IC industry this year
Against the backdrop of the global semiconductor market entering a downward cycle in 2019, China's semiconductor industry still has achieved better than the global level. It is expected that the annual industrial growth rate will be around 10%, injecting confidence for the next stage of development. In the new year, the market is expected to return, and the challenges may remain. How to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges of the Chinese semiconductor industry requires the joint efforts of all practitioners.
"Little loose" problem improved
In 2019, the industry winter has become a topic often talked about in the industry. According to WSTS data, the growth rate of the global semiconductor industry market in 2019 fell from 13.7% in 2018 to -12.1%, and the performance of major global semiconductor manufacturers was generally affected. In contrast, the Chinese semiconductor market has maintained a relatively good trend. According to data from the China Semiconductor Industry Association, in the first half of 2019, with the double-digit decline in the global semiconductor industry, China's integrated circuit industry still maintained double-digit growth. It is expected that the annual industrial growth rate will be around 10%.
In addition to the market showing strong development resilience, the overall level of China's integrated circuit industry is also constantly improving. From January to September 2019, China's IC industry sales were 504.99 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 13.2%. Among them, the sales of design industry was 212.28 billion yuan, an increase of 18.5% year-on-year; the sales of manufacturing industry was 132.05 billion yuan, an increase of 15.1%; the sales of the packaging and testing industry was 160.66 billion yuan, an increase of 5.5%. Among the three integrated circuit industries, the relatively high-tech design industry accounted for the largest proportion of sales, and the growth rate of the manufacturing industry also exceeded that of the packaging and testing industry, indicating that the overall development level of China's integrated circuit industry is steadily increasing.
"Small scattered weak" has been one of the main problems that plagued China's integrated circuits. This issue is improving in 2019. Wei Shaojun, chairman of the Integrated Circuit Design Branch of the China Semiconductor Industry Association, said that the total sales of the top ten design companies in 2019 accounted for more than 50% of the total sales of the industry for the first time, reversing the previous decline. And the sum of sales of the three largest communications chip companies exceeds 100 billion yuan, accounting for 88.7% of the total sales of 112.82 billion yuan in this field. The threshold for entering the list of the top 10 design companies has been raised to 4.8 billion yuan, a significant increase of 1.8 billion yuan over the 3 billion yuan last year. The situation that China's integrated circuit design industry has several aircraft carrier fleets is expected to appear in the near future.
In 2019, in some key technologies, China's integrated circuit companies have also made major breakthroughs. On September 6, Huawei Hisilicon officially released the Kirin 990 flagship chip at IFA 2019, using the world's most advanced 7nm + EUV process to achieve the successful development of 5G mobile phone chips. On August 8, SMIC disclosed in the second quarter financial report that the 14-nanometer process has entered the stage of customer risk mass production and can contribute meaningful revenue. The second-generation FinFET N + 1 technology platform has begun to enter the stage of customer introduction. It will maintain cooperative relations with customers and seize development opportunities in 5G, Internet of Things, automotive electronics and other industries. The memory chip has achieved a preliminary layout. Changjiang Storage has successfully put into production 64-layer 3D NAND, and Changxin Storage has successfully put into production 19-nm DRAM. With the development of heterogeneous computing, the importance of advanced packaging has continued to increase, and China has made progress in the field of advanced packaging. Changdian Technology, Tongfu Microelectronics, Huatian Technology, etc. have gradually mastered advanced packaging technologies such as bump packaging and TSV. In terms of equipment materials, China Micro Semiconductor's plasma etching machine entered TSMC's 7nm logic device production line; Shanghai Xinsheng's 12-inch large silicon wafers began to be supplied in batches.
The shortage of supply is still sharp
While achieving a series of achievements, China's integrated circuit industry still has many shortcomings. The first is that although the types of integrated circuit products are complete, high-end core chips are lacking. Such as CPU, memory and high-performance analog chips all have huge gaps. Although the domestic memory has achieved a preliminary layout in 2019, it has not yet formed a scale. Domestic CPUs are mainly concentrated in the special market of party and government office systems. Although some companies have begun to enter the open market to participate in competition, in general, China's chips have not been able to meet market demand. As Wei Shaojun pointed out, "strong demand and insufficient supply" are still the fundamental contradictions currently facing.
