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Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), the world’s number three maker of semiconductors, and Elpida Memory, a leading supplier of random access memory (RAM), announced on Tuesday that SMIC had qualified memory production using 90nm process technology at its plant. The firm may now ship Elpida memory chips, which are more affordable now.

The memory firms had qualified manufacturing of 512Mb memory chips using 90nm process technology and 300mm wafers at SMIC’s facility in Beijing, China, according to statements from the two companies.

“We are proud of the qualification of Elpida’s 90nm product. SMIC will take aggressive steps to establish stable volume production of the product and expand our production capacity to meet our customer's needs,” aid Richard Chang, president and chief executive at SMIC.

Elpida has been providing SMIC its fabrication processes since 2002 in the exchange for manufacturing capacities. So far the Chinese foundry giant has shipped the Japanese memory firm products made using 0.13 micron and 0.1 micron process technologies and today the firms said that the collaboration is set to continue.

“Based on the success of the qualification of the 90nm products, we will start considering the installation in SMIC of Elpida’s advanced processes for our future products,” said Yukio Sakamoto, president and chief executive at Elpida.

The two companies did not unveil when SMIC will get the first orders for 90nm process technology production, which should be more cost effective to manufacture compared to chips made using 100nm manufacturing process today.

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