Chinese semiconductor industry

Discussion in 'Members' Club Room' started by Hendrik_2000, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Hendrik_2000

    Hendrik_2000 Brigadier

    Dec 20, 2006
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    Huawei to build ecosystem for server chips

    By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-24 09:15

    Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said on Tuesday it plans to invest 3 billion yuan ($436 million) over the next five years to build an ecosystem for its ARM-based server chips as the Chinese company beefs up its prowess in semiconductors.

    Xu Zhijun, the rotating chairman of Huawei, said the investment will be used to bolster its leading IT infrastructure and encourage applications based on its Kunpeng processors for all industries by teaming up with a wide range of partners.

    Huawei's ARM-based central processing unit, called the Kunpeng 920, was unveiled in January. It is designed to meet the exponentially growing demand for bigger computing capabilities while slashing power consumption.

    It is part of Huawei's broader push to build server chips based on the ARM architecture for data centers, a booming market dominated by Intel's x86-based processors. ARM architecture is developed by the British company Arm Holdings and it is a chip design commonly used in smartphones and tablets.

    Xu said Huawei will focus on developing the high-performance Kunpeng chip series and offer high-quality cloud and artificial intelligence based on those chips.

    So far, the world's top telecom carrier and the second largest smartphone vendor has built an online community, where an open-source operating system and other tools are available to help software developers quickly develop applications that are compatible with servers powered by its Kunpeng chip series.

    Huawei said its chips will not be sold as a stand-alone product. Instead, it will only sell servers powered by its in-house CPUs. The Shenzhen-based company said its servers can be used for big data, distributed storage, and ARM-native applications.

    Huawei also said in January that Kunpeng 920's power efficiency is 30 percent better than that offered by industry counterparts, which can greatly reduce energy costs.

    Danny Mu, an analyst at market research company Forrester, said ARM-based chips are for special businesses which can serve as a good complement to Huawei's computing enterprises.

    "Huawei is moving in the right direction by stepping up efforts to cultivate an ARM-based ecosystem, including software and applications," Mu added.

    Huawei has sold more than 900,000 servers worldwide in 2018, bringing the total shipment in the past six years to 3.56 million units.
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  2. Hendrik_2000

    Hendrik_2000 Brigadier

    Dec 20, 2006
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    via xyz definitely a sea change of attitude toward chip making self sufficiently. What the government can't do , the tariff and embargo definitely spur the private industry for self sufficiently. this time they use RISC architecture
    Alibaba's new XuanTie 910 processor was developed based on a free, open-source instruction set architecture originally pursued by the University of California, Berkeley, called RISC-V. Many other companies in China and elsewhere are also seeking to create chip designs based on RISC-V which is seen to have some advantage for smartwatches and other internet-connected devices. The architecture is also seen as beyond the reach of U. S. sanctions.

    Alibaba shows off its first microchip
    COCO LIU and CHENG TING-FANG, Nikkei staff writers
    4 minutes

    HONG KONG/TAIPEI -- Alibaba Group Holding has unveiled its first self-designed microprocessor, potentially marking a key step in China's efforts to promote chip self-sufficiency amid clashes with the U.S. over access to technology.

    The new processor could be adopted by Chinese device makers to power smart speakers, self-driving cars or other internet-connected equipment requiring high-performance computing, Alibaba said at an event on Thursday.

    While Alibaba does not plan to produce processors itself, Chinese chipmakers like Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. could potentially print the chips to the device makers' specifications under license from the e-commerce company.

    With Beijing's encouragement, Chinese companies as diverse as phone maker Xiaomi, social media company Tencent Holdings and manufacturer Gree Electric Appliances have jumped into the semiconductor business in recent years.

    Their efforts have accelerated as Washington has sanctioned telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE, at times barring U.S. companies like Intel from supplying them with chips and related technologies.

    "The market for chips is controlled by America... and suddenly they stop selling," Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba, said last year. "Japan, China, every country should have their own technology. A company should take responsibility for its customers, for the global future."

    Alibaba's new processor could help it to follow in the footsteps of Britain's Arm Holdings. The SoftBank-controlled British company's chip designs power roughly 90% of the world's smartphones, according to Arm. Huawei, like many other Chinese phone makers, has relied on Arm designs, but the U.S. sanctions raised questions about how well Arm could continue the relationship.

    "Most Chinese companies are still wary about whether Arm's architecture and Intel's architecture and technical support would remain accessible amid tech tension and further geopolitical uncertainties," said Sean Yang, an analyst at research company CINNO in Shanghai.

