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2018

05/17

China's integrated circuit "core"

This article is transferred from: Electronic Enthusiast Network

In 2017, China’s IC import volume reached 377 billion pieces, an increase of 10.1% year-on-year; import value was US$260.1 billion (approximately 17561 million yuan), a year-on-year increase of 14.6%. In 2017, China’s imports of goods amounted to 12.46 trillion yuan, which means that imports of integrated circuits accounted for 14.1% of China’s total imports. In the same period, China’s total imports of crude oil were only about US$150 billion. China's spending on semiconductor chip imports is already nearly double that of crude oil.

Recently, more and more people are concerned about the progress of chips developed independently by China. Through the data, we can find that China's integrated circuits have the "core":

One:the import cost of semiconductor chips is close to twice the crude oil

Perhaps not everyone understands integrated circuits, but many people have heard of Moore's Law. Moore's Law means that when the price is constant, the number of components that can be accommodated on an integrated circuit will double about every 18 months, and the performance will also double. Half a century ago, this speculation put forward by Moore, one of Intel's founders, has continued for more than 50 years.

Moore's Law reveals the speed of development in the field of integrated circuits. In such high-speed innovations, IC products continue to reduce costs, improve performance, and increase functionality. It is also in such a rapid development that the gap in integrated circuit technology in various countries has increased. According to industry insiders, if China wants to catch up with top companies in the main integrated circuit field, it will need more than time, but it will be an overall system upgrade.

According to information released by the General Administration of Customs, the import volume of integrated circuits has exceeded crude oil for three consecutive years since 2015, and the difference in import between the two countries is above 95 billion US dollars annually. Among them, China's IC import volume reached 377 billion pieces in 2017, an increase of 10.1% year-on-year; the import volume was US$260.1 billion (approximately 17561 million yuan), a year-on-year increase of 14.6%. In 2017, China’s imports of goods amounted to 12.46 trillion yuan, which means that imports of integrated circuits accounted for 14.1% of China’s total imports. In the same period, China’s total imports of crude oil were only about US$150 billion. China's spending on semiconductor chip imports is already nearly double that of crude oil.

Two: There are dozens of gates for chips and thousands of small doors

A chip, which refers to a silicon chip that contains integrated circuits, is small in size and is often part of a computer or other electronic device. The chipset is a series of interconnected chipsets. They depend on each other, and they can be combined to play more roles. For example, the central processing unit (CPU) in a computer and the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) in radio frequency (RF), baseband, and communication base stations in a mobile phone are multiple chips. Combined larger integrated circuits. The integrated circuit is a very sophisticated instrument whose unit is nanometer. One nanometer is one hundred thousandth of a millimeter. This requires very strict and high standards for design and manufacturing processes.

There are many types of chips, and Gu Wenjun, chief analyst of the core research, told the Beijing Youth Daily reporter: “Only from the product type, there are dozens of types of chips and thousands of sub-categories; if the equipment flow is involved, then More, the United States is in an overall and all-round leading position, and we only make breakthroughs in certain fields, and these areas are not the core and high-end areas, such as China's simulations in memory, CPU, FPGA, and high-end simulations. Chips, power chips, and other fields are almost absent. If China makes R&D efforts, it may make some breakthroughs in certain small categories."

There:.There are hundreds of chips in a communication base station

Taking the operator service as an example, the communication base station equipment is one of its most important products, and in a communication base station, there are hundreds of chips responsible for implementing different functions. "Simply put, the base station transmits and recovers the signal. After retrieving the signal, it must first have chip filtering and stabilize the signal; then there is the chip to amplify this very small signal; another chip will perform analysis and processing; then the chip will be responsible for transmission. Distribute. The base station core is similar to a computer and can implement various functions, but it can support multiple mobile phones, so it is faster and the chip is more complex."

Four:manufacturing a chip requires 5000 processes

An expert in the field of chip manufacturing told the Beijing Youth Daily reporter that the manufacturing process of a chip is very complicated. A production line involves about 50 industries and 2000-5000 processes. Take the representative factory, it is necessary to first purify the "sand" into silicon, then cut into wafers, and then process the wafer. Wafer processing plant contains two processes before and after, the former process is divided into several major modules - photolithography, thin film, etching, cleaning, injection; the latter process is mainly encapsulation - interconnection, wire bonding, sealing. Among them, photolithography is a link between manufacturing and design.

Many of these processes are carried out in independent factories, and the equipment used also requires special equipment factories to manufacture; the materials used include several hundred special gases, liquids, and targets, all of which require specialized chemical industries. In addition, the production of integrated circuits is carried out in clean rooms, so systems such as exhaust air and air purification are also needed.

There is an argument that integrated circuits are higher than aerospace high-tech. According to industry insiders, this argument is not unreasonable. "The reliability of aerospace is estimated to be 4-9 or 5-9 (X 9 means that the system can be used normally during the use of the software system for one year.) The ratio of time to total time. Now the purity of the silicon wafer material will be more than 6-9."

Five: The domestic semiconductor industry is accelerating in recent years

According to statistics from the China Semiconductor Industry Association, sales of China's integrated circuit industry reached 541.13 billion yuan in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 24.8%. Among them, IC manufacturing industry grew fastest, with a year-on-year increase of 28.5% in 2017, and sales amounted to RMB 144.81 billion. The design industry and the packaging and testing industry continued to maintain rapid growth, with growth rates of 26.1% and 20.8%, and sales of 207.35 billion yuan and 188.97 billion yuan respectively.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, China exported 204.35 billion integrated circuits in 2017, an increase of 13.1% year-on-year; export value was US$66.88 billion, a year-on-year increase of 9.8%.