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Electronic Engineering & Product World: Interview of Mr. Qiu Shanqin on Creating a Powerful Country in Integrated Circuit Industry

Q: What is the prominent of global IC industry in the coming five years?

A: First, intelligent mobile terminals including smartphone and tablet PC are the main factor that drive stable increase of semiconductor sales; second, in the coming five years, sensor, storage, and photoelectric device will boom.

As it is predicted in Travel the World with Your Mobile Phone written by a professor, we can go anywhere with a mobile phone which is of greater processing capability, longer stand-by time, and tends to substitute camera by improvement of photoelectric device. And with wide application of sensor, mobile phone can be used for locating and detecting whether, air quality, and food safety etc. Therefore, intelligence, as well as sensor, will be more and more widely applied in mobile phone.

Huge market for local integrated circuit design

Q: What is the market hotspot of Chinese integrated circuit industry?

A: In recent years, new technologies and concepts are emerging, such as cloud computation, Internet of Things, big data, smart city, and intelligent globe. They create great opportunity for our integrate circuit industry. For example, for purpose of cloud computation and big data, we need large-volume storage and competent data center and processing center; and with the development of mobile Internet, we need mobile intelligent terminals; and for Internet of Things and smart city, we need sensors, where chips are important parts.

China is a large country of manufacture, as well as the largest integrated circuit market in the world. It is expected that, by 2015, China’s market scale will go beyond RMB 1 trillion.

And, the general trend around the world is beneficial for us. For example, Japanese semiconductor enterprises are declining, and some European and American tycoons exit from low-end market, all of which will bring us opportunity.

In this sense, our market will be promising. It is predicted that, the output of our integrated circuit design industry will go beyond RMB 80 billion in 2013 and RMB 100 billion in 2014.


Challenges and Suggestions

Q: What is the challenge?

A: Our industrial enterprises are mostly small scaled. This is the point. It is a consensus that, with the 65nm and 45nm production process, a manufacture can satisfy the demand of about 50-60 large-scale design enterprises. However, by 2017, with the progress improvement to 16nm, an OEM can satisfy only 10 design enterprises, suggesting that some small design enterprises may fail to get OEM.

Intellectual property is another challenge. We encourage using independently developed chips to substitute imported ones to reduce the cost and guarantee safety and reliability. Intellectual property makes it hard. According to incomplete statistics, in recent five years, there are about 260 patent disputes in integrated circuit. With technological improvement and scale expansion, special emphasis shall be laid on it. For this purpose, CSIP, by cooperating with over 30 domestic universities and enterprises, has established patent base to cater for the challenge.

Q: What do you suggest for development of integrated circuit design industry?

A: First, respect rules, make input, and encourage open development. Integrated circuit industry is a leading industry, basic industry, and strategic industry. It needs a long time for growth. Despite of great support to chip industry including 908, 909, and special projects, it is not scientific rule to expect instant effect. Rule exists in all industries. Input is the key. Intel makes annual input of over US 10 billion, while our whole industry makes input of over RMB 100 billion in ten years. It is impossible for us to get booming development with such a small input. We need to respect rules and make greater input. We used to be satisfied with cost balance and technical development, and we have a long way to go before we realize industrialization. And we shall develop in an open manner, where independent innovation shall be encouraged in any possible form. We can make investment in foreign enterprises, for example, lithography machine enterprises.

We need at least two or three decades to create a powerful country in integrated circuit industry.

Second, our resources are limited, enterprises are small, and government input is disperse, which require resource convergence in certain fields, such as mobile terminals, key sensors, and storage.

Third, chip design enterprises shall pay attention to combination of software and hardware, and take industrial chain and ecosystem into simultaneous consideration. Integrated circuit and software are mutual independent for common development. In foreign chip design companies, a great part of chip design talents are also software talents.

Last but not the lease, strengthen strategic cooperation. As integrated circuit industry is strategic and leading industry, how will it develop in future? What is the minimum line width for technological processing? 8nm? How shall it develop then? Internet and Internet of Things are present main trend, yet how will they prove after 2017 and even 2020? Strategic researches shall be conducted.