Friday, March 17, 2017
The "Made in China 2025" (MIC 2025) plan, published by the China State Council in May of 2015, has demonstrated the country's ambition to enhance its fabless IC design industry in terms of market share and technology capability. Major China-based fabless firms are looking to be capable of developing 10nm and sub-10nm chips in order to expand their global market presence.
China has set a goal for its IC design industry of generating US$60 billion in output value and grabbing a 35% share of the global IC design market.
China-based IC design companies can be divided into two groups, which are being backed financially by their government according to the MIC 2025 plan. A group of them focusing on PCs, servers and mobile devices are being encouraged to enhance their design capability for multi-core CPUs for computing or workstation applications, or multi-core and low-power mobile chips. The other engaged in the design and development of memory chips are being assisted in stepping into the embedded DRAM and 3D NAND flash sectors.
China's government has set up investment funds to foster the development of its local IC design industry, while giving strong support to local fabless firms with tax incentives, and preference in government procurement.
With the government subsidies, the number of China-based IC design houses climbed to 1,362 companies in 2016 from 681 in 2014. Meanwhile, China's top-10 IC design firms' combined revenues accounted for 46.1% of China's overall IC design industry output value in 2016 compared with 38.8% in 2014.
Shenzhen-based HiSilicon Technologies remained the largest China-based IC design company with revenues of CNY26 billion (US$3.76 billon), followed by second-place Unigroup Spreadtrum RDA with revenues of CNY12.5 billion, according to the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA). Unigroup Spreadtrum RDA was formed as a result of Tsinghua Unigroup's takeover of both Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics in 2014.
Ingenic Semiconductor, ZTE Microelectronics Technology and Huada Semiconductor rounded out the top-5 China-based IC design houses in 2016, CSIA disclosed.
The production value of China's IC industry increased 20.1% to CNY433.55 billion in 2016, while that of the IC design sector surged 24.1% on year to CNY164.43 billion, according to CSIA.
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