EE Times-China survey shows a jump in mainland China fabless industry’s use of advanced 45nm or below process technologies by 33.3 percent YOY
HONG KONG, Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — According to the 11th Annual China Fabless Survey conducted by EE Times-China, a leading electronic engineering title of Global Sources‘ (NASDAQ: GSOL) joint venture subsidiary, eMedia Asia Limited, volume production of digital ICs at 45nm or below by mainland China local fabless companies has risen significantly, jumping 33.3 percent year-on-year. This indicates mainland China’s rising role as a global center of semiconductor design and manufacturing.
The survey findings were revealed today at the China Fabless CEO Forum & Awards, which featured industry heavyweight Professor Wei Shaojun, General Director of CSIA-ICCAD, as keynote speaker. Outstanding mainland China fabless companies and IC products; most recognized foundry, EDA vendor, and IP provider, as voted by managers of China fabless companies were also honored at the event.
Survey also reveals a falling proportion of local ICs designed for consumer electronics applications, although these still account for 50 percent of total demand. Demand for ICs in industrial electronics is expected to rise significantly. Hot application fields like smart grid, internet of things, smart city and telemedicine are expected to drive the upgrading of local IC products.
Brandon Smith, Publisher of EE Times-China, said: “Clearly, this year’s survey points to increased design capacity and manufacturing technology in mainland China’s fabless industry. The IC design segment of mainland China’s semiconductor industry has been the fastest growing segment since 2000 and now makes up around 10 percent of the US$74 billion global fabless IC industry. Mainland China is on a trajectory to increase its market share, with its local IC design houses fast becoming a competitive global power to be reckoned with.”
The Survey also showed that although mainland China foundries are still most in demand (88 percent in 2010, 87 percent in 2011, 80 percent in 2012), Taiwan foundries are increasingly preferred by local IC design houses (going from 57 percent in 2010 to 63 percent in 2011 and to 67 percent in 2012). The foundries of choice for this year’s respondents are TSMC (27 percent) and SMIC (20 percent).
‘Cost’ and ‘cycle time’ remain biggest challenges of contracting foundries
‘Cost’ and ‘cycle time’ remain issues when contracting with foundries. Notably, cost concern has jumped 29 percent in two years, from 56 percent in 2010 to 72 percent in 2012. Concerns over cycle times came in at 58 percent.
This year’s survey also sees a majority of respondents utilizing IP cores to conduct their designs, with a solid movement away from ‘not using IP cores’ (from 33 percent in 2010 down to 24 percent in 2012). Most IP cores are acquired through ARMS (47 percent), EDA (electronic design automation) companies (29 percent), design service companies (23 percent), and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) companies (16 percent). The respondents are primarily involved in ASIC (58 percent) and SoC designs (53 percent). The top 3 EDA vendors which respondents source design tools from, are Cadence, Synopsys, and Mentor Graphics, as has been the case for the last three years.
Top challenges in IC design process remain ‘reducing design cost’ and ‘lower-power design’
The top three challenges during the IC design process are: reducing design cost (68 percent), lower-power design (47 percent) and shorter design cycle (36 percent); with the last challenge declining considerably since 2010 (63 percent).
According to the Survey, this year’s respondents designed ICs mainly for applications in consumer electronics (50 percent), computers (19 percent), others (19 percent) and telecommunication (11 percent). With an overall drop in consumer electronics, reducing to 50 percent in 2012 from 57 percent in 2011, while all the other categories have risen.
Among ‘others’, IC design for ‘test & measurement’ applications increased 63 percent YOY to 26 percent, and for ‘industrial electronics’ applications, an increase of 73 percent YOY to 45 percent.
Mainland China’s top chip design companies and products honored
The Survey also identified mainland China’s top fabless companies and products for 2012, as voted by mainland China’s system design engineers. The winners of the China Fabless Survey Awards in each category are (in alphabetical order):
- Top 10 China Fabless Brands: Analogix Semiconductor, Dioo Microcircuits, Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics, Hangzhou NationalChip Science & Technology, Hangzhou Silan Microelectronics, HiSilicon Technologies, RDA Microelectronics, SG Micro, Shanghai Fudan Microelectronics and Spreadtrum Communications.
- Top 10 Most Promising China Fabless: Avia Semiconductor (Xiamen), Beijing KT Micro, Chipone Technology (Beijing), Leadcore Technology, Nufront, Shanghai Haier Integrated Circuit, Shanghai SinoMCU Microelectronics, Wuhan Eshine-IC Technology, Wuxi Si-power Micro-Electronics and X-Powers.
- Top 10 Outstanding Technical Support: Allwinner Technology, ChipLink Semiconductor, CR-PowTech, Datang Microelectronics Technology, Galaxycore Microelectronics, Seaward Electronics, Shanghai Belling, Superpix Micro Technology, VeriSilicon Holdings and Xi’an Semipower Electronic Technology.
Most Recognized Foundry, EDA Vendor, and IP Provider as voted by managers of China fabless companies:
- Most Recognized Foundry: TSMC
- Most Recognized EDA Vendor: Cadence
- Most Recognized IP Provider: ARM
China Fabless Executive of the Year (Editor’s Choice):
Kewei Yang, Chairman and CEO, Analogix Semiconductor
China Fabless Design Team of the Year (Editor’s Choice):
AltoBeam’s Engineering Design Team, RDA Microelectronics’ BB R&D Design Team, and Shanghai SinoMCU Microelectronics’ Core Design Team.
Hot Products of the Year (Editor’s Choice):
- Processors of the Year: Amlogic (AML8726-MX), Nufront (NS115) and Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics (RK3066)
- Power ICs of the Year: CR-PowTech (PT4205), Semipower Electronic Technology (SW2802) and X-Powers (AXP202)
- Wireless ICs of the Year: Huaxun Microelectronics (HX8311 + HX8321), RDA Microelectronics (RDA8851) and Spreadtrum Communications (SC8810)
- Amplifier/Data Converter ICs of the Year: Dioo Microcircuits (DIO2092), NeuroSky (BMD101) and Shenzhen NSIWAY Technology (NS4162)
- Control/Driver ICs of the Year: Analogix Semiconductor (ANX7808), Dioo Microcircuits (DIO2583) and Solomon Systech (SSD2075)
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