Specialty gases in China: More domestic production desired

Specialty gases in China: More domestic production desired

As a result of the Zhongxin issue, the Huawei issue, and the recent trade wars, not only is China’s central government urging the semiconductor industry to expedite the advancement of domestic chip manufacture, the country’s specialty gas industry is also calling for an acceleration of domestic specialty and electronics gas (ESGs) manufacture.

Domestic manufacturers are concerned that specialty gases and ESGs could be the next victims in any trade tussle, because they are instrumental to the development and manufacture of high-end electronics and the semiconductor industry overall.

At the end of last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology formally published a list of 166 categories of ‘Critical New Materials’ that are encouraged to be produced in China, including metals, plastics, ceramics, for specific applications in different industries. Specialty gases are also among these products. In fact, the central government’s determination to promote the domestic production of specialty gases can be traced back as early as 2009.

As many as 15 types of specialty gases, including high purity chlorine, trichlorosilane, germane, and hexachloro-disilane, together with their purity requirements are listed in this new materials list.

However, it is still far from enough. As pointed out by PU Chungan, the General Secretary of the China Industrial Gas Industry Association (CIGIA), at present China can only produce around 20% of the electronic specialty gases required for the manufacture of electronic chips and thus, as much as 80% has to be imported.

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