SEOUL, KOREA — China’s semiconductor design technology has greatly advanced. Now, Chinese semiconductor design companies are threatening Korean competitors. Some Korean companies expect to have tough competition with Chinese competitors in the near future.
According to industrial sources, Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE are hiring thousands of excellent semiconductor designers. Huawei unveiled a smartphone whose quad core application processor was featured at the MWC 2012. Surprisingly, Huawei did not use Nvidia and Qualcomm products. The quad-core AP K3V2 CUP for this smartphone was jointly developed by Huawei and its subsidiary, Hi Silicone. The chip will go on sale in March. Hi Silicon also announced the world’s first multi-mode baseband chips that supports LTE-FDD, TD-LTE and 3GPP Release 9.
The design capabilities of Chinese companies are growing fast thanks to excellent human resources who returned to China from the Silicon Valley. It has also received the support of the Chinese government and conglomerate Chinese set companies. Moreover, China’s independent standards such as TD-LTE, CMMB have become the foundation for reinforcing the technological power of Chinese companies. Some say that the design capabilities of Chinese companies are stronger than those of Korean firms. ZTE, the world’s fourth largest cell phone maker, produces its own special chips; some of which are exported to Korea. The company developed and used TD-LTE baseband chipsets or chipsets for telecommunication equipment in its products. They even design and use analog semiconductors.
The growth of these companies is noteworthy. It is expected that these corporations will post one trillion won in sales this year. China has about 500 fables companies. HIS iSuppli expects that total sales of Chinese companies will be doubled to USD 10.7 billion in 2015 from USD 5.2 billion in 2010. Hi Silicon, the biggest fables company in China has been said to post about USD850 million in sales last year. This year, the company is expected to post USD1 billion in sales. Huawei is its biggest customer.
Spreadtrum, specializing in basebands and RF chips, saw its 2011 sales jump 94.7% to USD 674 million. This is due to the expansion of the3G chipset sector by a whopping 336.8%. Spreadtrum modem chips are used in the Galaxy S2 or Galaxy Note exported to China. At this current pace, its sales are expected to surpass one trillion won within one to two years.
In the AP sector, Rockchip and Ingenic have remarkably grown. Rockchip recently released a 1.4㎓ AP which used an ARM cotex-A9 dual core CPU. The AP is competitive in terms of price and performance. Innopidei is performing well in the digital audio broadcasting chip sector. RDA Micro Electronics specializes in RFs and mixed signal semiconductors and is also growing rapidly.
In 2011, this company posted USD 289 million, an increase of 51% from 2010. “The history of China’s semiconductor industry is short, up to 15 years,” said a semiconductor industry expert. “Those who returned from the Silicon Valley are taking the lead in the development of the Chinese semiconductor industry. Soon Chinese fable companies will post one trillion won in sales.”