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2019

05/22

Inspiration from chip warfare in semiconductor industry: seizing opportunities and developing synergistically

Japan's semiconductor industry has experienced a great ups and downs in the past 40 years. It once became the dominant semiconductor industry in the world, and finally returned to plain. The Japanese-American game runs through the whole process. We briefly analyzed the key factors of the rise and fall of Japan's semiconductor industry. At present, China's 5G is about to break out the night before, and the Kechuang board will be launched, but the external shocks are coming again, and the danger and opportunity coexist all the time. Japan's experience and lessons of that year give us a mirror. China's past precipitated manufacturing base, mechanism of concentrating on major events, continuous improvement of multi-level capital market system and Chinese engineers'dividends provide a solid foundation for the development of China's semiconductor and science and technology undertakings.

Watching and Discussing the Market: Enlightenment from the Rise and Fall of Semiconductor Industry in Japan


The 2009 Q1 Semiconductor Sales List is published. Among the top ten semiconductors, the United States occupies half of the world. There are two Korean, one European, one Taiwan and one Japanese.


The United States has an absolute leading position in the semiconductor industry, which was not the case 20 years ago.

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Semiconductor was born in the United States, the United States has been an absolute leader until the early 1980s. Since the 1970s, Japan's electronic industry has flourished.

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With the explosion of a series of products such as TV sets, VTR and electronic calculators, Japan has gained absolute advantages through cheap and high-quality products. However, in the 1970s Japan's semiconductor industry was relatively weak, and a large number of integrated circuits depended on imports. Japan's high-quality and low-cost electronic products have encountered frequent trade frictions in the United States, and at the same time, some companies have even encountered an integrated circuit embargo. In 1975, IBM will introduce the next generation of computer systems with VLSI in the 1980s. In 1976, under the combined effect of multiple factors, Japan decided to make a breakthrough in the field of semiconductor.


In 1976, under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Industry, Japan joined five major computer-producing companies, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, NEC and Toshiba, and established the Super LSI Technology Research Association. The total budget of the project is 70 billion yuan, of which 30 billion yen is funded by the state. During the four years of operation of the Super LSI Technology Research Association, more than 1,000 invention patents have been produced by the Communist Party of China. Help Japan to catch up in semiconductor technology.

Semiconductor memory was the fastest growing segment of the market, where mainframe storage dominated. With technological breakthroughs, high product stability and high productivity, Japan's DRAM is inexpensive and has rapidly increased its global market share. After the 1980s, the strategic center of the United States was mainly focused on the US-Soviet hegemony. Semiconductors in the United States were widely used in the military field, while the civilian field gave way to Japan, objectively giving Japan a chance to develop rapidly. Throughout the 1980s, Japanese Semiconductor Company occupied a leading position in the world.

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In 1993, Japan had six of the top ten semiconductor companies.


There are many factors contributing to Japan's semiconductor success in the 1980s, including the success of the national system, the transfer of the strategic center of the United States, and the solid foundation of precision manufacturing in Japan.


In 1985, when the US-Soviet hegemony ended, the strategic center turned to Japan, forcing Japan to sign a series of treaties such as the Plaza Agreement and the Semiconductor Agreement. Limiting the selling price of Japanese semiconductors, the appreciation of the yen, the price advantage of Japanese semiconductors is no longer. At this time, with the advent of the Internet era, personal PC has replaced the mainframe computer as a new growth point. The requirement of personal PC for product stability is relatively low, while the requirement for product iteration renewal efficiency is higher.


In this context, a new trend has emerged in semiconductor industry. Semiconductor design and manufacturing have begun to separate. Some companies focus on design, some companies focus on manufacturing. Semiconductor has begun to have a global division of labor, and Fabless and Foundry have appeared. Focusing on design or manufacturing makes the law of Moore's law play a better role, and product update iteration is more efficient. At this time, Japan Semiconductor Company is still the IDM model, which requires both design and manufacture, and the efficiency obviously lags behind. In the United States, a number of IC design companies such as Qualcomm, Salinger and Invidia have emerged, while in Taiwan, a number of pure OEMs such as Jiuquan, Lianhua and Lijing have emerged.


