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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  • Yojimbo - Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - link

    Yes qcom has done anti-competituve things and in the US there is the rule of law to punish them. Not so in China. China helps Huawei with the anticompetitive practices. They most certaintly did nurse them. China's hands are all over Huawei. But don't talk about it:
  • ZolaIII - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    US hands are all over QC (social, military government project) all publicly documented and behind it as a back door tool. Is it a corruption? Yes. Is it a corporate protectionism? Yes. Is there a hidden interest in doing so? Probably yes. But hire is a catch if a 5G infrastructure deployment gets future delayed QC won't be able to sell any modems, with big cut in earnings because they cannot make profits like before from their IP portfolio this would lead to the 80% cut in earnings which also means that couldn't finance future R&D. Then greedy investors take their money somehow else and QC fall's in bankruptcy and with it US losses both supremacy and control. On the other hand Huawei survives as China, India and Russia are more than half the world's market. It's a same dirty practice all over the world only details differ so don't believe government(s) & there's no such thing as a good corporation's only the profit & interest.
  • Yojimbo - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    You can just state whatever but it doesn't make it so. The US government contracting qualcomm to do work is a lot different from the situation with Huawei. Meanwhile, just take a look at Huawei's stated ownership structure and see if it makes sense. I bet you are pretty mad at Huawei not being allowed to supply 5G infrastructure in the US. Ask yourself who besides Huawei and other Chinese companies has had access to supply infrastructure in China for the last few years. They only allow in the companies when they haven't already "acquired" the technology to do it themselves. That is not free market. Any other country putting up with it is a fool.
  • ZolaIII - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    Sure thing it's a different thing... US is so sure Chinese would do it with Huawei or someone else because they doing it all ready probably true mentioned QC. I stated simple logical facts and a reasonable doubt no question about it. I don't give a s*** about Huawei nor using their products (since rebranding) while leaving others including GSM operator's to choose for them self. Hire in EU you still have a freedom of choice & not even God can take that away. I never stated Chinese are flowers. After what happened to Huawei the world will certainly look otherwise on technology development and won't allow to be in anyone's monopoly nor dependent of it's good will. Naturally open hardware is only responsible solutions & magic is already happening with RISC V. US will indubitably lose the last monopoly it had.
  • s.yu - Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - link

    "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"
    You have absolutely zero idea how things work in China just as you've demonstrated last time. On a micro scale everything is incredibly bureaucratic (some think Canada is bad enough, no, China is worse), you cannot possibly, "legally" start a business without connections and/or bribes and Huawei's been given green lights all the way meaning the Party is heavily invested. They've also stolen a lot of IP from at least Cisco and as I mentioned before has uncapped debt capacity from China Development Bank, essentially their pocket money provided by the Party.
  • ZolaIII - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    They started on docks putting their logo stickers on cheap junk, pulled their s*** together made a quality stand, their own semiconductor manufacturing and rebranded it self increasing prices for their products. It all went quite well for them and then they started to make huge profit & invested it in R&D how in their own base semiconductor unit also in resurch instituts in land and across the Europe also funding numerous academic projects in many countries. Now when the fruit is mature and better than competition US made bold claims as an excuse to do a corporate protectionism against each & every apostolate of free market, fare trade & competition driven progress. You want to tell me how some morons from the party with a pocket change made from Huawei what it is today? You really need a reality check! The party official's are mostly corrupt but they don't give, just take a cut when ever they can & from who ever they can but funny thing about Chinese corruption is that it all returns back to the state true state property at the end & it whose the same before communism in the time's of monarchy.
    Cisco? The same Cisco who settled dispute with Huawei with of court agreement, who is cough having serious security exploits in their network gear firmwares and whose CEO protested publicly out loud against US government practices? The things work the same way in the US, China and pretty much the rest of the world, no traditional values, no moral or ethics... You should read a Nitche a bit inside coming here and acting as a man from the mountain.
  • s.yu - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    You didn't understand what I said, I suggest you stick to Russian forums.
  • ZolaIII - Thursday, July 4, 2019 - link

    O I did... By the way the man from the mountains is Niches sinonim for a monkey. I am European.
  • asdfzxh - Saturday, August 1, 2020 - link

    You have a chinese last name but you seem like some idiotic pgskn bastardization. Cisco lost IP suits against Huawei on the AMERICAN SOIL, they just can't compete. On the other hand, USA invaded Huawei servers via ShotGiant etc programs to steal things. You freaking morons. "Huawei stealing tech that the US doesn't even know exist" - you definitely have no brain.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - link

    It's a good thing to see China working toward independence so it isn't subjected to the currently inconsistent actions of the US because it depends so heavily on it for key items. What I find amusing is that certain people in he US are clamoring for fair treatment from a position of economic superiority out of fear of losing the fairly meaningless title of globally dominant economic power all while forgetting that the natural order of things is inherently unfair and that there are no such things as rights or proper treatment beyond constructs we humans create in order to apply a layer of order to the random chaos of normal universal operations.

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