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China's IC industry ushering in new growth era
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2011-04-26 13:20

In retrospect to the more than 10 years of development of the semiconductor industry, the year 2010 has been undoubtedly the most splendid one. At a new historic starting point, China's semiconductor industry will welcome in a new opportunity of development that will be characterized by qualitative changes instead of quantitative changes.


Many fabless IC companies go public

Since 2010, nearly 10 Chinese IC companies, including OBT Instruments, Nationz Technologies, Ingenic Semiconductor, and RDA Microelectronics have been listed or reviewed for IPO in the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) and NASDAQ. Together with the 5 companies (including Vimicro) that went public before 2010, a complete industry chain has been established, indicating that China's budding semiconductor industry is going towards prosperity.

Semiconductor becomes a capital market hotspot

As many fabless IC companies became listed in 2010, there have also been numerous mergers in the semiconductor circle. MEMSIC purchased the wireless sensor network solution provider CROSSBOW for US$18 million; Texas Instruments bought Cension Semiconductor; and SMIC purchased Xinxin Semiconductor. After several years of capital drought, the buzzing capital operations in China's semiconductor industry indicate the coming of a new round of investment. 

Entity capital has won initial success

The semiconductor industry is universally considered to be a typical high-investment and high-risk industry.  In recent years, however, many fabless IC entrepreneurs have been using their own capital instead of venture capital to start a business, and have achieved initial success.  The capital of many companies, such as Zhuhai Allwinner Micro, Shanghai AWINIC, and Shenzhen Renergy, came from the individual investment of their founders. Supported by a huge domestic industry chain, entrepreneurship in China's semiconductor industry is different from that in Europe and America.

Mobile phone chipsets achieve mass breakthrough

In 2010, SPREADTRUM grossed more than US$ 300 million, RDA over US$ 200 MILLION, and GALAXYCORE over US$ 130 million. The rising of mobile phone IC industry group is the biggest highlight of the fabless IC circle in 2010. Besides, domestic TD chips suppliers, led by SPREADTRUM and LeadCore, have scored remarkable achievements in 2010. It is the first time that China's fabless IC circle attracts so many attentions from the world in the field of global mainstream chips.

Domestic fabless IC companies enter Apple's supply chain

It is widely known that Apple has rigorous requirements on suppliers' quality. To be able to enter Apple's supply chain is something to be proud of. After Vimicro, Beijing Analogix and Shanghai Purui also became Apple's chip suppliers. It suggests that, after 15 years of development, China's IC design capability has been recognized by world-class mainstream manufacturers.

Application processor market expands

In the past few years, niche products such as PMP, electronic dictionaries, and digital photo albums have fostered several application processor manufacturers who are becoming more and more mature. Among these companies are Rockchips Electronics and Ingenic Semiconductor who have had eye-catching performances in the consumer electronic market in the past few years, as well as emerging companies such as Shanghai Infotmic and NUFRONT. In addition, analog mobile TV manufacturer Telegent and handheld TV producer Innofidei have also set foot in this extremely promising market. Application processor will be another main market of the fabless IC circle after the mobile phone chip market.

Design service advances by leaps and bounds

In light of industry rules, the rising of IC design is bound to promote the development of relevant industries, one of which is the design service industry. In 2010, the design service industry, led by VeriSilicon enjoyed rapid development. The revenue of VeriSilicon exceeded US$90 million. The company gains recognition from global mainstream manufactures through the chip of Kinect that was introduced by Microsoft recently. It is believed that the design service industry will continue to enjoy fast development along with the semiconductor industry in the years to come.

For the IT industry, the level of its advancement depends on the scale and standard of the semiconductor industry. The utmost important part of the semiconductor industry is the design of integrated circuit which will directly determines the development pace of the semiconductor industry. 
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