Chinese semiconductor industry


tokenanalyst

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The problem is this is not the endgame of MIC2025 at least not how it was announced nor how it's interpreted by the west. The inferred 70% self sufficiency of semiconductor (components) by 2025 is not mere "chip independence". The west read 70% as reaching "supremacy" level. Subsequent sanctions was a reaction to the MIC2025 goal.

Objectively speaking, if someone wants to take away 70% of anything from you, some reaction on your part to stop or slow that effort would be reasonable and even expected. If the script is flipped, I'm sure we will respond in kind as well.
The American politicians are the ones who have problems with MIC2025, the Europeans may disagree with the policy, but they have the Industry 4.0 policy, in fact, they know that European high-tech companies will indirectly benefit from that policy because they will create a chain high-tech supply to China.
MIC2025 goes far beyond semiconductors: it includes the aerospace industry, biotechnology, the digitization of industry, etc. American politicians without even trying to understand the policies, whether or not the plan will succeed, or even benefit American companies, as usual, they get emotional and paranoid and start throwing punches without a clear strategy, of course this will blowback in their faces because it is accelerating, not restricting China's advances and to make it worst is making its advances more indigenous.

The irony that the 70% target was a response to US sanctions and the bigger irony is that Chinese companies had a preference for US semiconductors no matter what the goverment strategy was they would have continue to buy U.S semiconductors because businesses always try to make money in the easier way possible, Qualcomm was a bigger chip supplier to Huawei than Hisilicon. If it weren't for American politicians, the words "domestic substitution" and "de-Americanization" wouldn't be in every damn annual financial report of Chinese tech companies and research institutions. And this thread would be much shorter.
 

tphuang

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By analyzing thousands of purchasing records: bullshit.

As I said earlier, this has already proven to be a disaster in the automotive sector. Horizon Robotics is now a full blown competitor to Nvidia with its journey series processor. It got the biggest fish in the pond with BYD. Baidu has AI chip for autonomous driving with its Robo cars. Huawei/Tencent/Alibaba probably all have some kind of program in there. Horizon is only going to move into other types of AI chip once it firmly establishes itself in the automotive industry.

That's what these people don't get. If the biggest buyers of the AI chips are in China, the suppliers have to sell to China in order to continue to be competitive. In another 5 years, I think Horizon will be the largest supplier of autonomous driving chips.
 

tokenanalyst

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european_guy

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I think Horizon will be the largest supplier of autonomous driving chips.

...if something does not go wrong....

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"Horizon Robotics, which develops artificial intelligence chips for smart cars, is working with TSMC to produce its 16nm and 28nm automotive-grade solutions, the person added. The two parties expect to expand the collaboration to TSMC’s 7nm process technology in 2023 for the manufacture of Horizon Robotics’ Journey 6 series chips."


BTW very interesting article, worth reading. The best and most advanced Chinese chip designers are very quietly (of course!) moving to TSMC for manufacturing....I'm afraid it is only a question of time (not a lot IMO) for TSMC to be forbidden to manufacture 7nm and below chips for Chinese firms...
 
Last edited:

FriedButter

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BTW very interesting article, worth reading. The best and most advanced Chinese chip designers are very quietly (of course!) moving to TSMC for manufacturing....I'm afraid it is only a question of time (not a lot IMO) for TSMC to be forbidden to manufacture 7nm and below chips for Chinese firms...

Well ya. There is no domestic capacity available. Where else are they going to source their chips? SMIC said this in their earning calls about 4 months ago in regards to domestic demand.

“Our production capacity is still far from meeting even 10% of their demand," he added.

“What we can make here is less than 10% of what they need. They are worried,” Zhao told analysts on an earnings call.
 

european_guy

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...if something does not go wrong....

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"Horizon Robotics, which develops artificial intelligence chips for smart cars, is working with TSMC to produce its 16nm and 28nm automotive-grade solutions, the person added. The two parties expect to expand the collaboration to TSMC’s 7nm process technology in 2023 for the manufacture of Horizon Robotics’ Journey 6 series chips."


BTW very interesting article, worth reading. The best and most advanced Chinese chip designers are very quietly (of course!) moving to TSMC for manufacturing....I'm afraid it is only a question of time (not a lot IMO) for TSMC to be forbidden to manufacture 7nm and below chips for Chinese firms...

