Russian Semiconductor Industry Envisions 65nm Technology and Beyond
By Heinz Kundert, president, SEMI Europe
After my first visit to Russia after the Presidential elections on March 4th, I’m more optimistic about better investment conditions for semiconductor and related technologies in the years to come. Based on interactions with representatives of the government, industry, science and investment funds, I believe that the industry as a whole can expect more funding. Furthermore, Russians accession to the WTO will reduce import taxes close to zero by the end of 2012. There is also a noticeable sense of urgency about removing trade barriers and other time-consuming bureaucracy, especially for high-tech products.
Sitronics (Mikron) and Angstrem remain flagship companies in the Russian semiconductor industry. Both companies will further invest into “More than Moore” applications. Mikron has just opened a new fab with 200mm and 90nm nodes; it has also announced plans to build a new fab for 300mm and 65nm. The odds for the new fab are good; however, the outcome will depend on government funding. Angstrem will finally complete the Angstrem-T project that has been pushed out for some time. It seems that financing is secured. They expect first devices coming out of the new line by 2014.
Crocus Nano Electronics (CNE), a joint-venture between Santa Clara-based Crocus Inc. and the Russian national investment fund Rusnano, burst onto the scene with investment of around US$ 300 million. Their plan is to enter the MRAM market with 90nm, 65nm and finally even 45nm node size. CNE will address key markets such as storage, mobile communications, networking and cloud computing. In addition to general purpose memory applications, Crocus' TAS MRAM technology will serve specific uses in smartcards, network processing, biometric authentication, near-field communications (NFC), and secure memory. The capital spending will occur in the next two years. CNE will build the new fab in the new “Moskvitch” High-Tech Industrial Park southeast of Moscow. The park will eventually have capacity of around 330’000m2.
There is nationwide interest in Russia in the transition to LED. Currently, the Russian business model is to address lighting systems market rather than to produce LED devices. Optogan is the flagship in LED with high investment in lighting systems. Sapphire production technology has been invented and patented by Russian companies, and a vital materials market in various regions of the world is currently developing for LEDs manufacturing. We have identified eight potential material makers in Russia which have the power to be globally competitive in a fast-growing market (see Russian Market Report update).
In Photovoltaics, Russia is behind with regard to national legislation for Feed-In Tariffs and Grid Development as well as cell and module production. However, Russia has interests in developing the renewable energy market although Russia is less driven by the pains of rising energy costs like in the West. One of the most competitive business opportunities might become Polysilicon production in Russia. Nitol funded by Rusnano has aggressive production output plans and it seems to be price competitive. Furthermore, it appears that Russia is working on a Feed-In-Tariff system, however, no details are known as of today.
Skolkovo, the so-called “Russian Silicon Valley” seems to be shaping up. According the Skolkovo IT cluster representatives, there are already 170 applications of start-up companies who announced interest in doing research in the Skolkovo Science Park and 40 of them have already received grant approval. Eligible companies will move into the Skolkovo Science City as of 2013. Investments are mainly done for research equipment and activities.
Bottom-line: Russia is set to go ahead with the modernization plan that includes Microelectronics and related industries — although there are still many issues to be overcome. The mood is positive and investment and business opportunities for Western companies exist… for those willing to work with Russian partners towards combined success.
If you want to be more involved, you can exhibit at or visit SEMICON Russia which will be held from May 14-16 in Moscow (www.semiconrussia.org). Representatives of most of the mentioned companies and institutes will present their investment plans for the years to come. Also contact SEMI if you would like to review the updated Russian Market Report.
SEMI’s Involvement: SEMI strongly supports the industry development in Russia. SEMI is involved in industry advocacy and public policy, working with high-ranking government officials. The annual SEMICON Russia exhibition and technical conferences support the industry. In addition, technology and industry experts visit the EU, leading companies and institutes, and expositions and conferences.
To support Russian development, SEMI also has a Russian Advisory Committee with 15 members from Russia and Western Europe, as well as partnerships with High-Tech Clusters, Special Economic Zones, the Russian PV Industry Association, the Russian LED Industry Association, and the Renewable Energy Association of Ukraine.
SEMI Europe and CIS
April 4, 2012