China stresses global ties to spur chips

By MA SI in Beijing and ZHU LIXIN in Hefei | CHINA DAILY
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Visitors look at a TV on display at the 2022 World Conference on Integrated Circuits in Hefei, Anhui province. [PHOTO by ZHANG DAGANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Greater international cooperation is needed to help the global semiconductor industry better deal with headwinds like slumping demand and trade uncertainties, officials and experts said on Thursday, after reviewing first-half sales data whose release coincided with an industry event.

Sales of China's integrated circuits industry reached 476.35 billion yuan ($66.74 billion) in the first half of this year, up 16.1 percent year-on-year despite challenges at home and abroad, the China Semiconductor Industry Association said.

Wang Jiangping, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the country's top industry regulator, said the government will strengthen international cooperation on ICs in key applications like cloud computing, big data, industrial internet, artificial intelligence and internet of vehicles.

"The ministry will … strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and create a fair, transparent and nondiscriminatory environment for domestic and foreign enterprises," Wang said at the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Conference on Integrated Circuits in Hefei, Anhui province.

Zhang Li, vice-president of the China Semiconductor Industry Association, also known as the CSIA, said the global chip industry entered a downward cycle this year. But China's IC industry has maintained sound growth momentum. "China is a hot spot for the development of global IC enterprises."

Cristiano Amon, CEO of US chip company Qualcomm, and rotating chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association, a Washington-based industry group also known as the SIA, said the CSIA and the SIA will continue cooperation to promote the development of the global chip industry and jointly deal with the challenges and opportunities.

Global chip shortages in the past two years are suddenly turning into a situation of oversupply of semiconductors for smartphones and personal computers. Such a reversal has been partly blamed on weak consumer demand for certain electronics amid global economic downturn.

The US government's series of well-calculated restrictions or controls imposed on the export of advanced semiconductor technology to Chinese tech companies are further disrupting global supply chains, experts said.

Zhu Yiming, chairman and CEO of ChangXin Memory Technologies Inc, a major Chinese chipmaker also known as CXMT, said despite all the ups and downs, cooperation is key to win-win outcomes.

"The IC industry needs a gigantic market, and no single country can afford alone the heavy investment needed to buoy the sector, whether from the perspective of supply chains or (from the perspective of) market demand," Zhu said.

CXMT is one of more than 400 upstream and downstream chip companies in Anhui, as the province prioritizes the new-generation information technology ahead of its 10 strategic emerging industries, said Wang Qingxian, Anhui governor, at the conference.

Among them, more than 360 firms are based in Hefei whose combined annual revenues are expected to surpass 50 billion yuan this year, a video played at the event stated.

The provincial government has created a team of officials specifically for each of the strategic emerging industries. The governor himself is the "chain head" of the new-generation IT sector, which means he leads a group of officials to serve the sector's development, according to information in the public domain.

Hefei-based Nexchip Semiconductors was the ninth-largest global contract chipmaker in terms of revenue in the January-March quarter, according to TrendForce, a market research and intelligence provider.

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