Tsinghua Unigroup of China recently announced that it would invest 800 billion yuan for the upcoming 10 years in order to accelerate mass production of DRAM chips. The company is going to build an R&D center in Wuhan and manufacturing facilities in Chongqing before mass production initiation scheduled for 2021.
The company and the Chinese government are planning to enhance their competitiveness in the industry on their own with the United States keeping Chinese semiconductor manufacturers in check and their South Korean and American counterparts allowing no technical license.
Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra recently visited China and Tsinghua Unigroup and the American semiconductor manufacturer were predicted to discuss mutual cooperation. However, an executive at Tsinghua Unigroup said that the cooperation would be unlikely for a while in view of the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China. Tsinghua Unigroup attempted to acquire Micron Technology, the third-largest DRAM manufacturer in the world, in 2015 but the U.S. government did not allow the acquisition.
Samsung Electronics recently stopped its mobile application processor business with Tsinghua Unigroup, saying that the smartphone processors of the Chinese company are not competitive enough. According to industry insiders, another reason is to hold the company in check as it is preparing to produce DRAM chips as well as NAND flash memories. “Our investment will go first into DRAMs, and we will develop NAND flash memories on our own, too,” a Tsinghua Unigroup official said.
In the meantime, market research firm IHS Markit recently said that Samsung Electronics raised its global DRAM market share from 40.6 percent to 46.6 percent in the second quarter of this year and the gap with runner-up SK Hynix increased from 10.8 percent to 20 percent during the same period.