When someone mentions the 5nm process node, the foundry that comes to mind is TSMC with its N5 process which was used to fabricate Apple’s M1 SoC. Most of the equipment needed to produce the cutting-edge 5nm and 7nm wafers has been purchased from ASML, a Dutch company. Other than TSMC, Samsung is the foundry capable of manufacturing chips based on a 7nm or 5nm-class process node. It’s assumed that both Samsung and TSMC acquired the equipment needed for producing their most advanced chips from ASML. However, that might not be the case. According to Chinese semiconductor equipment maker AMEC, its high-end etching equipment is already in use in one of its client’s 5nm foundry.
AMEC chairman and managing director, revealed in a presentation today the advances the company has made over the course of the last year. He claims that the company’s plasma etching equipment has been in use by an international tier-one customer to fabricate chips based on the primitive 65nm process, all the way to the most advanced 7nm and 5nm nodes.
AMEC’s 12-inch etching equipment is being used by one of the leading foundries to fabricate its most advanced 5nm and sub-5nm chips. This can only mean Samsung or TSMC, both of which are presenting working on the mass production of their respective 5nm nodes and the risk production of the upcoming 3nm nodes.
AMEC’s revenue from etching equipment grew by a whopping 58.49% in 2020 (YoY), reaching RMB 1,289 billion or $197 million for the fiscal year 2020.