Air Liquide has signed a long-term contract with the leading circuit foundry in China, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

Under the terms of the contract - which is for SMIC’s new 200mm and 300mm wafer fabs in Shenzen - Air Liquide will supply carrier gases, including nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, argon and compressed air, as well as specialty gases, with start-up scheduled early 2010.

To support this contract and the development of the electronics industry in South China, Air Liquide will invest in various facilities and production units, with the first phase of this plan amounting to €13m.

Founded in April 2000, SMIC is the world’s third largest semiconductor foundry, and mainland China’s largest and most advanced foundry, providing integrated circuit foundry and technology services.

In January of 2008, it decided to invest US$1.58bn to build two new production lines and a R&D centre in Shenzhen Grand Industrial Zone (SGIZ), a major industrial park based in Guangdong Province, northeast of Shenzen city.

Air Liquide and SMIC have a long-term partnership. Since 2001, Air Liquide has been supplying Electronics Specialty Gases (ESG) to SMIC’s fabs in China (in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and then Chengdu).

In 2008, Air Liquide began supplying carrier gases to its 300mm wafer fab in Wuhan.
Samuel Tsou, SMIC Vice President of Facilities said, “Shenzen is an important base for the IC industry in China. Building a new IC production project in Shenzen, the first facility producing wafers larger than 200mm in South China, is of strategic importance to both SMIC and the city.”

“We naturally decided to entrust our industrial gas needs to Air Liquide again. Air Liquide is our partner in our geographic expansion and we benefit from its worldwide expertise.”

Li Yong, Director of the SGIZ investment bureau declared, “We are happy to have Air Liquide, partnering with SMIC, settled in SGIZ, to improve the infrastructure of industrial gas in the Zone and serve electronics, TFT-LCD and PV customers in the near future.”

Francisco Martins, Vice President of World Business Linde Electronics of the Air Liquide group declared, “Following the success cooperation with SMIC on numerous projects, we are very proud to expand this relationship by supplying SMIC in the strategic Shenzen area.”

“This new contract attests to our ability to supply electronics customers with products and services that meet the highest standards.”

“This fits well with Air Liquide’s strategy of rbinging the industrial gas infrastructure required by electronics to the Shenzen area, including the semiconductor, TFT-LCD and PV industries. High tech is a long-term growth driver for the Group.”

The electronics market in China experienced sequential improvement in the second quarter of 2009.

Shenzhen Grand Industrial Zone (SGIZ) stands at the forefront of China’s electronics industry. High-tech industries have been the number one pillar industry of Shenzhen.