2018-05-21

Chinese Govt Spends Big to Develop Memory Chip Companies

An article discusses Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp and the Chinese government's plan to spend billions on chip technology. Wuhan Xinxin is still unprofitable after 11 years.

21st Century: 中国芯”艰难突围路:武汉新芯十一年终扭亏
Following the investment in the first phase of the IC Fund, which amounted to RMB138.7 billion, the second phase of the Chinese government's large capital investment has once again focused on the market. Relevant media reports indicate that the second phase of the brewing fund is expected to be no less than 150 billion to 200 billion yuan in size.

How will the national team support the chip industry? On the morning of April 26th, when General Secretary Xi Jinping came to Wuhan Xinxin Research under the Yangtze River Storage Store of the Ziguang Group, he mentioned that the core technology with independent intellectual property rights is where the company’s “Gate of Life” lies. The chip of equipment manufacturing industry is equivalent to the heart of people. The heart is not strong, and the body size is not too strong. It is necessary to speed up major breakthroughs in chip technology and bravely climb the peak of semiconductor storage technology in the world.

The 21st Century Business Herald reporter recently interviewed relevant stakeholders of Wuhan Xinxin, taking samples of issues such as Wuhan's efforts to develop IC industry and Wuhan Xinxin's development over the past decade and beyond, to restore the difficult breakthroughs of the central government and enterprises in the chip field.

From 2006 to the present, the central government has continued to invest heavily in Wuhan Xinxin. The integrated circuit industry has a intensive and long-term investment cycle. This company, which continued to lose money before 2017, is also struggling to break through the controversy.
Wuhan Xinxin was launched more than a decade ago as part of an effort to develop domestic chip suppliers:
The chip is called "industrial food". China still has gaps in chip design, manufacturing capabilities, and talent teams. China is the world's largest chip consumer, with 90% relying on imports and imports exceeding $250 billion a year.

The representative company of the Wuhan Xinxin Central Government who made efforts to develop the chip industry was incorporated in April 2006. It is invested by Hubei Province, Wuhan City and Donghu High-tech Zone. The investment scale for the first phase reached 10.7 billion yuan, which is the first time in the Central Region in these years. A 12-inch integrated circuit production line project.

As of now, Wuhan Xinxin is the only memory-based IC manufacturing company in China. Wuhan Xinxin is facing an urgent task of catching up with technology. Behind it is the continued investment of the Central Government. On August 5, 2015, the Hubei integrated circuit industry investment fund with a total size of not less than 30 billion yuan was established, of which Wuhan Xinxin is the investment focus. The first phase of the national integrated circuit fund of 138.7 billion investment, one of its investment priorities is the memory.
Experts who participated in the new core project told the reporter of the 21st Century Business Herald that Xinxin did achieve losses in 2017. On the one hand, the international market conditions were relatively good. In the past 20 years, the global semiconductor factory was much more involved. In addition, with mobile communications and the Internet of Things, With the development of the chip, the demand for chips has greatly increased and it is good for Xinxin. Of course there is another reason. From the financial report, the depreciation of the equipment is over.

The loss of data in the financial report does not mean that the real dawn has come. According to the data provided by Tanshui, at present, the global memory market is highly monopolized and the market and key technologies are in the hands of several oligopolistic companies such as Samsung, Toshiba and Hynix. Samsung, Hynix and Micron monopolized 95% of the DRAM memory market. Samsung, Toshiba, Micron and Hynix monopolized 99% of the NAND memory market. The top six manufacturers monopolized 90% of the NOR memory market. Wuhan Xinxin still has a long way to go.
"Although it is a state-owned enterprise, unlike many monopolized state-owned enterprises, Wuhan Xinxin is faced with global market competition. This industry is a globally transparent market, and there is no designated unit procurement for the product. State-owned enterprises are not good at doing it." A practitioner from Wuhan Xinxin told a 21st Century Business Herald reporter.
Related:

A goos in-depth view at Semiconductor Engineering that sees high hurdles for China: Will China Succeed In Memory?
IP issues are just one of the challenges. China’s memory makers also face stiff competition in a tough market. “I look at this at maybe almost like what China did in the foundry industry. They have 10% market share. Maybe China will get 10% of the memory market,” IC Insights’ McClean said. “I don’t think it would be zero. But I don’t see big chunks of market share coming out of Samsung, Micron and Hynix anytime soon.”
Asia Times: China has too few chips to play in high stakes tech gameChina.org: Xi calls for maintaining new development philosophy, winning 'three tough battles'
"Businesses must unceasingly make breakthroughs in core technology, mastering more key technologies with self-owned intellectual property rights and building up the ability to dominate industrial development. The country needs you to pick up the pace," Xi said.

Xi then visited Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. to inspect a national memory production base and assembly lines of integrated circuits.

In workshops, he listened to reports about smart manufacturing of chips and accelerating chip localization progress.

Referring to chips as like the human heart, Xi said, "No matter how big a person is, he or she can never be strong without a sound and strong heart," he said, urging businesses to make major breakthroughs in chip technology and challenge the new heights in global semiconductor industry.

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