China IC firm sets milestone with rollout of 3D NAND flashThis post was edited by tenderloin at 2017-11-18 05:05
osephine Lien, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES
Yangtze River Storage Technology (YMTC) under the Tsinghua Unigroup has successfully developed 32-layer 3D NAND flash chips, marking a new milestone and major technological breakthrough in China's memory-chip industry, according to industry sources.The sources said that the successful development of 32-layer 3D NAND flash chips is expected to drive YMTC to step up development of 64-layer technology, standing a chance of breaking the dominance of the 3D NAND market by Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron/Intel, and Toshiba/Western Digital camps in the near future.YMTC belongs to one of China's three major memory camps and the country's only player in the 3D NAND sector. The other two camps, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit affiliated with Taiwan-based United Microelectronics (UMC) and Hefei Ruili Integrated Circuit teaming up with GigaDevice Semiconductor, focus on the DRAM sector.YMTC was originally scheduled to launch its first 32-layer 3D NAND sample chips by the end of December, but the launch was advanced significantly as it smoothly put the chips in SSD (solid state disk) and successfully finished the test of applying the chips to terminal devices in the first half of November, the industry sources said.The company has completed equipment installation and is slated to kick off trial production in the second quarter of 2018, with initial capacity set at 5,000 pieces per month. It will start mass production after achieving stable yield rates, the sources said.The technical breakthrough has sent shockwaves through the semiconductor sector, as YMTC started to develop 3D NAND technology less than two years ago. Founded in July 2016, YMTC immediately acquired Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor, a maker of NOR flash and SLC-type NAND memory with licensed technical support from US-based Spansion, and then moved to develop the advanced technology.As 32-layer 3D NAND is just a groundwork for advancing to the 64-layer 3D NAND technology, YMTC is expected to step up its development of the 64-layer technology to narrow its technological gap with Korea's Samsung and SK Hynix as well as Micron, which are already developing 72-layer technology, the sources added.