SMIC's southern plant, while mass producing 14nm chips, is also building a second production line, of which the 7nm process has been under development for some time, according to IT Times.
But due to the lack of high-end lithography machine, development of the 7nm process isn't moving fast, the report said.
The report quoted SMIC production line staff as saying that due to equipment limitations, SMIC 7~8nm development progress is not fast, the finished product is not so good.
"The same process that TSMC does in one step, we may need three or four steps," The lack of a high-end lithography machine is one of the most critical problems, and "anything but a lithography machine can solve it."
Back in March, SMIC announced that it had purchased the lithography equipment from ASML in the Netherlands, but not the latest EUV lithography machine.
As China's most advanced foundry, SMIC has mass-produced its 14nm process late last year, and the 14nm process contributed 1.3% of revenue in the first quarter and is expected to contribute 10% of revenue by next year.
A major advancement in the SMIC 14nm process is the Unicorn 710A processor, a four A73+four A53 octa-core design with a main frequency of 2.0GHz, which is already used in the Honor 4T series of phones for Huawei.
In addition to 14nm, SMIC also has a modified version of the 12nm process based on the 14nm process, which it said was further reduced in size than the 14nm transistor, with a 20% reduction in power consumption, a 10% performance improvement and a 20% reduction in error rate.
At present, 12nm has started trial production, in-depth cooperation with customers, good progress, in the customer verification and identification stage.
It also has N+1 and N+2 generation processes, in which N+1 process has 20% better performance, 57% lower power consumption, 63% smaller logic area and 55% smaller SoC area compared to 14nm, and the subsequent N+2 process has higher performance and cost.
The N+1 process was completed in Q4 last year and is currently in the customer's product validation stage, with mass production expected in Q4.