Secondly, although breakthroughs have been made in some key technology areas in 2019, the overall gap is still large, especially in the underlying foundation areas. From the perspective of the design industry, China's integrated circuit design enterprises rely on the advancement of manufacturing processes and EDA tools, and the phenomenon of upgrading products is still serious. In the manufacturing field, the manufacturing technology nodes of mainland Chinese companies are still about two generations behind Samsung and TSMC 7nm. In terms of packaging and testing, although through independent research and development and mergers and acquisitions, local packaging and testing factories have basically formed the industrialization capabilities of advanced packaging, but they accounted for only 30% of total packaging and testing revenue, far below the global level. In terms of equipment materials, although some high-end equipment and materials enter the production line to achieve supply, the situation of relying mainly on imports has not changed, and there is a bottleneck in industrial development.
Finally, with the rapid development of China's integrated circuit industry, the need for high-quality professionals is extremely urgent. The talent problem is becoming the main bottleneck restricting the sustainable development of China's integrated circuit industry. The "China IC Industry Talents White Paper (2018-2019 Edition)" shows that as of the end of 2018, China's IC industry employs about 461,000 people, an increase of 61,000 people over the same period in 2017, a growth rate of 15.3%. The talent supply and demand situation has improved to a certain extent, but the gap is still large as a whole.
In response, Ma Junru, deputy director of the National Integrated Circuit Industry Development Advisory Committee, pointed out that from the perspective of the existing talents in China's integrated circuit field, although after many years of development, China has cultivated a large number of talents, it still feels that the talent supply is insufficient. The main problems are concentrated in three aspects, one is the shortage of high-end and leading talents, the other is the serious loss of college graduates in the field of integrated circuits, and the third is the lack of talent engineering and practical experience. We should actively explore a new model for cultivating talents from the integration of production and education, find talents in innovative practice, cultivate talents in innovative activities, and pool talents in the cause of innovation.
Reshape China's IC industry with products as the center
After more than 60 years of development, the integrated circuit industry has matured, and the development of the industry has also changed from technology-driven to application-driven. Although there are still many shortcomings in China's integrated circuit industry, China, as the world's largest manufacturing base and the largest application market for integrated circuits, has huge development potential and can play a greater role in the future.
In 2020, 5G communication is the most anticipated huge market. Market research company Canalys reports that by 2023, global 5G smartphone shipments will reach 800 million, accounting for 51.4% of the entire smartphone market. China, as a key region for global 5G network construction, will be the world's largest 5G smart phone. In the mobile phone market, shipments are expected to account for 34% of the global market.
In addition to 5G, high-speed rail, smart grid, Beidou navigation, ultra-high-definition video, security ... With the accelerated integration of information technology and traditional industries, more and more integrated circuit application fields, local integrated circuit companies rely on close to the market, closer to users The advantages that can be played will also become larger and larger, and the products will also be upgraded from low-end to more strategic general-purpose or large-scale high-end products such as storage, simulation, and RF.
In response, Wei Shaojun pointed out that in the future, China's integrated circuit industry should seize the opportunities brought by 5G communications, VR / AR, Internet of Things, medical and health, ultra-high-definition television and display technology, artificial intelligence and brain-like computing, and autonomous driving. Explore the integrated circuit industry model that is suitable for China, and reshape the integrated circuit industry in China by focusing on products.
At the same time, China's integrated circuit innovation and development cannot be separated from international cooperation. In 2019, the IC industry has made some anti-globalization remarks, which has a huge impact on China and even global industry companies. However, integrated circuits are a highly international industry, and it is impossible for any country to close its doors to do the integrated circuit industry. China's integrated circuit industry can only take an open road and participate in global market competition. Companies from all over the world are also welcome to invest and operate in China. As Zhao Weiguo, chairman of the Ziguang Group, said: "China and the world have become one, and wanting to split this state is very unfavorable to the development of the global economy and the development of some countries."
Editor-in-chief: Chen Bingxin