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Companies

Chinese chipmaker takes on TSMC and Intel with cutting-edge tool

SMIC's $120m order shows zeal to hone domestic tech amid US trade spat

TAIPEI -- Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co., China's top state-backed contract chipmaker, has placed an order for one set of extreme-ultraviolet lithography equipment, the costliest and most advanced chip production tool, to close technology gaps with market leaders and to secure the supply of critical gear amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company's move to purchase its first EUV lithography equipment from Dutch chip gear builder ASML, worth $120 million, highlights its growing ambition to help boost Chinese homegrown semiconductor manufacturing technology, even though it is still two to three generations behind market leaders. The move also secures the supply of the cutting-edge lithography tool that all top global chip giants, including Intel, Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., are buying to ensure the later production of more powerful and advanced chips.

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