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Analysis of Chip Design Industry in China

IC design is the most vigorous development in China's semiconductor industry chain. In 2018, the output value of IC design in China reached RMB 251.9 billion yuan, 21.46% annually, while in the past few years it has maintained a growth rate of more than 20%. If we look at the global proportion, the proportion of IC design output value in China to global IC design output value has increased significantly from 12.9% in 2012 to 31.5% in 2017.

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China's IC design industry has the highest proportion in the field of communication, with output value reaching 104.7 billion yuan in 2018, 16.3% annually, accounting for about 40%, down 6 percentage points from 2017. In the analog circuit field, the output value is still low, only 14.2 billion yuan RMB in 2018, accounting for about 5.5%, up 2 percentage points from 2017.

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According to the revenue ranking of IC design enterprises in China, Haisi is benefiting from the growth of Huawei's mobile phone shipments. Its revenue in 2018 is about 50.3 billion yuan, 30% annually, and it ranks first in China's IC design. The second-place Ziguang Zhanrui is mainly engaged in research and development of communication baseband, with a revenue of 11 billion yuan in 2018, which is comparable to that in 2017, ranking second.

The third largest image sensor supplier in the world, Beijing Howe, has a revenue of 10 billion yuan in 2018, 10.5% annually. Fourth, ZTE is a subsidiary of ZTE Communications, which provides a small number of chip factories in the whole field of communication "cloud, tube, end". ZTE Weiwei's revenue in 2018 was 6.1 billion yuan, a decrease of 20% annually.

The fifth is Huada Semiconductor, which is in the forefront of the world in touch control and OLED chip technology for new displays. Sixth, Huiding Technology is the largest supplier of fingerprint identification solutions for Android camp. The seventh largest Beijing Silicon Cheng, the main products are DRAM and SRAM.

The eighth largest Gekowei, its main product is CMOS image sensor. The ninth is Ziguang Guowei, the leading manufacturer of safety chips in China. The tenth innovation of Zhaoyi is MCU, NAND and NOR Falsh flash memory chips.

China's mainstream IC design chip development:

1. Table and Server CPU

Because the X86 architecture of desktop CPU has patent problems and Intel does not authorize it, it is very difficult for Chinese manufacturers to develop X86 architecture CPU. At present, Chinese enterprises using X86 design architecture have Haiguang and Shanghai Zhaoxin. The X86 architecture of Shanghai Zhaoxin is authorized by Weisheng, which owns 20% of Shanghai Zhaoxin. It is a company with X86 architecture authorization in addition to Intel, AMD, Weisheng and China Haiguang (AMD authorization).

Shanghai Megacore's new generation of KX-5000 chips is the first high-level CPU designed with SoC, and the first CPU in China to support DDR4 and dual-channel DDR4 memory. But its performance is similar to Intel's sixth-generation I3 processor, and this year Intel has launched the 10th-generation Intel Core, which shows that there is a considerable gap between the two R&D teams.

2. Mobile CPU

The CPU of mobile devices is basically developed using the ARM architecture, which can be used and modified through payment. Due to the high requirement of performance and power control for mobile chips, leading to increased R&D costs, only a few companies in the world have sufficient scale to design mobile CPU. Huawei's Haisi is the most internationally competitive Chinese manufacturer.

3. AI chip

Unlike general purpose chips, AI chips generally only need to satisfy specific algorithms, so the design difficulty is relatively small, and generally do not need to be compatible with the mainstream architecture, so there are fewer patent problems. But to develop a "real" AI chip, it still needs a certain pocket depth.

At present, large Internet companies in China, such as BAT, Haisi, Cambrian (Chinese government financial assistance) and other factories are actively engaged in AI chip development.

4. Baseband chip

Baseband used to be the world's largest manufacturer. This year Huawei officially launched 5G baseband chip Balong 5000 to the world. Balong 5000 can cover many communication standards such as 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G in single chip connotation, which can effectively reduce the time delay and power consumption in data conversion, and support the networking of NSA and SA at the same time.

In addition, Ziguang also launched the first 5G baseband chip, Ivy 510, which is the fifth 5G multi-mode baseband chip after Qualcomm, Huawei, Lianfeng and Samsung. However, the performance of the chip is different from that of the above-mentioned large-scale manufacturers, which only adopt 12-nm process and mainly compete in the middle and low-level market.

Overall, the product line of IC design industry in China covers a relatively comprehensive range, including mobile phone SoC, baseband, fingerprint recognition, and bank security chips. In addition, it can be seen that Chinese IC design factories are in the leading position in some areas.

However, in the field of high-order chips, the market share of chips in China is still very low, which is obviously different from that of large international manufacturers. Especially in the field of PC and server chips, China's market share is close to 0%, and there are still some breakthroughs in the field of FPGA and memory chips. However, compared with wafer manufacturing, semiconductor equipment and other industries, the international status of IC design in China can not be ignored.