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posted by hubie on Friday May 19 2023, @06:53AM   Printer-friendly

Chinese Chip Industry to Focus on Perfecting Mature Nodes: Report:

Severe constraints on the development of the Chinese chip industry caused by strict export control rules that block People's Republic chipmakers from obtaining advanced wafer fab equipment (WFE) has triggered local specialists to rethink the nation's semiconductor strategy. While it is obvious that China will have to replace tools made abroad to make leading-edge chips in the long term, for now the country's chipmakers will have to focus on perfecting their mature nodes to stay competitive, reports DigiTimes.

Meanwhile, between 2022 and 2026, Jiwei Research estimates there will be 25 new 300-mm fabs in China, with a total capacity of over 1.6 million wafer starts per month. This could significantly increase China's chip production capacity, which will increase China's total 300-mm capacity to 2.76 million WSPM by 2026.

Without access to advanced equipment, all of these fabs will have to focus on 20nm – 90nm-class technologies, but it will better be able to rely on domestic suppliers. Consequently, companies within the Chinese semiconductor supply chain, spanning from raw materials, machinery, and electronic design automation (EDA), are reportedly shifting their growth strategies, prioritizing mature processes over advanced ones. For instance, Naura has declared that it will prioritize shipments of tools for trailing processes utilized by Chinese chipmakers.

Furthermore, a provider of photoresist materials has disclosed that the current industry emphasis is on mature processes, in the hope of spurring significant advancements in mature wafer production techniques. As of now, the development of cutting-edge processes is not at the forefront of Tianxia's semiconductor industry's agenda.

[...] But Chinese chip specialists believe that despite oversupply risks, domestic chipmakers should concentrate on trailing nodes rather than on desperately investing in sub-14nm and more advanced fabrication technologies. Focusing on mature processes can lead to increased self-sufficiency and controllability of the semiconductor industry, reducing dependence on foreign technology and supplies.

[...] Meanwhile, domestic suppliers of lithography tools can make scanners with enough resolution for a 90nm-class node and it is even unclear whether they can make them in sufficient quantities. Therefore, Chinese chipmakers will keep buying tools produced by companies from Japan and the Netherlands. So while China's chip sector is striving for autonomy, it will likely keep relying on WFE made abroad.

Related: China's Phone Giant Oppo Disbands Chip Design Unit as Shipment Slumps

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China's Phone Giant Oppo Disbands Chip Design Unit as Shipment Slumps 1 comment

China's phone giant Oppo disbands chip design unit as shipment slumps:

Chinese smartphone giant Oppo is disbanding its young chip design unit Zeku as weak global demand forces major handset manufacturers to cut costs and restrategize.

The decision comes as a surprise to those who believe the phone maker is bolstering its in-house chip development as rising geopolitical tensions with the U.S. threatens to cut Chinese firms off key suppliers. In the foreseeable future, Oppo will have to revert back to relying on third-party chip partners.

[...] Oppo explained its decision to cut its once-promising chip team in a statement issued today: "Due to the uncertainties in the global economy and the smartphone industry, we have to make difficult adjustments for long-term development. Therefore, the company has decided to cease the operation of Zeku."

In December 2021, Zeku revealed its first self-developed chipset, MariSilicon X, a neural processing unit designed to boost photo and video performance through machine learning, following Apple's path to bring chip design in-house. Zeku also set up a research base in Palo Alto.

[...] Oppo's retreat from chips signals another struggle from Chinese phone companies to strengthen their control over the semiconductor supply chain. Huawei lost access to advanced chips from the U.S. due to Trump-era sanctions, and its attempt to design its own high-end chips through HiSilicon floundered after the U.S. cut it off major foundries. The company resorted to spinning out its budget handset brand Honor, a move seen as a way to help the subsidiary circumvent the sanctions that have decimated Huawei's consumer business.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RedGreen on Friday May 19 2023, @11:15AM (2 children)

    by RedGreen (888) on Friday May 19 2023, @11:15AM (#1306981)

    gives you lemons make lemonade. Now their plans to dominate the leading edge are kaput they have no choice in the matter. At least that is one area the fucking parasite corporations that want to ship all of our jobs to China to exploit the slave labour and lack of environmental protections will have hold back on. Looks like the governments have finally clued in on the EVs and the minerals critical for that too. About god damn time the useless bastard government assholes did something about it. If it is good enough for the Chinese it is good enough for us too. Next up cut China off from the internet, our open one is not good enough for them fine they get no access to use it. All the apps in the stores go as we cannot have ours in theirs. All their discriminatory polices get turned back upon them if we do not get the same access they get to our countries to their country they do not get it either. I am sick or watching these businesses bastards continue on the path to messing us all about so they can destroy our societies and keep in as close to poverty as they can. So they can turn us into the slaves they exploit so badly in these shit hole countries.

    "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2023, @12:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2023, @12:59PM (#1307003)

      You know that you can buy directly from China, bypassing the "businesses bastards" that make their money by buying in quantity from China and distributing/selling individually in USA. Just use eBay or Alibaba.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Friday May 19 2023, @05:06PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Friday May 19 2023, @05:06PM (#1307032)

      Now their plans to dominate the leading edge are kaput they have no choice in the matter.

      China never subsidized anything remotely close to the leading edge. In fact, they explicitly gave up on catching up around the mid-2000s and instead decided to just let the market run its course until Moore's law dies out and the west comes to them to sell off the patents or they just expire. Unfortunately, not only were they right, the US doesn't even own the relevant patents since Intel bet on the wrong horse. So, here we are, running Hail Mary passes trying to get China to repeat the Soviet mistake and overspend in military or space or fabrication... But them fish ain't biting and the clock is ticking on those patents.