China's largest contract chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), posted huge earnings results in the latest quarter.

The company saw revenue grow more than 43 percent to $1.34 billion, and net profit jump nearly 400 percent to $687.8 million.

SMIC, which raised its full-year revenue growth forecast to 30 percent, is currently sanctioned by the US government.

– Sebastian Moss

In September 2020, the US government told a number of suppliers that they will have to seek individual export licenses to sell equipment to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation.

A few months later, it added the company to the Entity List, making it far harder for the company to acquire US products and services - including crucial chipmaking equipment.

Any shipment with equipment containing more than 25 percent American technology is subject to the sanctions, which the US claims are due to SMIC's ties to the Chinese military.

But if the US had hoped that would cripple the company, or leave it fighting for survival like Huawei, they will be disappointed.

Instead, the company continued to grow amid the wider chip demand spike, and as other sanctioned companies like Huawei turned to SMIC as their only supplier.

Still, the sanctions did stop SMIC doing as well as it could have, co-CEO Zhao Haijin said. “Without these influences, SMIC could have maintained last year’s record growth momentum.

“Although we cannot control external forces, we will cultivate new possibilities and opportunities in the face of crisis and changes.”

He said that the company is still talking to suppliers and the US government about getting licenses to purchase equipment to boost production. In particular, cutting edge equipment for 14-nanometer and 28nm processing technologies have been delayed.

It is still getting its hands on equipment, but at a slower rate.

SMIC hopes to expand capacity at its 12-inch fabrication plant by 10,000 wafers per month and by 45,000 wafers per month at its 8-inch fabrication plant, by the end of the year.

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