China state-owned firm to build $15bn chip plant

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

BEI­JING: A state-owned Chi­nese com­pany said Fri­day it plans to pour nearly $15 bil­lion into a gi­ant mem­ory chip fac­tory, as Bei­jing seeks to cre­ate home­grown semi­con­duc­tor cham­pi­ons to re­duce re­liance on for­eign tech­nol­ogy.

Tong­fang Guoxin Elec­tron­ics Co. aims to in­vest 93.8 bil­lion yuan ($14.8 bil­lion) in the plant, it said in a fil­ing with the Shen­zhen stock ex­change.

Tong­fang Guoxin is con­trolled by Ts­inghua Hold­ings Co., the com­mer­cial arm of Ts­inghua Univer­sity in Bei­jing, and ul­ti­mately China’s ed­u­ca­tion min­istry.

China is reg­u­larly ac­cused of cy­ber­spy­ing by the West but says it is a vic­tim of hack­ing, and it has been en­cour­ag­ing re­search and de­vel­op­ment of home­grown semi­con­duc­tor tech­nolo­gies as part of its “na­tional in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity strat­egy”.

China needed to over­come “long-time re­stric­tions im­posed by the United States, Ja­pan and Europe” over semi­con­duc­tor ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment, the min­istry of industry and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy said in a state­ment in June.

In the stock ex­change fil­ing, Tong­fang Guoxin said: “China will only be able to ef­fec­tively guar­an­tee its in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity by mak­ing its own... in­te­grated cir­cuits.”

The com­pany will raise up to 80 bil­lion yuan by sell­ing new shares to eight com­pa­nies and em­ploy­ees, it said, in what could be one of the world’s big­gest pri­vate place­ment deals.

Six of the eight cor­po­rate buy­ers in the place­ment are them­selves af­fil­i­ates of Ts­inghua Hold­ings, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. Most of the pro­ceeds will go to­wards the new plant-which will take two years to go into trial op­er­a­tions-while 25 per­cent will be used to ac­quire firms in the semi­con­duc­tor industry, it added. — AFP

This photo cour­tesy of Black­berry shows the Black­berry Priv. The com­pany isn’t giv­ing up on Black­Berry 10, but it has re­leased its first An­droid phone to lure those who want the wide ar­ray of apps avail­able on An­droid, but not Black­berry. — AP

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