The United States suppressed the superimposition of Japan's own rigid system and failed to upgrade its technological form, which made Japan miss the development of personal PC. In the subsequent development of mobile Internet, Japan's electronic information industry also failed to win. It can be said that Japan's entry into the so-called lost 20 years is precisely the 20 years that Japan has lost the hardware and software opportunities to embrace the Internet and the mobile Internet. Therefore, it is very important for economic development to grasp the trend of scientific and technological progress.

Japan's financial mechanism also plays an important disadvantageous role in it. As a typical large banking system and consortium model, Japan's financial resources and industrial resources are more controlled by various consortia and leading enterprises, and it is difficult for start-up companies to have development opportunities. It has also led to the fact that no decent start-up companies have emerged in Japan during the Internet wave that began in the 1990s. Whether in the field of software or hardware. At present, Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, NEC, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Toshiba are still active in various fields in Japan's electronic information industry chain.


Faced with the low self-sufficiency rate of chips, Japan adopted the mode of government promoting joint R&D of enterprises. Through industrial policy support and financial support, it provided support for breakthroughs in enterprise products, and realized the dominant position of semiconductor through its own manufacturing level advantages. However, the rigidity of the dominance and mode of large enterprises has also caused Japan to miss the opportunities brought about by the next round of technological innovation and industry change.


At present, China's semiconductor industry is just on the rise, and its global share is steadily rising. China's experience in processing, assembly and manufacturing has similar advantages as Japan's in the fields of mobile phone equipment and communication equipment, but the same problem is that the core devices and equipment such as semiconductor chips are restricted by the United States. At present, we are also facing new technological trends in the development of information technology. The development of 5G is expected to lead to the outbreak of a series of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, intelligent driving and so on.

Faced with such a situation, we believe that because of the huge amount of funds needed for semiconductor research and development, and semiconductor technology has a certain spillover effect, and the semiconductor industry is characterized by rapid development when used. Therefore, it is necessary for the government to play a greater role in the development of the semiconductor industry. In addition to the necessary financial support, it should also make corresponding organizational arrangements for the cooperation, resource sharing, joint R&D and order support of domestic semiconductor companies. If we abandon the support for domestic semiconductor companies, the development of domestic semiconductor will be difficult. At present, American companies have launched several chip embargoes on China's telecommunications and semiconductor enterprises, objectively adversely affecting China's telecommunications and semiconductor industries. But at the same time, it also provides opportunities for the coordinated development of domestic semiconductors and devices.


On the other hand, because today's semiconductor industry is no longer an all-purpose situation for IDM enterprises, but requires the coordinated development of Companies in various subdivisions of design, manufacturing, packaging and testing, and devices. Support for small and medium-sized semiconductor companies and start-up semiconductor companies should be greater. Similar to Japan and China, banks dominate the financial system. Therefore, the significance of developing multi-level and healthy capital market is more significant in the current environment. Active trading and appropriate premium in the secondary market can not only help existing listed semiconductor and hard technology companies to obtain appropriate financing development and growth, but also provide returns for investors. Moreover, it also helps venture capital in the primary market to invest more in start-up semiconductors and other hard technology companies.


At present, 5G is just about to break out the night before, while Kechuang board will be launched, but external shocks happen unexpectedly. Excessive pessimism or optimism that Rome is built in a day are not conducive to the stability of capital markets. The wheels of history roll forward, and the danger coexists with the machine. China's past deposited manufacturing base, the mechanism of concentrating on major events, the continuous improvement of the multi-level capital market system and the dividend of Chinese engineers provide a solid foundation for the development of China's semiconductor and science and technology undertakings.