Changes In China

What was discussed at the Beijing Microelectronics Forum.

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By Jesse Zhang, SEMI China

Industry leaders gathered in Beijing at BIMS 2016 — the Beijing International Microelectronics Symposium — to discuss growth opportunities for the semiconductor industry and the mobile communications market.

The 17th session of BIMS was co-sponsored by SEMI and the Chinese-American Semiconductor Professionals Association (CASPA). For 17 years, BIMS has provided a platform for international communication and cooperation with Beijing and the Chinese microelectronics industry.

A wide array of speakers covered topics including the microelectronics industry and the age of mobile communications. Lung Chu, SEMI China’s president, presented industry trends in the age of mobile communications.

The Ministry of Technology, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, relevant Beijing City leaders, representatives of the Chinese Semiconductor Association, SEMI, and CASPA were on hand to listen to speeches and reports presented by heads of national specialist groups, leaders of top enterprises in the industry, as well as representatives of JEDEC.

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Lung Chu, president of SEMI China, welcomed the participants.

Lung Chu said, “Founded in 1970, SEMI aspires to create an international cooperation platform linking the whole electronics manufacturing industry, bringing advantages of a global network, industry specialization, localization in SEMI China, and to be a partner in realizing the “China Semiconductor Dream.”

SEMI’s Lung Chu presented six trends:

  • The semiconductor industry matured, growth is slowing, with increasing mergers and intensifying competition.
  • Global systems manufacturers (such as Apple, Google, Huawei, Samsung, WD) are increasingly driving IC design and development.
  • The new applications environment and innovation is increasing competition.
  • Moore’s Law is slowing for some devices, but investment and manufacturing technology continue to grow. Also, Internet of Things (IoT) and new energy sources are driving More than Moore” (MTM) IC’s, sensors, and power devices.
  • China’s entry into the storage device industry is inevitable.
  • Chinese semiconductor equipment and materials currently account for less than 1 percent of total global market share, and the opportunities for development are enormous.

Lung Chu said the Chinese semiconductor industry has made surprising progress over the past decade; an outline of integrated circuit promotion and major funding are both necessary and timely; and that the Chinese industry currently faces an unprecedented opportunity. However, global semiconductor technology applications and technical progress are also progressing rapidly, and the competition is getting more intense. Even with global competition, the Chinese semiconductor industry still dares to move forward, to innovate, and cooperate for the industry’s benefit.

One of the symposium topics, “Linkage and Fusion, Innovation and Mutual Benefit, and Promoting Leapfrog Development of The Industry,” focused on the demands of new forms of the IoT, new-energy vehicle electronics, and artificial intelligence applications. Discussions also covered the development and investment activity of the Chinese integrated circuit and microelectronics industry, the creation of an environment of innovation, integration of industry-leading elements, and innovation of critical technologies in new-energy vehicles.

At the meeting, Beifang Microelectronics and Seven Star officially revealed their new brand following their corporate restructuring: Beijing Beifang Huachuang Microelectronics Equipment (“NAURA”). Beifang Huachuang is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beijing Seven Star Electronics, Co., Ltd.

On the second day of the Forum, the discussions were composed of four specialized topics:

1. New fields of interest (artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, etc.) in the IC market;
2. Leading-edge IC manufacturing and technology;
3. Investment and mergers in integrated circuits;
4. Development of critical core technologies in China’s new-energy vehicles.

The discussion was moderated by Can Xinchuang and started with a keynote address by international SMIC consultant Dr. Wu Hanming. Hanming noted there is an accelerating transfer to China in the global integrated circuit industry, and China is now starting a golden age of industry development. However, the Chinese integrated circuit industry is still in the early stages of development and faces growing market competition. Further improvements are needed in industrial and technological capabilities to create localized industrial supply chains. Raising product quality and competitiveness will help local companies switch from being “followers” to “leaders.”

Beifang Huachuang’s general manager of operations, Zhang Guoming, commented that upstream industries such as local equipment manufacturers have run into difficulty in the rapid development of Chinese integrated circuits and are facing enormous challenges. These companies need to integrate resources and raise their capability. At the same time, they have to enhance cooperation with user industries and establish a competitive advantage.

Chen Xin, chairman of the board of Beijing Kehua Microelectronics, spoke about the current state of the international and domestic markets and developments in photoresists. At most, photoresists only account for 7% of total semiconductor materials worldwide. However, they are an indispensable material. Currently, there is no base in China for photoresists, and all basic materials must be imported. Basic industries, such as these in semiconductor materials, require painstaking care and require experienced personnel. It will be very difficult to replace products such as photoresists, and it will require collaboration to achieve good results. Kehua hopes to move forward in cooperation with Chinese wafer plants.

TEL Imaging Group specialist Ken Nawa, Nantong Fujitsu R&D Center general manager Lin Wei, Mattson CTO Michael Yang, and others also contributed to the discussion. Mattson, recently acquired by Yi Zhunagguo, produces resists, annealing and etching equipment for wafer manufacturing. It currently has R&D centers set up in the U.S. and Germany, and is preparing a Beijing R&D center in hopes of leveraging the soaring market growth opportunities in China.

The event was organized by the Beijing Municipal Commission under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the Beijing Municipal Government. This year’s meeting was held at the newly completed Yichuang International Convention Center.

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