After the U.S. Department of Commerce banned U.S. exports to Chinese Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company (also known as Fujian or JHICC), essentially destroying this maker of memory, it was a matter of time before the Chinese government established a new DRAM maker as a part of its ‘Made in China 2025’ project. On Sunday Tsinghua Unigroup announced its formation of DRAM business group that will develop and build computer memory.

Ziguang Group, the new entity of Tsinghua Unigroup, will be headed by chairman Diao Shijing, former director of the Electronic Information Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as the group's chairman, as well as Charles Kao as CEO. The latter is a legend of the Taiwanese DRAM industry as the he used to be the chairman of Inotera Memories as well as the president of Nanya. Besides, Mr. Kao is the chairman of Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), a maker of 3D NAND from China.

Under the ‘Made in China 2025’ program, local governments are constructing 300-mm semiconductor fabs in various parts in China, so Tsinghua Unigroup’s DRAM business unit will have access to production capacities. This is why the company lacks DRAM process technologies and this is why it had to hire Charles Kao, which has plenty of connections in the computer memory world, which might help to lure talented engineers from around the world. Meanwhile, Taiwanese DRAM makers are primarily known for ‘technology for capacity’ deals with companies like Elpida, Infineon, or Micron, but not for their own fabrication processes.

Ziguang will be the fourth Chinese DRAM maker after Xi'an UniIC Semiconductors (which inherited its original DRAM IP from Infineon and Qimonda yet currently develops its own technologies and chips), Fujian Jinhua (aka JHICC, which is accused by the U.S. Government and Micron of stealing the latter’s IP), as well as Innotron Memory (which says it relies on in-house developed technologies).

Tsinghua Unigroup, a joint venture between Tsinghua Holdings and Beijing Jiankun Investment Group (which is controlled by Zhao Weiguo, the chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup), attempted to buy Micron for $23 billion in 2015, but the deal was never made. After that, Tsinghua Holdings acquired Xi’an UniIC Semiconductor from Inspur. Furthermore, Tsinghua Unigroup controls Unigroup Guoxin Microelectronics, a developer and distributor of chips.

To sum up, both Tsinghua Unigroup as well as Tsinghua Holdings are not newcomers in the DRAM market. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when either of the companies come up with viable technologies to make computer memory as well as competitive DRAM chips.

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Sources: Tsinghua Unigroup, TrendForce

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  • Skeptical123 - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    Are you a china shill bot? Yes, I know what India is doing. It's a common thing for developing countries to do. Look at foreign beer prices in India. A common case example in game consoles in Brazil for a decade plus has been well over a thousand dollars USD due to protectionist tariff levied on them. Also, it does not matter what China is doing anecdotally at your university what matters is what they doing on a global scale. It's not worth continuing this comment train. You clearly think you know what you're talking about or are a bot...
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    What's the reasoning behind the console pricing? Are there Brazilian competitors?
  • jospoortvliet - Friday, July 5, 2019 - link

    Just government income I think, they tax imports quite heavily overall, and electronics in particular. Part of the reason might also be to entice hardware makers to do assembly in Brazil itself.
  • R0H1T - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    Your info seems totally out of place, while there is some restriction in terms of 100% investments in many sectors - the vast majority of them allow 74-100% FDI including telecom, automobiles, infrastructure, phones, consumer durables et al. We also don't "ask" other firms to hand over their IP for "national security" purposes or better yet "pride" 🙄
  • Yojimbo - Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - link

    Did you read what I wrote? I even said "which is fine" for that small part of the whole situation, and yet you replied with "but India requires partnerships". Uhh...
  • teldar - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone else state this. This has been going on for years and needs to be brought to an end. It's ridiculous. It's the way China operates and should be viewed as global extortion.
  • s.yu - Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - link

    I agree, but for various reasons most people around the globe are kept in the dark by generally politically motivated misinformation.
  • Holliday75 - Friday, July 5, 2019 - link

    Funny part is Trump is the first President I've seen push back as hard as he has and people complain about it.
  • jospoortvliet - Friday, July 5, 2019 - link

    Other presidents pushed back, they just didn’t have FOX news extol their virtues to the same degree - everybody thought these trade deals were boring economics until trump managed to make it interesting and a nationalist thing. In practice, for example the big Asian trade deal from Obama was meant to curtail China heavily - and thus trump, pulling out, has given China a big gift.

    His Tarifs haven’t had any effect yet and he fails to work with European allies. Plus he makes the trade thing a matter of national pride, essentially making it much harder for China to agree with anything he demands. In short - sure, trump makes more noise. But he has done less useful things for US business with regards to China as previous presidents.
  • ZolaIII - Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - link

    US didn't ban any Chinese firm that stole IP's or didn't pay for them. They banned Huawei which has by far the biggest 5G IP portfolio that whose self developed by enormous R&D investments building research centers in China and across the EU. Chinese government didn't exactly nursed nor helped Huawei much, they achieved it them self by making a premium brand of them self & investing extra profit in R&D. On the other hand you have cort already ruled about QC uncompetitive practices and monopoly and its much more backed up by government than let's say Huawei while using properly RTOS (that whose Open Source before) for it's modems which contains beyond reasonable doubt security threats. So sugar you are not allowed, nor paying but it won't last for long as Chinese will develop everything & push you out.

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