ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT) announced that it signed a patent license agreement with Rambus to get access to a wide variety of DRAM patents. The details of the deal remain a mystery except that it's a long-term agreement, suggesting it's a cooperation that will last for a few years at the very least.
In a matter of four years, ChangXin Memory Technologies has risen to become China's largest DRAM manufacturer. The chipmaker is a crucial piece in the domestic semiconductor industry as China continues its push for tech self-sufficiency. ChangXin Memory Technologies currently produces DDR4 and LPDDR4X products. However, Rambus' expertise will not only help strengthen but also diversify ChangXin Memory Technologies' intellectual property (IP) portfolio.
Prior to the arrangement with Rambus, ChangXin Memory Technologies signed a patent licensing deal with Polaris Innovations Limited. The contract would allow ChangXin Memory Technologies to tap into DRAM patents developed by Qimonda, which was at one time the second largest DRAM maker in the world.
ChangXin Memory Technologies completed the company's first fab (opens in new tab) last December. Initial production was estimated at 20,000 wafers a month, but would eventually hit 40,000 wafers by the second quarter of this year. Admittedly, ChangXin Memory Technologies isn't ready to compete on an international level with heavyweights, such as Micron, Samsung or SK Hynix. Nevertheless, the Chinese chipmaker is on the right path.
Otherwise it would no longer be be practical to have any modern technology made in China - by either Chinese or American companies.
- What has changed though, is that China has agreed to prevent (discourage?) Chinese companies from forcing technology transfers in manufacturing deals. Previously it was more or less of a requirement that a joint-venture be created wherein ownership of the IP would be shared with the Chinese company that would manufacture the product. This was characterised by some as 'IP theft' and by others as merely a 'sharp' business practice.