Another Chinese chipmaker has risen: breaking international monopolies and investing $1 billion in research and development of memory chips
1.The Rise of Chip Manufacturing in China
Chips are the representatives of high technology. Especially after the sanctions imposed on ZTE, the Chinese communications equipment giant, the importance of independent research and development of chips in China has risen to an unprecedented level. In China, there are excellent chip R&D and manufacturing enterprises such as Zhongxin International and Huawei Haisi, which provide core chips for mobile phones, multimedia terminals and other devices. Although there is still a gap between China and developed countries in the process below 10nm, Chinese enterprises are constantly catching up.
A Chinese chip maker is on the rise in China, which recently announced that it will invest $100 billion to build two wafer factories in Guangzhou dedicated to the development and production of memory chips. The company is Ziguang, which has invested in the construction of memory chip bases in three provincial capitals, Wuhan, Chengdu and Nanjing. The Yangtze River Storage Company in Wuhan is mainly responsible for the production of NAND flash memory; the production line of NAND memory chips has been planned in Chengdu; and the production base in Nanjing has a monthly production capacity of about 100000 wafers.
Here is a popular scientific knowledge that the so-called "wafer" is silicon wafer, used to make semiconductor integrated circuits. And its shape is circular, so that it is called wafer. Therefore, wafer is the basis for the development and manufacture of semiconductor circuits. Semiconductor memory chips (based on wafer R&D and manufacturing) are used in almost all electronic products or devices, ranging from SIM cards inserted in mobile phones to household appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.
In the field of communication chips, such as mobile phone chips, in addition to Qualcomm and other international giants, China has companies such as Zhanxun and Huawei, among which Zhanxun has focused on the research and development of mobile phone baseband chips since the 2G era. And Ziguang Group has acquired Zhanxun and strengthened its leading position in chip design field: it is the third largest in the world. Without the mobile communication chips provided by Ziguang and Zhanxun, the mobile phones currently used in China would cost hundreds of yuan (patents or technologies are monopolized by manufacturers in developed countries), just as without Huawei and ZTE's communications equipment, mobile phone charges in many countries will be many times more expensive than they are today.
The core technology of memory chips has always been controlled by developed countries and many Chinese companies should pay patent fees directly or indirectly to foreign companies for electronic products or equipment developed by them. It took Ziguang more than two years and spent more than $1 billion to independently develop the first NAND flash memory chip, which has been mass-produced. This not only breaks the international monopoly situation, but also makes the market price of memory chips will continue to decline.
3. Chip R & D has a long way to go
Chip research and development is a cumulative process, which requires sustained research and development investment. Many international chip design companies, including Qualcomm, Intel and so on, also rely on continuous accumulation to achieve existing results. It is trend of the future that chip technology is continuous improved (smaller and higher in size and precision). With the rapid development of mobile internet, the downstream industry of chips, such as mobile phones and multimedia terminals, will have a growing demand, which brings Chinese enterprises business opportunities at first.
Every year, the cost of chips imported from developed countries is as high as several trillion yuan. There are Huawei, Ziguang and other national proud enterprises in China, but compared with the level of developed countries, there is still a big gap in chip technology and a long way to go in the future. And it is an important task for China to vigorously develop the chip industry so as to achieve a "powerful country in science and technology".