The Week In Review: Manufacturing

China gets 14nm technology; CMP deal; $70 million VC funding; ISSI soap opera continues.

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Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), Huawei, Imec and Qualcomm have announced the formation of the SMIC Advanced Technology Research & Development (Shanghai) Corp., an equity joint venture company. Located in China, the joint venture company will focus on R&D towards next-generation CMOS logic technology. The current focus will be on developing 14nm logic technology, namely finFET. SMIC Advanced Technology R&D (Shanghai) Corp. will be majority owned by SMIC, while Huawei, Imec, and Qualcomm will be minority shareholders.

Cadence Design Systems and Applied Materials announced the companies are collaborating on a development program to optimize the chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) process through silicon characterization and modeling for advanced-node designs at 14nm and below. The program allows design teams to predict the impact of CMP on both functional yield and parametric yield, and for manufacturing teams to boost planarization performance, which is increasingly critical for advanced finFET architectures.

GaN chip maker Transphorm has announced a $70 million investment round led by global investment firm KKR. Transphorm will use this funding to support its growth, product innovation and expansion.

The soap opera continues for U.S. memory maker Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. (ISSI). In March, a Chinese consortium of investors entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ISSI. Then, Cypress Semiconductor made a competitive bid for ISSI. Then, ISSI agreed to terms with Cypress, but then suddenly changed its mind and went back to the group from China. Last week, Cypress made a new offer for ISSI. Now, ISSI is leaning towards the China offer. Stay tuned.

SEMI reported that for the quarter ending March 31, 2015, the worldwide photovoltaic manufacturing equipment book-to-bill ratio remained below parity at 0.88.