ASML said: It is possible to sell lithography machines in China without US approval, but… | Qooah
October 19, 2020
The lithography machine is the core equipment for manufacturing chips, and the lithography machine market is almost divided up by the three factories of ASML in the Netherlands, Nikon and Canon in Japan. Among them, the rising star ASML has the most advanced lithography machine technology. According to reports, ASML lithography machine market share is as high as 89%. The remaining two have 8% and 3%, which add up to only 11%. At present, the most advanced EUV lithography machine market, ASML even Is exclusive. Recently, it was reported that ASML is expected to export lithography machines to China.
A lithography machine is composed of tens of thousands of parts, and the price of a lithography machine can be as high as over 100 million US dollars. The current lithography machine is mainly divided into two types of DUV lithography machine and EUV lithography machine. Among them, EUV lithography machine has the most advanced technology and is an important tool for breaking through the 5nm wafer process node.
On October 14, ASML CFO Roger Dassen told the media that ASML can export DUV (deep ultraviolet) lithography machines from the Netherlands to China without a US license. As a more advanced EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography machine, it cannot be exported to China. The reason is that the relevant technology or parts are exported from the United States and require US approval.
For this DUV lithography machine is expected to be exported to China, there are two major reasons:
1. The market demand in China is huge. According to data from the General Administration of Customs, China imported a total of US$333.46 billion in integrated circuits from January to August this year, a 22.5% increase year-on-year. Such a huge market can bring more revenue to the company.
2. At present, China has increased its investment in the semiconductor industry. The lithography process has broken through to the 28nm process, and it does not make much sense to block and restrict the Chinese market.
But don’t be too happy in China. Everyone knows that DUV lithography machines cannot produce 14nm or above wafers in this era. (It should be accurate to say that liquid immersion DUV can produce 7nm wafers after multiple exposures. Low and unstable), EUV lithography machine is necessary to break through 14nm. If EUV lithography machine is not imported, it can only produce wafers of 14nm or below. In addition, the materials required for the production of chips are still limited by American technology. Without these materials, chips above 40nm cannot be produced. Therefore, China’s strongest chip manufacturer SMIC also stated that if they do not use American technology at all, they are currently It can only be produced to the 40nm level.
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