    "It would be very helpful for China to increase long-term semiconductor sufficiency if big companies such as Alibaba jump in to build a chip (design) platform which smaller Chinese developers can just use without worrying about being cut off from supplies," he said.

    Beijing is pushing local chip production and purchasing, with a goal of meeting 40% of domestic semiconductor demand with local supplies by 2020. According to research company TrendForce in Taipei, last year 15% of China's chip demand was met with locally designed processors.

    Alibaba's new XuanTie 910 processor was developed based on a free, open-source instruction set architecture originally pursued by the University of California, Berkeley, called RISC-V. Many other companies in China and elsewhere are also seeking to create chip designs based on RISC-V which is seen to have some advantage for smartwatches and other internet-connected devices. The architecture is also seen as beyond the reach of U. S. sanctions.

    The RISC-V Foundation, which oversees the development of the architecture also counts as members Huawei and Xiaomi affiliate Huami, hinting at their own ambitions to build processors like Alibaba's.

    "The RISC-V structure is still a new battleground that anyone can take and improve on, and no one has really a final say yet," Yang said.

    Alibaba’s Pingtouge launches own processor, aiming to be a chip Infrastructure provider for AI and IoT – KrASIA
    2 minutes

    Alibaba’s chip subsidiary Pingtouge unveiled on Thursday its first processor, the XuanTie 910, which can be used in applications for sectors including 5G, artificial intelligence, and autonomous driving, according to a press release by Alibaba.

    Pingtouge also stated that the new processor could lower the costs of related chip production by more than 50%.

    The company indicated that the XuanTie 910 is soon expected to be available for commercial sale, although the price range was not revealed.

    The 16-core processor is built on the RISC-V structure, a free and open hardware instruction set architecture (ISA).

    Alibaba’s affiliate company claims that its first product is currently the most high-performance RISC-V processor in the market.

    Pintouge aims to become an affordable chip infrastructure provider for the artificial intelligence and Internet of Things sectors, according to Qi Xiaoning, vice president of Alibaba Group.

    The Alibaba subsidiary, which translates to honey badger, was announced last September, amid the Chinese government’s appeal to develop homegrown core technologies.

    Alibaba, which acquired a Chinese chipmaker called C-SKY Microsystems in April 2018, is also the backer for other chip companies including China-based Cambricon, Kneron, ASR, and DeePhi, as well as California-based Barefoot Networks.

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  3. Hendrik_2000

    Hendrik_2000 Brigadier

    Dec 20, 2006
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    Huawei sharply boosts adoption ratio of in-house mobile SoCs
    Lena Li, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES
    Friday 26 July 2019
    Toggle Dropdown

    Huawei is expected to have 60% of its phones powered by Hisilicon's APs in the second half of 2019, compared with 45% in the first half of the year and less than 40% in the second half of 2018, according supply chain sources.

    This means that over 150 million Huawei handsets will adopt Kirin mobile SoCs rolled out by its chipmaking arm Hisilicon, based on the total shipments of 270 million units projected for 2019, the sources said.

    Meanwhile, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Chengfei said in a recent Tencent Technology report that despite already owning comprehensive chipset solutions for its handsets, the company will continue to purchase mobile SoCs from Qualcomm. And industry sources said that Huawei's mobile AP purchases from Qualcomm in 2019 will not be lower than 50 million units recorded in 2018.

    The sources said Hisilicon's Kirin APs have competed fiercely with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 series platforms in recent years, but Huawei has still purchased lower-end APs from Qualcomm, such as Glory 8 series adopting S636 and S660 APs and smartwatches and notebooks also incorporating Qualcomm and Intel AP supplies.

    Huawei Hisilicon's second version of 7nm Kirin 810 AP launched in June has been incorporated to the firm's mid-range handsets, in an apparent move to ease its reliance on Qualcomm and MediaTek for the supply of lower-end mobile SoCs, the sources indicated.
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  4. Hendrik_2000

    Hendrik_2000 Brigadier

    Dec 20, 2006
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    via xyz they don't talk about MIC 2025 but the funding keep growing
    China’s ‘Big Fund’ raises RMB 200 billion to fuel chip industry
    Jul 26, 2019
    |In Heavy Hitters, With Chinese Characteristics
    |By Wei Sheng
    1 min read

    China’s semiconductor-focused fund, the China National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, has raised RMB 200 billion (around $29 billion) in its second financing round, the China Securities Journal reported on Friday, as the country aggressively promotes self-reliance in high-tech sectors amid the US-China trade war.

