Nikkei: Tsinghua Unigroup cancels plans for storage plants in Chongqing and Chengdu

People familiar with the matter said that under the impetus of new investors, Ziguang Group will abandon its plans to build storage plants in Chongqing and Chengdu. Yukio Sakamoto, vice president and CEO of the Japan branch, has also resigned.

One of the two projects that Tsinghua Unigroup terminated was the DRAM business in Chongqing, the report said. Previously, Tsinghua Unigroup had hoped that Yukio Sakamoto would be in charge of the DRAM business. Through his experience and contacts, he would form a team of more than 100 people in Japan and then mass-produce advanced DRAM products in Chongqing.

However, people familiar with the matter said that the recruitment did not go smoothly as expected, coupled with the financial crisis of Ziguang Group and the difficulties in obtaining advanced semiconductor equipment under the obstruction of the United States, Sakamoto left Ziguang Group in the second half of last year. The news has been confirmed by a spokesman for Sakamoto.

In addition, the report quoted a government document and people familiar with the matter as saying that the second memory chip project terminated by Tsinghua Unigroup was located in Chengdu, Sichuan. The company originally planned to invest $24 billion to build a 3D NAND flash memory chip factory in Chengdu. Tsinghua Unigroup had hoped that the Chengdu project would replicate the success of Wuhan Yangtze River Storage, the sources said.

However, at the end of 2020, due to the debt default of Tsinghua Unigroup, the memory chip projects in Chongqing and Chengdu have been seriously delayed. In July 2021, due to the failure to resolve the debt crisis, Tsinghua Unigroup was filed for bankruptcy and reorganization by creditors. At the end of 2021, the consortium composed of Zhilu Assets and Jianguang Assets will become a strategic investor of Ziguang Group, responsible for solving Ziguang Group's huge debt of up to 100 billion. The strategic restructuring plan has been approved by the court a few days ago.

According to the report, the specific situation of the shares of Ziguang Group held by Zhilu Jianguang Consortium is not clear. But market watchers and sources said they could buy some or all of Beijing Jiankun's 49 percent stake.

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