New investments

Tsinghua Holdings‘ chairman Xu Jinghong said today: “In order to catch up with Qualcomm, we will invest 30 billion yuan or even more money in the next few years, in R&D of chips for mobile phones.”

China is trying to catchup with foreign integrated circuit (IC) or chip technology, but despite all efforts it is still lagging. According to Xu the country is 3 to 5 years behind in cutting-edge 4G and 5G technology.

Many mobile products are manufactured in China, but production equipment, as well as the chip designs are all too often foreign-made. To ‘break’ this monopoly the Chinese government has devised severals plans in the past decade, and recently accelerated these plans.

Internet of Things

For the moment the Chinese IC industry is driven by mobile phones. However in the near future not only phones will need chips to be online, instead many more devices will have access to the internet. This is what is called the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). Your bike, shoes, suitcase, fridge, etc, they all will communicate with you.

Prior to IoT the sentence ‘more than Moore’ was already used to refer to the fact that there will be a whole new application area for not just the fastest chips (where following Moore’s law is important), but also a desire for chips that are catered to deal with the real (offline) world. Sensors, displays, wireless communication doesn’t happen only digitally, at some point an analogue signal has to be transferred into a digital one, or vice versa. These so-called ‘mixed-signal’ ICs are therefore going to be in high demand when IoT takes off.

Of course someone needs to design and manufacture those ‘things’ and China hopes to get its share by making an effort now to consolidate and acquire relevant IC companies, and to boost R&D.

Note: soon we will publish more information on this topic.

Source (Chinese-only):

Featured image: Windell Oskay/Flickr