E.g., 2020-09-30
E.g., 2020-09-30
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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

    Tsinghua Unigroup’s New Sharholder, 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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    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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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Big Week For Memory, And For Huawei

    In this issue • 3D NAND breakthrough. China’s national memory champion, Yangtze Memory Technologies, says it is launching mass production of 3D NAND, and its parent company says it is moving into DRAM. • DRAM breakthrough. China’s national DRAM champion, YMTC, says it too is almost ready for mass production. • Arm resumes licensing to Huawei. Top Arm executives say their chip architecture is unaffected by US export sanctions. • Apple under fire...

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    Fathom China

    Huawei’s Deadline, Tsinghua Unigroup Cancels Revamp

    In this issue • Huawei’s crucial deadline approaches. A reprieve on US export sanctions ends on August 19. • Huawei’s operating system goes live. The Harmony OS system is on Huawei’s big-screen TVs but will not be on phones for at least a year. • Tsinghua Unigroup restructuring canceled. Tensions between China and the US seem to have led to scrapping the restructuring plan. • SMIC working toward 14nm. If what SMIC says is accurate, then the...

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    Fathom China

    Debate Over Semiconductor Policy Deepens

    Chinese government officials and tech-industry leaders are locked in debate over the country’s best response to US export controls. Hanging in the balance is nothing less than China’s semiconductor policy. Beijing will invest billions of dollars to offset the impact of US export sanctions. Who that money helps will impact the fortunes of chip firms in China and abroad. The debate in China is not yet settled. Fathom China’s impression is that the...

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    Fathom China

    Confident Huawei, Whacked AMD, Qualcomm’s Clients

    Fathom China attended the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai on June 25-28 to take the pulse of Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”). We found the company outwardly confident but highly scripted, with employees at its exhibition tight-lipped about the impact of sanctions. The company’s deputy chairman, Ken Hu, proclaims that Huawei’s 5G capabilities are completely unimpeded by US export sanctions, which sounds far-fetched. Yet Hu’s comments take added...

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    Fathom China

    Huawei’s OS, New 5G Operator, More

    Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”) has tried to convince users that its new, soon-to-be-launched mobile operating system will save the day for its mobile handsets. No longer would Huawei rely on Google’s operating system, Android, and Huawei says its own operating system, Hongmeng, will be compatible with Android apps.

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    Fathom China

    Arm’s Joint Venture In China

    Of all the foreign know-how that Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”) needs but now can’t get, the most essential is chip-architecture licenses from UKbased Arm. Arm’s architecture is used in Huawei’s high-end Kirin mobile SoCs and also in its Tiangang chips for 5G base stations, both made by Huawei’s chip-design subsidiary, HiSilicon Technologies. Huawei can use stockpiled chips, and can do its best to upgrade the chips based on the license that it...

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    Fathom China

    Filling The Huawei Supplier Gap

    Facing a ban on US-sourced products, Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”) is switching key supply orders to firms in Taiwan, according to multiple sources. “Huawei is demanding that vendors send as much supply as they can – however much they can provide, it will buy,” says Taipei-based China Times. US export controls dictate that foreign firms whose wares derive more than 25% of their value from US components are barred from selling to Huawei. How...

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    Fathom China

    China’s Message Gap, Huawei’s Suppliers, FedEx Rumors

    In a rare divergence, Beijing and Huawei Technologies (“Huawei”) are sending different public messages about how China should respond to the trade dispute with the US. Beijing made its position clear on May 20, when party chief Xi Jinping laid a wreath at a monument to the Communist Party’s wartime Long March. His message was that Chinese people and companies must prepare to endure long hardships to emerge victorious.

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    Fathom China

    The Message From China

    Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent an unmistakable message to his country with his visit on May 20 to the starting point of the Communist Party’s famous Long March. Even 85 years after the March began, the event has an emotional impact in China bigger than any analogous event in US history. Imagine Valley Forge but epic: facing defeat by Chiang Kai-shek’s army in 1934, the Communists spent a year retreating on foot even through Tibetan bogs that...

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    Fathom China

    Failing Joint Ventures, Tsinghua Unigroup Breaks Ground

    In this issue • Failing joint ventures. Beijing’s latest efforts to access foreign technology have hit snags as foreign partners in three key joint ventures either pull out or change plans. • Tsinghua Unigroup breaks ground in Chengdu. China’s top chip company starts building a fab in Chengdu city amid rumors that the project is really about real estate. • Tsinghua Unigroup finishes acquisition. Tsinghua Unigroup has acquired Linxens, the French...

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    Fathom China

    Huawei’s Iffy Future, Innotron’s Tech Source, More

    In this issue • US goals for Huawei. The US hit Huawei with export sanctions to gain trade negotiating leverage and to undermine demand for Huawei’s 5G networking equipment, and it will probably succeed on both counts, although American technology companies will suffer too. • Innotron’s technology source. China’s last remaining DRAM hopeful has finally revealed where it got its technology but its comments raise more questions than they answer...

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    China’s Memory Challenges, “Fab Frenzy” Warnings

    In this issue • Executive change at Tsinghua Unigroup. The latest executive change could indicate trouble for Chairman Zhao Weiguo, and suggests that Beijing wants to keep a close eye on the company’s chip projects. • Setbacks at GigaDevice. China’s last remaining DRAM program looks shaky as its key technology contributor faces a series of setbacks. • Warnings of a chip-fab “frenzy.” Two leading tech commentators say local governments are...

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    Fathom China

    Huawei’s New Chip, Saving Jinhua, DRAM Doubts

    In this issue • Huawei’s base station chipset received government support • Beijing’s strategy to save Jinhua • Innotron and GigaDevice extend cooperation, terms unclear • Rumor: Ericsson to face antitrust probe. • Yangtze Memory Technologies to start mass production. • Key venture moves from Guizhou to Chengdu.

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