Chipmaker SMIC bolsters strategic planning by hiring veterans

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 3:53am

SMIC, the mainland's biggest contract chipmaker, expects to sharpen its strategic planning process with the hiring of industry veterans led by the former chairman of Intel China, Sean Maloney.

The Shanghai-based company, in full Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, named Maloney as an independent non-executive director, as well as a member of its compensation and strategic advisory committees.

Gao Yonggang, formerly chief financial officer of the China Academy of Telecommunications Technology, has joined SMIC as its executive vice-president for strategic planning.

In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday, SMIC's chief executive, Chiu Tzu-yin, said the new appointments would "improve the company's decision-making processes and professionalism on key strategies and developments".

The successful recruitment of those senior executives marks a strengthened commitment to long-term business growth by SMIC under Chiu, who took over as the firm's chief executive in August 2011 and presided over its remarkable turnaround.

Mark Li, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research, said: "Chiu has been instrumental in improving SMIC's execution and profitability."

Li said that Maloney, who worked more than 30 years at Intel and also served as its head of worldwide sales and marketing, "would certainly be able to help in the strategic level". Intel is the world's largest supplier of semiconductors, with US$49 billion in sales last year.

SMIC, one of the world's leading semiconductor foundries, saw its fifth consecutive quarter of revenue growth in January to March, when its turnover rose 50.8 per cent year on year to a record US$501.6 million. The firm also posted its fourth consecutive quarter of net profit, at US$40.6 million, a turnaround from a net loss of US$42.8 million a year earlier.

Chiu said the company's growth driver this year will continue to be its 40/45-nanometre foundry process, which primarily makes chips for mobile-related applications and has benefited from strong demand on the mainland.

Early this month, SMIC formed a US$3.6 billion joint venture with the Beijing government to build a new chip fabrication plant.