China’s MEMS Foundry Business Takes Shape

Six projects are in the works inside of China in preparation for the IoT.


By Clark Tseng

Over the years, MEMS has evolved from a niche segment to a strong growth market thanks to the wide adoption from mobile devices in recent years. With the industry moving to the Internet of Things (IoT) era, MEMS will play an even more important role ─ enabling the realization of IoT environment.

In the semiconductor ecosystem, China is the largest consumption market but it trails behind other Asian peers in terms of semiconductor manufacturing. That is about to change with the China government putting more resources into the development of China semiconductor industry either through the Five Year Plan or other local government initiatives. MEMS is one of the areas that China is focusing on.

We have seen a growing number of MEMS fabless companies emerging from China in the past few years. With the focus more on the domestic market, these start-ups have, as a first step, cultivated the development of the MEMS ecosystem in China. China is no stranger to semiconductor foundry manufacturing with SMIC, Hua Hong Semiconductor and XMC being well-established foundry players in China. However, MEMS solutions will need more than CMOS-based foundry processes, and that has created the opportunities for pure MEMS foundries in China.

The list below highlight some of recent MEMS projects in China that are either pilot/R&D oriented or foundry-oriented facilities.

  • Shanghai Industrial μTechnology Research Institute (SITRI): After setting up a 4-inch MEMS line in 2014, SITRI plans to set up a 200mm MEMS R&D line in 2016.
  • Silex Microsystems: After GAE Ltd (a Hong Kong based investment holding company) acquired 98% of the company share, the new owner will fund the project to set up a new 200mm MEMS foundry fab in Beijing in the near future.
  • Hanking Electronics: The company’s 200mm MEMS project in Liaoning province is on schedule. The shell has completed in July 2015. Equipping started in August 2015. Production should start in early 2016.
  • Micro Sensing Technologies: Company plans to build a 200mm MEMS line in Luoyang, Henan. Site groundbreaking was held in March 2015. Total investment will be about $150 million.
  • Nanopolis Suzhou: A 6-inch MEMS pilot/R&D line that was set up in 2014.
  • Guo Gao MEMS: A new 4-inch MEMS line in Zibo, Shandong.

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Clark Tseng is an industry research and statistics analyst for SEMI Taiwan.