As per sources, China’s largest foundry, SMIC will commence 7nm chip production in 2021 for low-power devices. These will allow local smartphone manufacturers including Huawei and its semi-conductor division HiSilicon to stay competitive, if not ahead of the curve.
At present, most flagship SoCs are being fabbed on TSMC’s 5nm EUV process. These include Apple’s custom silicon and Huawei’s Kirin and Qualcomm’s upcoming SD 875 processors. Granted, SMIC won’t be fabbing the densest and most efficient chips in the industry, but if their 7nm process is comparable to TSMC’s, it will certainly do the job.
At present, TSMC is the leading pure-play foundry. Intel’s 7nm node has been delayed to 2022 while Samsung is still struggling to improve yields of its 5nm chips. Qualcomm recently decided to shift its 5G chip orders (SD 875) from Samsung’s 5nm foundry to TSMC’s. It’s unclear whether poor yields are the reason behind this decision or limited capacity, it’s spells trouble for Samsung any way you look at it.