Chip self-sufficiency rate will reach 70% in 2025: How can domestic chips go far

Recently, the State Council issued “Several Policies to Promote the High-Quality Development of the Integrated Circuit Industry and Software Industry in the New Era”, which mentioned that China’s chip self-sufficiency rate will reach 70% by 2025, which has become the focus of countless people’s attention.

According to official statistics, my country’s chip self-sufficiency rate was only 30% in 2019. It is very challenging to reach 70% in 2025, that is, to more than double the self-sufficiency rate in 5 years.

How big is the room for domestic replacement of chips?

According to China Customs statistics, since 2015, my country’s integrated circuit imports and imports have shown an upward trend year by year. In 2019, my country’s chip imports were US$305 billion, which was US$7.2 billion less than the import value in 2018, a decrease of 2.3% year-on-year; the cumulative export chip value in 2019 was US$101.65 billion, a year-on-year increase of 20.1%; The trade deficit reached US$203.360 billion.

At the World semiconductor Conference held in Nanjing, Wei Shaojun, vice chairman of the China Semiconductor Industry Association and director of the Institute of Microelectronics of Tsinghua University, said that China’s chip imports in 2020 are expected to remain above US$300 billion for the third consecutive year.

This means that the current domestic chip is far from meeting the domestic market demand, and the domestic chip industry will still have a large market space for a long time to come.

Can the chip self-sufficiency rate reach 70% in 5 years?

There is a well-known Moore’s Law in the chip field. Every 18-24 months, the number of transistors that can be accommodated on an integrated circuit will double, and the performance will increase by 40%.

Over the past half-century, major chip manufacturers have not innovated, and have successively introduced advanced manufacturing technology levels, verifying the effect of Moore’s Law. Up to now, people trying to physically produce smaller and more integrated chips are facing increasing challenges. Although Moore’s Law has not failed, it is gradually slowing down.

For companies such as Intel, Samsung, and TSMC that are the first to master the highest-end chip technology, even if Moore’s Law slows down, they can take advantage of the high-end chip market first. For domestic chips that started late, it is also an opportunity, just like a fast runner who encounters resistance and slows down when approaching the finish line, giving a slow runner a chance to get closer. It is not impossible that the chip self-sufficiency rate has jumped from 30% to 70% in 5 years.

(Picture from OFweek Veken)

Xiang Ligang, chairman of the Information Consumption Alliance, also expressed his views on this issue. Perhaps this idea was unrealistic 10 years ago, but now he is very confident.

In its view:

First, from the experience of the past few years, as long as China is determined to tackle tough chips, there will be good performance, and the main gap is reflected in the wafer manufacturing field;

Second, the United States continues to use its dominant position in the global chip industry to block China, so that the whole society has gradually formed a strong consensus that the core industry of the chip must have the initiative and can no longer be controlled by others;

Third, the national policy and capital market’s support for domestic chips is far beyond imagination;

Fourth, the market’s confidence in the domestic chip industry is gradually increasing. China has become one of the most powerful countries in the world in the field of terminals. Whether it is Huawei’s Kirin chips or BOE’s screens, everyone realizes the reliability of domestic accessories. , If you can make a good quality chip, market acceptance will not be a big problem.

What is the status quo of the development of each link in the domestic chip industry chain?

Nowadays, compared with foreign countries, the development of various links in the domestic chip industry chain is not the same, some links are in a backward state, but the development of some fields can compete with international giants.

Chip design

Among the many links in the development of the domestic chip industry chain, my country’s chip design field has developed relatively well. Data released at the ICCAD 2019 annual meeting showed that there were 1,780 design companies nationwide in 2019, 82 more than the 1,698 in the previous year, and the number increased by 4.8%. In addition to traditional design companies such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, there are more than 100 design companies in cities such as Wuxi, Hangzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu, Nanjing, Suzhou and Hefei. Among them, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing occupy the top three positions in the chip design industry.

The more well-known domestic chip design companies include Huawei HiSilicon and Ziguang Zhanrui, focusing on the mobile processing chip market; Goodix Technology, a leading company in fingerprint recognition chips; Hangzhou Zhongtian Microelectronics, which is good at embedded CPU design; the largest in the mainland Zhaoyi Innovation, a flash memory chip design company; Shengbang shares, a high-performance, high-quality analog integrated circuit chip manufacturer, and Bitmain, a computing power AI chip for cryptocurrency mining machines, which is out of unconventional routes, and so on.

On the whole, my country’s chip design industry has a wide range of products, covering almost all categories, and some products already have a certain market scale. However, chip products are still at the low-end level in general. In the high-end chip market, except for a few Well-known companies can compete with foreign companies, and most of them still have a certain distance from the high level of foreign products.

