competitors and funnel unlimited public money to favorite projects

  2. John Savard

    Puzzling

    If a lot of the most expensive part of the project, the actual equipment to make 7nm chips, is there, but now things have stopped so as to prevent a functioning facility from being built around the equipment... if China is serious about having the ability to make advanced chips itself, I expect the Chinese authorities to make short work of any local dispute that stands in the way of so important a national goal.

    Of course, the possibility is that this project is actually a hoax, a scam, and it's been detected before more than $2 billion was wasted on it. So I presume the Chinese central authorities will investigate that possibility before intervening. But if it isn't a scam, it's unlikely to be allowed to die wastefully.

  3. NeilPost Silver badge

    Intel

    Obviously a desperate Intel will take this on and sink the money to further compound their woes and inability to make anything as small as TSMC or Samsung can.

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