Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp
Native name
长江存储科技有限责任公司
Company typePartially state-owned enterprise
IndustrySemiconductors
FoundedJuly 26, 2016; 7 years ago (2016-07-26)[1]
HeadquartersWuhan, Hubei, China
Area served
Greater China
Key people
Chen Nanxiang
(Chairman and acting CEO)
Dr. Simon Shining Yang
(Deputy Chairman)[2]
ProductsFlash memory
SSDs
BrandsXtacking
Zhitai
Number of employees
~8,000 (2023)[3]
Websitewww.ymtc.com Edit this at Wikidata
Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp
Simplified Chinese长江存储科技有限责任公司
Traditional Chinese長江存儲科技有限責任公司
YMTC
Chinese长江存储

Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YMTC) is a Chinese semiconductor integrated device manufacturer specializing in flash memory (NAND) chips. Founded in Wuhan, China, in 2016, with government investment and a goal of reducing the country's dependence on foreign chip manufacturers, the company was formerly a subsidiary of partially state-owned enterprise Tsinghua Unigroup.[4][5]

YMTC produces enterprise solid state drives under its own brand. Its consumer products are marketed under the brand ZhiTai (Chinese: 致态).

History

Tsinghua Unigroup founded YMTC in July 2016, with a total investment of US$24 billion, including investments from the Hubei provincial government and the Chinese national "Big Fund" China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund.[6][7]

In 2018, YMTC released its Xtacking architecture designed for Vertical NAND chips at the Flash Memory Summit, receiving the "Best of Show" award for "Most Innovative Flash Memory Start-up Company".[8][9] Xtacking enables YMTC to manufacture the memory and the logic circuits on separate wafers and connect them using plasma activation and thermal annealing.[10] According to YMTC, this enables a higher speed for the production process and increases NAND performance.[10] YMTC's 3D NAND flash memory chips were the first to be domestically mass-produced in China.[11] Later in 2018, YMTC announced mass production of its 32-layer 3D NAND flash memory chip, and in September 2019, YMTC reported that it had started mass-producing its 64-layer TLC 3D NAND flash memory chip, with both chips using its Xtacking architecture.[12]

In April 2020, YMTC announced that it had developed a 128-layer 1.33 Tb flash memory chip.[13] From 2020 to 2021 YMTC suffered from unsatisfactory yield from its initial risk production of the 128-layer memory chip, averaging around 30 to 40 percent.[14] In September 2020, YMTC unveiled its first line of consumer products under the brand name Zhitai.[15]

As of 2021 YMTC was planning its second fab with a capacity of 100,000 wafers per month which will double its total output to 200,000 wpm.[16] In September 2021, the company's chief operating officer announced that the company had shipped more than 300 million 64-layer memory chips, and the company's 128-layer QLC memory chip was ready for volume production.[17]

News agencies reported in January 2022 that YMTC had scrapped its intention to build a second 3D NAND fab announced in 2017, citing serious financial issues at Tsinghua Unigroup, its parent firm.[5][18] Bloomberg News reported in March 2022 that Apple was exploring purchasing NAND chips from YMTC to diversify its NAND chip vendors.[19]

In May 2022 PCI-SIG listed two NVMe enterprise SSDs from YMTC as PCIe 4.0 verified.[20] In July 2022, the company's CEO Simon Yang resigned citing personal reasons.[21][22] Yang remains with the company as deputy chairman.[23]

In August 2022 YMTC unveiled the X3-9070, its first 232-layer 3D NAND chip.[24][25] In October 2022 Apple announced that it would drop a plan to use YMTC memory chips in its phones amid political pressure.[26][7] In November 2022 a TechInsights report stated that YMTC had delivered 232-layer 3D NAND Flash to the market.[27][28][29]

In December 2022 YMTC was added to the U.S. Entity List.[30] In February 2023 the company reportedly laid off 10 percent of its workforce, cancelled equipment orders, and delayed plant expansion plans in response to US sanctions and challenging market conditions caused by low demand.[31] In March, China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund announced its intention to invest an additional $1.9 billion into YMTC, indicating a potential revival of government funding.[32] In September 2023 the South China Morning Post reported that YMTC intensified its efforts to substitute US-sourced equipment with domestic alternatives, following a $7 billion capital infusion from state-supported investors.[33] TechInsights reported in October 2023 that YMTC shipped its first 232-layer 3D QLC NAND, setting an industry record of 19.8 Gbit/mm2.[34][35] In October 2023, YMTC again raised billions of dollars in a major fundraising round, necessitated by the high costs of adapting to stringent U.S. restrictions, including replacing U.S. equipment and developing new components, which had already depleted the $7 billion funding received prior.[36]

On November 9, 2023, YMTC sued rival memory maker Micron in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging infringement on eight of its patents.[37]

In February 2024, the U.S. Department of Defense designated YMTC as a "military company" that poses national security risks to the United States, barring it from using U.S.-designed chipmaking equipment and supplying products to the U.S. military.[38] Following its designation as a "military company" by the U.S. Department of Defense, YMTC released a statement refuting the allegation, asserting that it has not supplied its technology for military use and is not owned or controlled by the Chinese military. [39]

International reception

United States

Further information: United States sanctions against China and Military-civil fusion

In July 2021 U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul and Bill Hagerty wrote a letter to the United States Secretary of Commerce arguing that YMTC should be placed on the department's Entity List. The letter stated that YMTC will assist the Chinese government in using unfair trade tactics to force American competitors out of the memory-chip sector, thereby putting US national security in jeopardy. It also highlighted YMTC's alleged close ties with the Chinese Communist Party and People's Liberation Army. Additionally, some YMTC executives previously worked for Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, which was added to the Entity List in December 2020.[40][41]

In April 2022 U.S. Senator Marco Rubio voiced his displeasure with reports that Apple was considering procuring NAND chips from YMTC. YMTC, according to Rubio, has ties to the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army.[42][43] In September 2022, additional legislators urged the White House to put YMTC on the entity list after a report was released about YMTC's supply of chips to Huawei.[44] In October 2022, the Biden administration announced 31 Chinese companies, including YMTC, were being added to the Unverified List.[45] On December 15, the Biden administration added YMTC to the Entity List.[30][46] The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 also banned the U.S. federal government from buying or using chips from YMTC.[47] In January 2024, the United States Department of Defense named YMTC on its list of "Chinese Military Companies Operating in the United States."[48]

See also

References

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