E.g., 2020-12-04
E.g., 2020-12-04
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    Fathom China

    Wasteful Projects Cut, Allen Wu Reappears, The Long Staves Return

    Beijing aims to cut waste. Beijing is irked by wasted money in the chip industry, and rumors say it is scrutinizing memory-chip champion Tsinghua Unigroup.

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    SMIC Improves, New Response To US “Stranglehold,” More On Arm China

    SMIC’s technology improves. China’s top foundry is ready to make its most complex chips just as new US sanctions look set to bite.

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    Fathom China

    Vocal Opposition To Nvidia-Arm

    Arguments in China against the Nvidia-Arm merger are taking shape. The main line of anti-merger reasoning so far come from an influential media group that publishes professional-looking articles and videos on socialmedia. The group, Bu Yi Dao, which translates roughly as “Stab Them Again,” strongly supports a tough Beijing tough stance on a range of foreign-policy issues. It has released an unambiguous call for Beijing to block the Nvidia- Arm...

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    Fathom China

    Nvidia-Arm, New Chip Technologies, Trouble At SMIC

    In this issue • Alarm in China over Nvidia-Arm deal. Chinese commentators are concerned but few are publicly calling for Beijing to block the deal. • Support for new chip technology. Beijing is putting money behind third-generation chip technology even though its contribution to tech independence is questionable. • SMIC on death row. The US is reportedly considering sanctions on China’s top foundry, and China’s government and industry are...

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    Fathom China

    Synopsys’s Joint Ventures

    The well-known problems in China facing chip-architecture giant Arm raise questions about joint ventures in China run by other technology leaders. UKbased Arm provided key technology to its minority-controlled joint venture in China, which has since declared independence from its parent. Could other Western firms with irreplaceable technology also have transfered their jewels and knowhow to Chinese joint-venture partners that will take the IP...

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    Fathom China

    Arm China Escalates Its Dispute

    Arm’s breakaway subsidiary in China says it can legally use Arm’s technology even without Arm’s cooperation, and is calling on the Chinese government for protection. Arm China is framing its dispute with UK-based Arm as one of national interest, with Arm China presenting itself as advancing China’s ability to develop its own high-end chips. If Arm China succeeds, then China’s ability to design high-end chips would enjoy a huge boost but would...

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    Fathom China

    Chips Watch: New Tsinghua Unigroup Shareholder, Arm China’s Disaster

    In this issue • New shareholder for Tsinghua Unigroup. After two failed efforts to bring in a new state-owned shareholder, Tsinghua Unigroup is trying again.

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    Fathom China

    Boardroom Struggle At Arm China

    A boardroom struggle over control of the China operations of one of the world’s most powerful technology companies remains unresolved, and could threaten the access of Chinese companies to key chip know-how. UK-based Arm says it fired the chairman of Arm Technology (China) (“Arm China”) for corruption. Arm holds 49% of the venture; a Chinese consortium with government ties controls the rest. The chairman, who holds the deciding vote on the...

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    Fathom China

    SMIC Warns Of Production Halt For Huawei

    China’s top foundry says in a statement that compliance with US export sanctions will likely mean cutting off Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”). Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International (“SMIC”) recently hit its technological high-water mark with mass production of a chip for use in Huawei’s mobile phones. Now, the company suggests that such production will likely cease.

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    Fathom China

    US Export Sanctions Hit China’s Industrial Policy

    In this issue • Huawei’s role in industrial policy. Huawei was almost single-handedly responsible for advancing the government’s goal of popularizing a type of server chip, and US sanctions will likely upend that effort. • Rumors fly. As Chinese industries try to figure out the impact of US sanctions, rumors are flying, many relating to support that Chinese companies will provide to Huawei in the face of US export sanctions.

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    Fathom China

    Rough New Huawei Sanctions

    We have been here before: the US Department of Commerce hits Chinese technology firms with export sanctions that appear to be a death sentence, then end in a reprieve. Yet the new set of US sanctions unveiled on May 15, if enforced, could kill China’s most important technology company, Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”). Whether Huawei actually dies, or becomes globally uncompetitive, or something else, will be answered over the next 120 days as the...

