Chinese government-backed Tsinghau Unigroup announced the formation of a DRAM business unit that will build computer memory.
The move, announced June 30, comes on the heels of a U.S. crackdown on Chinese technology manufacturers, most notably employee-owned Huawei. U.S. companies were told in May not to sell their products to Huawei and several others, but President Trump said following a meeting with China’s president on June 29 that the U.S. would relax that policy to allow U.S. shipments of goods not related to security.
China has been trying to create industries to become independent of foreign companies as part of its Made in China 2025 initiative. The country wants to domestically produce 70% of the semiconductors needed to supply its internet electronics needs by that year.
The new memory unit will be headed up by CEO Charles Kao, chairman of Inotera Memories and former president of Nanya Technology, a DRAM maker. Notably, the chairman will be Diao Shijing, former director of the Electronic Information Department of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The new DRAM unit will fill a need. Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company stopped DRAM production early in 2019 after it was placed on a U.S. export blacklist in 2018 that prevented U.S. chipmakers from supplying it goods.
Tsinghua is building a fab in Nanjing China and may be building one in Chongqing, according to industry analysts including TrendForce.