Chinese semiconductor holding Tsinghua Unigroup faces bankruptcy

Tsinghua Unigroup, a Chinese technology company specializing in semiconductor products, has confirmed that one of its creditors has gone to court to file for bankruptcy. Tsinghua Unigroup is government-backed and the parent company of a number of chip makers, including China’s second largest chip maker UNISOC.

The company said it received a notice from the People’s Court of First Instance of Beijing Municipality. The creditor went to court with a statement that Tsinghua Unigroup did not pay the debt. The move follows the termination of loan payments by the company in November last year. Tsinghua Unigroup said it will cooperate with the court in the investigation and is committed to enforcing the creditor’s rights under the law. The creditor is Huishang Bank, registered in Hong Kong, which is a state-owned medium-sized bank.

Tsinghua Unigroup has enjoyed the backing of the Chinese authorities for many years, in line with Beijing’s ambitions to build a strong domestic semiconductor industry. The company has led to the success of major memory chip maker Yangtze Memory Technologies, which is one step away from challenging market leaders like Samsung and Micron. The developer of mobile chipsets UNISOC also achieved some success, releasing quite good chips for devices in the budget segment.

Nikkei Asia

Financial difficulties are likely to force the company to cancel plans to build factories to manufacture 3D NAND flash memory and DRAM chips. In addition, Tsinghua Unigroup intends to sell part of its stake in UNISOC to pay off its debt obligations. The company said that its judicial restructuring would not affect the legal entity status and business of its subsidiaries. Confidence in this is also inspired by the fact that the Chinese authorities are interested in the health of Tsinghua Unigroup.

Tsinghua Unigroup’s subsidiaries are reported to be performing well, with two of them – security chip maker Unigroup Guoxin Microelectronics and Unisplendor Corporation, which manufactures cloud computing infrastructure – reported year-on-year revenue growth of 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

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