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A leading Chinese chipmaker, Yangtze Memory Technologies, said it now has the ability to produce the same 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips as those to be sold by rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
Wuhan based Yangtze Memory Technologies Co Ltd. (YMTC), announced on Sunday that its 128-layer 1.33 Tb QLC 3D NAND flash memory chip -- X2-6070 had passed a sample verification carried out by its partners. The company plans to introduce these chips to the market this year.
Similar chips will also be manufactured by rivals Samsung, Micron, SK Hynix, and Kioxia. At the moment, these companies make the 96-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips. Yangtze Memory makes a 64-layer version, which it introduced in the second half of 2019, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
In a statement, Yangtze’s Senior Vice President of marketing and sales said, “As a new entrant in the flash memory industry, YMTC has reached to new heights by launching the 1.33 Tb QLC product.” She lauded the company’s employees and partners by saying, “We are able to achieve these results today because of the incredible synergy created through seamless collaboration with our global industry partners, as well as remarkable contributions from our employees.”
Why It Matters
According to the Review, YMTC is an affiliate of China-backed Tsinghua Unigroup and has been trying to catch up with foreign rivals to create a fully domestic semiconductor industry.
Memory chips are important components of many electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, and the like. Chips with more layers are difficult to manufacture, but it is more cost-efficient as they can be accommodated on a single chip wafer.
Even though the company is based in Wuhan - the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has managed to stay open throughout the strict lockdown. Full production was started on April 10.
A research company analyst told Nikkei YMTC would still have to overcome some technical problems before being able to smoothly mass produce the chip, but “It's so far the most promising player in China's hope to build a viable semiconductor industry and reduce its dependence on foreign chipmakers,” the analyst observed.
He expects YMTC’s rivals could see some competition from the Chinese firm by the end of 2021.
On Monday, Samsung shares traded 1.12% lower at $39.91 at press time in Seoul.
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