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    Retaliation Against US Firms, Unisoc’s Internal Struggles

    In this issue • A bull’s-eye on Apple. Rumors that new US export controls have already disrupted China’s chip supply chain have elicited calls within China for retaliation against US firms, with Apple heading the list so far. • Unisoc chief consolidates control. The head of China’s number-two maker of mobile SoCs has ousted rivals, brought in allies, and told top executives to shape up or ship out. • Rumor: Oppo chip plan excludes baseband....

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    Fathom China

    Targeting US Firms For Retaliation

    In this issue • Huawei calls for protection. Huawei’s chairman says if the US tightens sanctions on Huawei, then Beijing should retaliate against US companies, and Qualcomm seems like the number-one candidate. • Unisoc receives state financing. The government increases its investment in China’s biggest non-Huawei maker of mobile SoCs. • More hints that Huawei will sell chips. A senior executive at Xiaomi says Huawei sounded him out about buying...

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    Fathom China

    Aiming Local In SoCs, DRAM, NAND

    In this issue • Unisoc goes high-end. China’s best hope for making mobile SoCs says its new mobile chip could help break reliance on US suppliers like Qualcomm. • Xiaomi hedges its chip bets. Handset maker Xiaomi says it cannot break its reliance on US technology at the same time that it invests in its Chinabased suppliers. • China enters the DRAM fray. The first batch of chips made by Changxin Memory Technologies have hit the market. •...

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    Fathom China

    Oppo Confirms SoC Effort

    A leading Chinese handset maker has confirmed that it is working on a mobile SoC. The goal of Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications “(Oppo”), is presumably to replace chips made by MediaTek and Qualcomm. This is the first confirmation that Oppo is moving into chip making. Close readers of this Chips Watch series will have seen the development coming.

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    Fathom China

    YMTC Says No Virus Impact

    In this issue • YMTC says no virus impact. The company says its operations are unaffected but that is frankly hard to believe. • Rumor: Oppo sets up a chip design company in Taiwan. Information is scant but Oppo earlier set up a chip-design subsidiary in Shanghai. • Konka unveils its maiden chip. The appliance maker’s first chip is a memory controller. • Smartphone shipments plunge. Chinese smartphone shipments in the first three months of 2020...

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    Fathom China

    HiSilicon Sells Chips To Replace US Wares

    In this issue • HiSilicon becomes a supplier. Huawei’s chip subsidiary is for the first time selling chips to third parties, creating the possibility that its mobile SoCs could come into competition with Qualcomm’s. • Leading EDA firm shows China commitment. Synopsys is bucking the “decoupling” trend by opening a major research center in Wuhan. • China’s access to steppers looks less secure. Reports say the US has successfully lobbied the Dutch...

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    Fathom China

    Local Chip Projects Fail

    In this issue • China’s local semiconductor projects fail. National-level chip projects are going strong but man local-level projects are dying, and the latest to drop is the Tacoma project in Nanjing. • Huawei seeks solution to Google Mobile Services. Huawei’s problem is much deeper than access to the Android operating system. • Oppo registers IP for a new chip. Chinese handset makers want to break their reliance on Qualcomm. • Huawei under...

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    Fathom China

    New National IC Fund, Vivo Teams Up With Samsung

    In this issue • New chip fund with new goals. Beijing has launched the second iteration of its National IC Fund with a different set of target recipients. • Vivo seeks to reduce reliance on US chips. Chinese handset maker Vivo has unveiled a 5G chip for mobile handsets that it designed jointly with Samsung in an apparent effort to break its reliance on Qualcomm. • YMTC memory chips find in-house buyers. Tsinghua Unigroup subsidiary YMTC is...

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    Handset Makers Want In-House Chip Capabilities

    In this issue • Big Chinese handset makers want chip capabilities. Oppo and Vivo want to design chips; unclear is whether the goal is to replace Qualcomm. • Samsung boosts investment in China fab. Samsung will invest another US$4bn in its NAND fab in Xi’an city. • AMD sales pitch in Beijing. AMD held a big sales meeting to pitch is CPUs and GPUs. • Chengdu city selling fab cheap. Chengdu is putting GlobalFoundries’ abandoned fab on the block at...

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