Chinese Chip Maker With a Hand in Crypto Mining Plans $2.8B IPO

Hong Kong-listed SMIC plans to raise $2.8 billion via an initial public offering on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, in hopes of advancing its chip making practices. The company is working with Canaan Creative to build a new crypto miner.

AccessTimeIconJun 1, 2020 at 10:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:47 a.m. UTC
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Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), one of the largest computing chip producers in China, plans to raise $2.8 billion through an initial public offering on the Sci-Tech Board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE). 

The exchange has accepted SMIC’s application, according to a document filed Monday with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), where it is already listed. The company said part of the proceeds will be focused on developing 14nm chips, which will be used for crypto mining. 

The move comes just two months after the company announced a partnership with crypto miner maker Canaan Creative. The two companies plan to develop a mining machine for an undisclosed cryptocurrency with a relatively small market cap, rather than bitcoin due to current technical limitations. 

SMIC’s chip-making capabilities still lag behind Bitmain’s major chip supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), as well as Samsung, which works closely with Whatsminer and MicroBT. For example, Samsung has announced its intention to mass-produce 8nm chips in the first quarter, while TSMC is developing 5nm chips. 

Founded in mainland China in 2000, SMIC could be one of China’s best hopes to advance its chip-making technologies and become less dependent on manufacturers that have deeper connections with the U.S. government amid increasing tension between the two countries. 

Strong support from the Chinese government can put SMIC on the fast track to catch up with its competitors. The company has received substantial financial windfalls since the U.S. put forward new restrictions that could limit chip-makers such as TSMC and Samsung from manufacturing chips for Chinese tech conglomerate Huawei.  

The Sci-Tech Innovation Board of the SSE, where SMIC wants to go public, went live last June in Shanghai. The new market is touted to be part of China’s capital market reform and support technology companies that are in line with national strategies. 

SMIC also received a $2.2 billion investment in May from National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund II and Shanghai Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund II, which are two of the largest national investment funds. 

The government fund came as the U.S. Department of Commerce expanded a restriction known as the Foreign Direct Product Rule to make it harder for China to import chips from Samsung and TSMC. It also cut off chip supply to Huawei in May, while setting up a new plant in the U.S.


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