Nikon Supplying Photolithography Equipment to China's Leading New Energy Vehicle Brands, Industry Insiders Say

According to an interview with Masahiro Morita, general manager of Nikon's Semiconductor Device Division, published today in China Business News, Nikon is seeing strong growth in the Chinese market for its photolithography equipment. Industry insiders claim that Nikon is supplying this equipment to China's leading new energy vehicle brands.

"While I can't disclose the names of our customers," said an industry insider, "the rapid development of China's new energy vehicle industry appears to be driving demand for 28nm process chips. Based on the orders we've received, it seems that some new energy vehicle companies have placed orders for lithography machines that use this process." Chip products manufactured using the 28nm process are primarily used for mainstream power chips, memory chips, and logic chips.

In the interview, Morita acknowledged feeling "pressure" from Chinese semiconductor equipment companies, but declined to name them.

Reports indicate that Nikon plans to release two new lithography machines for the Chinese market in 2024. One of these, the NSR-2205iL1, is an i-line stepper lithography machine and the first Nikon has released in recent years that can process silicon carbide materials, commonly used for etching wafers in chip production.

In November 2023, Nikkei News reported that Nikon was planning to shift its strategy in the semiconductor lithography machine business in an effort to revive its performance. After more than two decades, the company aims to launch new products in 2024 and enter the mainland Chinese market in a bid to reverse its slump.

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