Samsung Electronics has dismissed as “groundless” a recent report by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese daily newspaper specializing in information technology, that the Korean semiconductor producer is suffering from poor yields in its 7-nano extreme ultraviolet (EUV) process.
Samsung responded to the report quickly because it was believed to be intended to undermine Samsung’s reputation by taking advantage of increased uncertainty over Samsung’s foundry business due to Japan's export control of materials for semiconductor production to Korea.
Samsung’s subsidiary in China announced that the recent report on 7-nano EUV yields was not true.
Earlier, DigiTimes reported that Samsung’s foundry plants produce Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7250 chips for mid-priced 5G Samsung phones but their yields were lower than expected. On the other hand, the daily reported that development of a 5G chip by Taiwan's fabless company Mediatek has been proceeding smoothly with the help of TSMC, the world’s largest foundry company in Taiwan, with mass production expected to start in the first quarter of next year. The gist of the report is that a Taiwanese fabless company and a foundry company are working together to surpass Samsung.
However, Samsung said in a statement that it delivered mass-produced products based on EUV technology to a customer in April. “Samsung's state-of-the-art EUV technology has reached a high technology level and achieved a high yield. EUV-based 5G products will be mass-produced in the fourth quarter of this year as scheduled,” it said.
Semiconductor industry watchers believe the DigiTimes report was written to put a dent in Samsung’s reputation. Foundry companies are competing fiercely to upgrade their EUV technology to preempt the market for integrated 5G chips. Currently, only Samsung and TSMC can produce 7-nm chips. After all, if Samsung foundry has a yield problem, major fabless companies have no choice but to choose TSMC. They say that Taiwanese media outlets have started to give publicity support to Taiwanese companies.
"As Samsung secured major companies such as IBM, Nvidia, and AMD as foundry customers, TSMC's has been feeling a bigger sense of crisis," said an industry insider.