E.g., 2021-05-16
E.g., 2021-05-16
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    Fathom China

    National Chip Champions Falter

    In this issue • Tsinghua Unigroup is in trouble. China’s national champion chipmaker looks like it is about to lose, and its high-profile chairman has vanished from public view. • DRAM champion is in trouble too. China’s greatest hope for DRAM is not looking good either. • Infineon expands in China. German analog chip giant Infineon is opening a center to help its customers in Shenzhen. • Chinese acquisition faces Korean regulators. A Chinese...

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    Fathom China

    MediaTek’s Boon, Five-Year Plan, Poaching In Taiwan

    In this issue • Chip shortage helps MediaTek. Taiwan’s leading maker of mobile SoCs seems to be benefitting from privileged access to production capacity. • Five-Year Plan wants everything. China’s latest economic blueprint does little to set priorities for the semiconductor industry because it calls for more of everything. • Poaching from Taiwan makes a difference. Several superstar executives from Taiwan have had an outsized impact on China’s...

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    Fathom China

    China And Shortages

    The global chip crunch presents China with more problems than opportunities. As if crippling US sanctions weren’t bad enough, the shortage of all kinds of chips highlights China’s extreme dependence on foreign chips, machinery, and knowhow. If there’s a silver lining for Beijing, it is that the shortage has hit the car industry hardest, and the leading makers of many types of car chips are European firms with deep ties in China. Those firms...

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    Fathom China

    The Scramble For Chip Security

    In this issue • The domestic x86 server-chip market is booming. Chinese data centers are snapping up domestic chips even when those chips have no paths to future upgrades. • Arm-based server chips are also booming. Huawei’s stockpiled Armbased chips are a top choice for data centers even though US sanctions mean the chips are unlikely to be upgraded. • MediaTek challenges Qualcomm. Chinese mobile-phone makers are switching to MediaTek for its...

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    Fathom China

    Huawei Buys A Supply Chain, SMIC Expands

    Huawei invests in local suppliers. China’s most important technology company is investing in domestic suppliers in hopes of breaking its dependence on the US and its allies.

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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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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    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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