I read from the article:

"Horizon Robotics <...> expect to expand the collaboration to TSMC’s 7nm process technology in 2023"

"UNISOC to produce 6nm and 12nm mobile"

"Bitmain, an encrypted mining ASIC design company, is already a customer of TSMC’s 7nm and 5nm process"

"OPPO’s MariSilicon X imaging NPU is manufactured using TSMC’s 6nm process."

"Pingtou has signed orders for 5nm, 7nm and 28nm chips"

"Getting major sub-5nm chip orders from mainland China will also help expand the company’s customer base in advanced processes"

Sorry, but this is not just a capacity problem. SMIC cannot produce 7nm or better chips (N+2 process is almost 7nm and is considered the last one with DUV technology). But the real big problem is that SMIC will not be able to produce sub 7nm even in the near / mid future, and the gap will widen.

Only successful EUV localization will guarantee a safe future for advanced Chinese chip designer firms. There are no real shortcuts here.
 

tphuang

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I read from the article:

"Horizon Robotics <...> expect to expand the collaboration to TSMC’s 7nm process technology in 2023"

"UNISOC to produce 6nm and 12nm mobile"

"Bitmain, an encrypted mining ASIC design company, is already a customer of TSMC’s 7nm and 5nm process"

"OPPO’s MariSilicon X imaging NPU is manufactured using TSMC’s 6nm process."

"Pingtou has signed orders for 5nm, 7nm and 28nm chips"

"Getting major sub-5nm chip orders from mainland China will also help expand the company’s customer base in advanced processes"

Sorry, but this is not just a capacity problem. SMIC cannot produce 7nm or better chips (N+2 process is almost 7nm and is considered the last one with DUV technology). But the real big problem is that SMIC will not be able to produce sub 7nm even in the near / mid future, and the gap will widen.

Only successful EUV localization will guarantee a safe future for advanced Chinese chip designer firms. There are no real shortcuts here.
You are right. There is no question there is a problem here for Chinese makers. I can't speak for other areas, but the current journey 5 processor is already sufficient for L4 ADAS. Maybe moving to 7nm process for Journey 6 can get them to be market leading in processor technology, but they can probably also produce similarly competitive chips by using the latest SMIC technology and improved chip designs. So, being barred of 7nm chips is just a temporary hiccup.

The existing Chinese fab technology are probably already sufficient for industrial use in IOT/Automotive/AI fields. It's not going to stop China's hard tech advances in AV and such.

No offense to Bitmain, but it's probably for the best that we have fewer crypto mining chips out there.

Aside from smart phones, I don't really know if the other sectors really need 7nm or better chips. I think it's important for SMIC and other Chinese companies to first ramp up their production of the most advanced chips that they can produce with DUV technology.
 

tokenanalyst

Senior Member
Registered Member
I read from the article:

"Horizon Robotics <...> expect to expand the collaboration to TSMC’s 7nm process technology in 2023"

"UNISOC to produce 6nm and 12nm mobile"

"Bitmain, an encrypted mining ASIC design company, is already a customer of TSMC’s 7nm and 5nm process"

"OPPO’s MariSilicon X imaging NPU is manufactured using TSMC’s 6nm process."

"Pingtou has signed orders for 5nm, 7nm and 28nm chips"

"Getting major sub-5nm chip orders from mainland China will also help expand the company’s customer base in advanced processes"

Sorry, but this is not just a capacity problem. SMIC cannot produce 7nm or better chips (N+2 process is almost 7nm and is considered the last one with DUV technology). But the real big problem is that SMIC will not be able to produce sub 7nm even in the near / mid future, and the gap will widen.

Only successful EUV localization will guarantee a safe future for advanced Chinese chip designer firms. There are no real shortcuts here.
Necessity is the mother of invention, China inevitable will have their own EUV systems, that more pressure they have the harder they will work towards one and the sooner they will get it. But even with that, dimensional scaling is getting more harder and more costlier reaching in the near future to the point of diminished returns even with current EUV tech, maybe one of the reasons why everyone is desperate to have High NA tools because the cost-benefits are not adding up. I think the situation is going to get even worse in systems that are architectural bounded like AI, smaller transistors will help to consume less power but will not necessary will make your system "smarter", you now paying more for diminished returns. One way to overcome this limitations will be geometrical scaling, 2.5d scaling and 3d scaling, that will require new tools and software, basically a new Moore's Law, if this trend kick off it could be that EUV will be the last patterning tools in a long time. There is a lot of opportunities for Chinese fabs like SMIC and packaging companies like JCET in this area, a lot.​

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