China’s national chip champions expect to make next-generation smartphone processors as early as this year, despite US efforts to restrict their development of advanced technologies. The country’s biggest chipmaker SMIC has put together new semiconductor production lines in Shanghai, according to two people familiar with the move, to mass produce the chips designed by technology giant Huawei. According to two people with knowledge of the plans, SMIC is aiming to use its existing stock of US and Dutch-made equipment to produce more-miniaturised 5-nanometre chips. The production line will make Kirin chips designed by Huawei’s HiSilicon unit and destined for new versions of its premium smartphones. While 5nm chips remain a generation behind the current cutting-edge 3nm ones, the move would show China’s semiconductor industry is still making gradual progress, despite US export controls.
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