    Why it matters: China’s efforts in growing its semiconductor manufacturing sector to increase technological self-reliance, of which the fund is a major feature, have grown in significance and urgency following the US ban on Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei.

    The new funding round is a notable increase from the first round, which raised RMB 138.7 billion from the Ministry of Finance, the China Development Bank Capital, as well as several other state-backed enterprises in 2014.

    Details: The second fundraising round follows the same investment strategy as the first round, but it focuses more on semiconductor end-uses, the report said.

    The Big Fund was set up to invest in chip manufacturing and designing, and promote mergers and acquisitions, according to a statement published in 2014 on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which supervises the fund.
    The China Securities Journal report has not been confirmed by the China National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund. An emailed inquiry TechNode sent to the firm on Friday was not immediately responded to.

    Context: China’s State Council published the “National Integrated Circuit Industry Development Guidelines” in June 2014, which initially proposed to set up a special national industry investment fund to boost the semiconductor industry.

    The state-backed fund, also known as the “Big Fund,” was set up in 2014 by the Chinese government in a bid to catch up in the global semiconductor industry by backing semiconductor startups and related research and development.
    The guidelines also pledged to stimulate dynamism and creativity in China’s semiconductor companies and accelerate the pace of China’s semiconductor industry to catch up with international leaders.
    Annual semiconductor imports by China reached $312 billion in 2018, rising from $200 billion in 2013, according to the China Semiconductor Industry Association.


    Alibaba unveils high-performance XT910 RISC-V chip

    Written by
    Gareth Halfacree

    July 26, 2019 | 09:39

    Pingtouge, known in the west as T-Head and representing one of the semiconductor concerns under Alibaba's DAMO Academy, has announced a 64-bit processor based on the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) - and it's claimed to be the most powerful RISC-V chip yet produced.

    Recently formally ratified, the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) aims to differentiate itself from the competition in a number of ways - primarily the fact that it is available under a permissive licence, meaning anyone is free to design, build, and produce chips based on the specification with or without modification and without the need to pay a licensing fee or royalties. It's a concept that has drawn attention from major companies from Google and Nvidia to Western Digital and even Intel, while putting industry incumbents like Arm on the back foot.

    Now, Chinese technology giant Alibaba is getting in on the act, via its DAMO Academy and T-Head chip division. The result: CoreXuanTie910, or XT910, a 16-core 2.5GHz processor built on a 12nm process node - claimed to be the most powerful RISC-V processor yet produced.

    Based on the RV64GCV instruction set architecture, the XT910 is a superscalar processor core with three decoders and a 12-stage out-of-order-operation pipleline, featuring the ability to load up to eight instructions - including one load and one store instruction - into its execution unit each cycle. Up to four cores can be clustered together, with up to four clusters per chip in the current design for a total of 16 cores and 16 threads (16C16T) per chip. On top of the base ISA, meanwhile, T-Head has also added 50 extended instructions designed to improve performance in arithmetic operations, memory access, and cache and buffer maintenance.

    'The breakthrough is more than a mere performance enhancement of RISC-V processors. It means more IoT areas that require high-performance computing such as 5G, AI, networking, gateway, self-driving automobile, and edge server can now be powered by this latest RISC-V processor, which was previously used for simple embedded devices like smart-home appliances,' claims Jianyi Meng, senior director at Alibaba Group and lead developer on XT910. 'We are excited about this new development and the exciting future that it unfolds for the RISC-V community.'

    'We are truly fascinated by the important milestone that Alibaba’s RISC-V processor has created,' adds Calista Redmond, chief executive of the RISC-V Foundation. 'We believe many chip developers can benefit from this technology breakthrough, which also helps accelerate the growth of the RISC-V community now that more IoT areas can be explored. I believe the RISC-V community, especially the community in Asia, will be on a much faster growth trajectory in the years ahead.'

    Meng has also confirmed that Alibaba plans to release the source code for a simulator and emulator built around its design in September, in part to celebrate T-Head's first birthday - a move that the permissive licence under which the RISC-V ISA is made available does not require, with companies free to release their derivative designs under any licence of their choosing including to keep them entirely proprietary if desired.

    'By sharing the simulation and emulation code, we hope to provide global developers with access to the high-performance processor so they can leverage the technology to develop prototypes for their own chips,' claimed Meng, whose company has also announced its membership of the free and open source silicon industry group the CHIPS Alliance. 'As a result, more innovation in IoT and AI fields can be created. That is aligned with Alibaba DAMO Academy’s mission of making technology more inclusive, open and accessible.'

    Alibaba has not yet indicated whether it plans to produce the chip commercially or use it wholly internally.

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