China launches $24 billion IC base project

Updated: 2016-03-30 11:24


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WUHAN - A state-level integrated circuit base project has broken ground in central China's Hubei province, with an investment of $24 billion expected in the coming five years.

Construction started Monday in the East Lake High-tech Zone in Wuhan city, capital of Hubei. The project focuses on research and development of memory products. Monthly production capacity will reach 300,000 chips in 2020 and 1 million in 2030.

Hubei has set up a special investment fund of 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) to support the IC industry.

The IC industry is a strategic emerging sector for China, with huge investment to be poured into it. In 2014, the State Council, China's cabinet, issued a guideline on the development of the IC industry, to stimulate IC companies and accelerate the pace at which China's IC industry is catching up with international leaders. A national IC investment fund of 138 billion yuan has been established.

China relies heavily on imports of integrated circuits. In 2014, the country's integrated circuit imports hit $218 billion, of which memory products accounted for about 25 percent.

With this project, China's capacity in memory products will keep up with or surpass that of countries like the Republic of Korea in five to 15 years, according to Zou Xuecheng, a professor of semiconductor engineering at Wuhan's Huazhong University of Science and Technology.