Air Liquide signs a major ultra-pure carrier gases contract in China

December 5, 2013

The global popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices is driving the need for advanced semiconductor components such as mobile application processors and wireless communication chips. China possesses more than 50% of the global assembly capacity for televisions and mobile devices and is the world’s largest electronics and smartphone market.

Air Liquide has just been awarded a major long-term contract in China by SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) to supply ultra-pure carrier gases to its latest cutting-edge fab in Beijing which will manufacture advanced integrated circuits for consumer electronics and mobile devices for both international and Chinese markets. SMIC Beijing Fab B2 will begin operating in early 2014 and will produce 300 millimeters wafers with 28 nanometers advanced technology*.

To meet the needs of this customer, Air Liquide will invest in a large on-site generator producing ultra-high purity nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential molecule that is used in the production processes, along with electronics specialty gases and precursors, to ensure that the stringent cleanliness requirement is met and that manufacturing equipment is safely operated. Air Liquide will also invest in the necessary bulk gases supply infrastructure. Air Liquide’s overall investment will amount to €18 million.

Founded in 2000, SMIC is the largest foundry manufacturer in China and the fourth largest worldwide. Air Liquide and SMIC have established a long-term relationship that goes back to 2001. Air Liquide already supplies electronic specialty gases to SMIC’s large fabs in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, and Shenzhen.

Tzu-Yin Chiu, CEO of the SMIC Group, said: “We are delighted to enter into this new long-term collaboration with Air Liquide in Beijing. Air Liquide has shown an excellent understanding of our needs and offered us competitive solutions. Thanks to its worldwide experience, technology, and excellence in operational management, we will benefit from a safe, reliable and energy efficient supply of industrial gases.”

Michael J. Graff, Air Liquide Group Senior Vice-President for the Americas and Executive Committee member overseeing Electronics, commented: “Building on the successful and long-term partnership with SMIC, we are very pleased to expand this relationship to supply SMIC in the strategic Beijing area. This new contract attests to our ability to supply electronics customers with products and services that meet the highest standards, and reaffirms the value and competitiveness of our offer and our position in the fast-growing mobility and smart devices revolution.”