ASML is open to exporting IC mask aligner to China and will fully support it within the legal and regulatory framework, Shen Bo, global vice president and president of the mask aligner manufacturing giant's China region, said in an interview with thepaper.cn on November 5.
At present, China has become one of the fastest-growing regions in the world in terms of integrated circuit development. The IC industry is also a strategic and fundamental industry for China's national economic and social development.
ASML is one of the world's largest manufacturers of integrated circuit equipment, headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. The company's mask aligners are essential to the production of integrated circuits.
The company's state-of-the-art EUV (extreme ultraviolet) mask aligners have a processing limit of 5 nanometers. Apple's latest iPhone 12 is powered by a 5nm chip made with ASML support.
Our machines were first introduced to China in 1988 and we have worked well with the Chinese IC industry at every stage, Shen said, adding that there are now more than 700 installed machines in China covering most of ASML's product types.
Old products don't necessarily become obsolete as new ones are released, and some products from the 1980s and 1990s are still in demand, he said.
This is because now the application of integrated circuit diversification, 7 nanometers, 5 nanometers, 3 nanometers of the number of chips in the entire chip supply chain is about only 10%, the vast majority of chips are in need of "mature process".
For example, now the Internet of Things, automotive electronics, rail transportation, ultra-high voltage power transmission, and other "new infrastructure" in many aspects of the need for a large number of or "mature process" of the chip.
"I sometimes feel that the classification of high-end and low-end is not right, and the demand for mask aligner is different for different products. Some may need to do 5nm, some may need to do 40nm, 28nm is enough, some even need to do 90, 110nm, different product types with different application scenarios," he said.
ASML has also established its own training center in China in recent years to train lithography industry talent. At the same time, it has become two technology development centers in Shenzhen and Beijing to do computational lithography, measurement, and other development, he claimed.
He mentioned that an export license is still awaited from the Dutch government for exporting EUVmask aligner to China.
ASML has to comply with all laws and regulations when exporting mask aligners, but we are very open to exporting mask aligners to China and we treat all our customers worldwide equally.
As long as we are able to provide the technology and equipment, we will fully support it.
In fact, in the second and third quarters of 2020, the company shipped more than 20 percent of its total number of mask aligners to China.