Chip material

In terms of chip materials, the global chip manufacturing materials market has gradually expanded. Chip manufacturing materials can be divided into wafer manufacturing materials and packaging materials. With the continuous development of advanced manufacturing processes, the consumption of chip manufacturing materials has gradually increased. According to SEMI statistics, the market sales of wafer manufacturing materials increased from US$22.7 billion in 2013 to US$32.8 billion in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.33%.

Mainland China is the only region where sales of chip materials will increase in 2019. In 2019, the global chip material market sales were 52.14 billion U.S. dollars, a 1.1% decrease from the previous year’s 52.73 billion U.S. dollars. The sales of chip materials in most parts of the world are flat or down. Only the sales in mainland China continue to maintain an upward trend, with a year-on-year increase of 1.9%.

At present, the localization rate of domestic chip materials is not high, about 20%, and the market share is relatively scattered. The focus is on target materials, CMP polishing materials, photoresists, wet Electronic chemicals, Electronic special gases, and photomasks. , Well-known companies include Jiangfeng Electronics, Anji Microelectronics, Suzhou Ruihong, Jianghua Microelectronics, Jingrui Co., Ltd., Nanda Optoelectronics, etc. With the increase in the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and 5G applications, the demand for chips will further increase, and the domestic semiconductor material industry will inevitably show a trend of rapid growth.

Manufacturing Equipment

Chip manufacturing equipment provides the basis for mass production of chips, and is therefore at the top of the entire semiconductor chip industry pyramid. Chip manufacturing equipment includes photolithography machines, etching machines, ion implanters, wafer dicing machines, single crystal furnaces, epitaxial furnaces, oxidation furnaces, polishing machines, wire bonding machines, probe testers, etc., which are very complex.

At present, there are not many domestic companies that can manufacture advanced lithography machines. At present, Shanghai Microelectronics can achieve mass production, which can achieve 28nm process; in terms of other chip production equipment, North China Huachuang, China Micro Semiconductor, and China Electronics Technology Electronics Equipment, Granda, VeriSilicon Microelectronics, etc. occupy part of the market.

Chip foundry

When it comes to chip foundry, one has to mention SMIC, the leading chip foundry in mainland China. According to the latest forecast of Tuoqi Industry Research Institute, SMIC has a market share of nearly 4.5% in the global chip foundry market in the third quarter of 2020, and ranks fifth among the top ten foundries in the world.

In addition to SMIC, there are many well-known domestic chip foundries such as Hua Hong Semiconductor, China Resources Micro, Yuexin Semiconductor, Wuhan Xinxin, Founder Microelectronics, and Xin En Semiconductor. Overall, the domestic chip foundry production capacity occupies nearly 12.5% ​​of the global market share, making it the third largest chip production base in the world.

Although the overall output is good, in fact, the overall level of domestic chip manufacturing is still relatively limited, especially in the advanced technology process, it is difficult to match the super players such as TSMC and Samsung. However, in recent years, the country has vigorously supported the development of chip foundries such as SMIC, and will inevitably take up the responsibility of domestic chips in the future.

Package test

Packaging and testing is also an indispensable link in the chip industry chain. It is divided into two major links: packaging and testing. Packaging refers to the process of processing the tested wafer to obtain an independent chip, so that the circuit chip is protected from the influence of the surrounding environment (including physical and chemical influences), playing a role in protecting the chip, enhancing thermal conductivity, realizing electrical and physical connections, and power Distribution and signal distribution are used to communicate the functions of the internal and external circuits of the chip. It is a bridge between integrated circuits and system-level boards such as printed circuit boards (PCB) to realize the functions of electronic products; testing refers to the detection of defective chips to ensure that the chips are delivered intact. It can be divided into two stages, one is the wafer test before entering the package, which mainly tests the electrical properties; the other is the IC finished product test, which mainly tests whether the IC functions, electrical properties and heat dissipation are normal.

At present, the domestic packaging and testing industry has the basic advanced packaging industrialization capabilities, but there is a slight gap with international advanced companies in some advanced packaging such as high-density integration. Domestic packaging and testing companies have also used mergers and acquisitions and their own research and development methods. For example, Changjiang Electronics has acquired advanced packaging technologies such as SIP, TSV, and Fan-out through the acquisition of Xingke Jinpeng, narrowing the gap with overseas competitors and achieving leapfrog development. In addition to Changjiang Electronics Technology, the more well-known domestic packaging and testing companies include Tianshui Huatian, Tongfu Micro, Jingfang Semiconductor and so on.

Concluding remarks

It took China more than 50 years from chip lagging to catching up. Although there are many high-precision technologies that have been able to gain a place in the world, we still have to go back to history and face the gap between domestic chips and foreign countries. At present, China’s core is encountering the worst era, and it is also the best era of China’s core development. No matter how suppressed by international forces, we always believe that we will learn from each other and increase investment in independent research and development, and hope that it will always come.

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