By Li Panpan
(JW Insights) Sep 25 -- China's IC industry has experienced the fastest development in history over the past 15 years, and the current new situation is bringing about "the right time, the right place, the right people," and another golden decade is coming, said Ye Tianchun, chairman of the IC Branch of the China Semiconductor Industry Association, in his speech at the ongoing 2023 Beijing International Seminar on Micro-Electronics & IC WORLD Conference held in Beijing from September 25 to 27.
China's integrated circuit industry currently contains tremendous opportunities amid challenges. From 2016 to the present, three U.S. administrations have taken successive measures, and more than 260 Chinese companies have been sanctioned. China has been forced to become self-reliant in science and technology. How to get rid of path dependence, open up new tracks, and create a new ecosystem has become a challenge facing China's integrated circuits industry, said Ye.
China's strategy to deal with anti-globalization is to shift from relying on the "international cycle" to depending on the "domestic cycle" and to guide the two cycles to promote "re-globalization" and reshape the globalization system. The three major strategic tasks that China needs to complete at this stage are to make up for shortcomings and forge strong points in the supply chain, to open up new tracks through "path innovation," and to use innovation to create a new ecosystem, said Ye.
China's IC industry has maintained rapid growth from 2008 to 2022. In 2022, sales revenue of design, manufacturing, and packaging and testing reached RMB515.62 billion ($70.54 billion), RMB385.48 billion ($52.74 billion), and RMB299.51 billion ($40.97 billion), up by 13.2 times, 9.8 times and 4.5 times, respectively. The income ratio of the three sectores is more reasonable.
In the past 15 years, China's IC industry has built a relatively complete layout with a solid foundation for a self-centered development path, said Ye.
Technical capabilities in IC design have been greatly improved, with breakthroughs in CPU, FPGA, communication SoC, etc. IC manufacturing technology has been improved for many generations, with capabilities to support more than 80% of product varieties. The scale of traditional packaging ranks first in the world, and advanced packaging reaches the international advanced level, covering 90% of technology categories. Regarding equipment and materials, China has started from scratch and initially formed overall supply support capabilities for 28nm and above size technologies, and some products have entered 14-7nm, he said.
More than 800 key semiconductor companies and 150 listed companies support the development of the entire industry in China, with more than 500,000 employees in the industry, including nearly 100,000 core innovation talents.
Regarding the technological innovation strategy, Ye Tianchun emphasized that path innovation and changing development paths are the way out. China has encountered a "7-nanometer barrier" on its existing technology paths, which brought opportunities to new technology paths such as FDSOI and three-dimensional transistors.