On June 1, SMIC applied for listing on the science and technology innovation board and was officially accepted; on June 4, Shanghai Stock Exchange issued the first round of inquiries to SMIC; on June 7, SMIC completed the first round of replies to the inquiries.
The financing of 20 billion yuan also makes SMIC the king of fund-raising of science and technology innovation board. According to the prospectus, about 40% of SMICs IPO funds are used for the 12 inch chip SN1 project (SMIC South phase I). SMIC south is a 12 inch wafer factory, which is mainly built to meet the R & D and mass production plan of SMIC Internationals advanced process nodes of 14nm and below. At present, the production capacity has reached 6000 pieces / month, and the target production capacity is 35000 pieces / month, with a total investment of 12.04 billion US dollars.
However, for the highly capital, technology and talent intensive semiconductor manufacturing industry, the financing of 20 billion yuan is not much.
According to IBS statistics, with the continuous reduction of technology nodes, the investment in IC manufacturing equipment is on the rise. For example, the investment cost of 5nm technology node is up to tens of billions of dollars, which is more than twice of 14nm and about four times of 28nm. Such a huge investment can only be undertaken by the head manufacturers with a certain scale. Even lattice core and Lianhua electronics, the second and third largest pure foundry industry in the world, have announced to abandon the research and development of 7Nm process.
Zhao Haijun, CO CEO of SMIC, pointed out in a forum earlier that to be the first to make money, the second to basically not make money, and the third to lose money, so we must strive to be the top two.
Compared with the initial prospectus on June 1, in the last meeting draft submitted on June 10, SMIC also stressed the risks of low proportion of advanced processes, negative gross profit margin, large gap with global leading TSMC technology and low market share.
According to SMIC, at present, the companys 14 nm and 28 nm process products account for a relatively low proportion of revenue, and faces the risk of overcapacity, continuous decline in revenue and negative gross profit margin of 28 nm process products. From 2017 to 2019, the proportion of 28 nm revenue of SMIC decreased from 8.12% to 4.03%. According to the company, the capacity layout of 28nm global pure wafer generation manufacturers is large, resulting in overcapacity in the global 28nm market in 2018 and 2019. In consideration of market operation strategy and customer demand, on the premise of meeting the order demand, optimize the product mix, transfer part of the general equipment originally used in 28 nm process to produce other process products with high profit, making the income of 28 nm process products present a downward trend.
According to the public information, TSMC announced the mass production of 16 nm wafer foundry in 2015, lattice core and Lianhua electronics realized the mass production of 14 nm wafer foundry in 2015 and 2017 respectively, and SMIC started the mass production of 14 nm in 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2019, 14 nanometer node products accounted for 1.0% of the companys revenue in the current quarter, and the proportion rose slightly to 1.3% in the first quarter of this year.
According to the previous plan of SMIC, the production of 14nm and follow-up advanced processes will be expanded to 4000 tablets / month and 9000 tablets / month respectively in March and July this year, and to 15000 tablets / month by the end of 2020.
When asked when 14nm will contribute more than 10% of revenue in May, Liang Mengsong, CO CEO of SMIC, replied that it will probably reach 10% by next year, which will remain in a low single digit this year.
SMIC previously said that advanced technology is becoming an important part of its business strategy. In the past, SMIC mainly relied on the increment of mature nodes to achieve growth; however, in this new stage, SMIC is trying to improve the increment of income brought by advanced technology nodes.
According to the information disclosed, the company has indeed increased its R & D investment in the past three years. With R & D cost of other Fab generation plants accounting for less than 10% of revenue, SMIC increased from 17% in 2017 to 22% in 2019.
However, in terms of absolute value, although the R & D cost of SMIC in 2019 is 4.7 billion yuan, accounting for 22% of the revenue, which is higher than 9% of TSMC, there is still a gap compared with the absolute value of the latter 21.1 billion yuan.
According to first finance, there are other chip manufacturers listed in Hong Kong that are considering going back to A-share listing. Some industry insiders said that investors in Hong Kong stocks were not interested in mainland chip companies in the past. The market value p / E ratio of these companies in Hong Kong stocks is low, and there are few transactions due to lack of foreign attention. If they return to A-share listing, the valuation of these companies will increase, which is conducive to corporate financing.
SMIC is an important part of domestic chips in mainland China, and will also drive the domestic semiconductor equipment and material industry. According to the statistics of Tuo Industry Research Institute, a market research institution, in the first quarter of 2020, SMIC ranked fifth among the top ten Fab generation factories in the world, accounting for 4.5% of the total market share.