Foundry vs. Foundry

TSMC vs. SMIC highlights China's Wild West legal environment

4 min read

21 April 2004--From the outside of its gleaming headquarters in Shanghai, China's high-tech zone, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) looks as if it's humming along with the production and sale of microchips. In addition to its two 200-millimeter-wafer fabrication plants in Shanghai that produce 49 000 wafers per month, China's biggest foundry recently acquired another fab in the northern port city of Tianjin and plans to open a 200-mm fab in Beijing later this year.

While production may be going well, SMIC's legal matters are another story. Last month, the world's biggest foundry and the world's largest contract chip maker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, Hsinchu), released detailed evidence to support its U.S. federal court lawsuit claiming that SMIC stole technology and trade secrets by luring away key employees, who were pushed to disclose proprietary information.

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The State of the Transistor in 3 Charts

In 75 years, it’s become tiny, mighty, ubiquitous, and just plain weird

3 min read
A photo of 3 different transistors.

The most obvious change in transistor technology in the last 75 years has been just how many we can make. Reducing the size of the device has been a titanic effort and a fantastically successful one, as these charts show. But size isn’t the only feature engineers have been improving.

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