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Experts list mainland China IC design stumbling blocks

Posted: 10 Apr 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ic design house? electronic design automation? design automation? edat? gartner Dataquest?

Human resources, operations, and support services are key areas of concern that the IC design industry of mainland China should address in order to increase competitiveness in a market currently dominated by U.S. and Taiwan companies. These points were raised by experts who delivered separate presentations and speeches at the opening day of the Electronic Design Automation & Test Expo (EDA&T) in Shanghai, April 8.

In a presentation entitled "The Electronic Design Challenge and China," Gartner Dataquest analysts Gary Smith and Nancy Wu highlighted the results of the study jointly conducted by Gartner Dataquest and Electronic Engineering Times ? Asia?"Design Trends and EDA Tools: China." The white paper indicates that the mainland China EDA software market will remain strong in the coming years.

"Three years ago, I thought that, in terms of technological advancements, [mainland] China was behind the United States by about five years, but now, [mainland] China has caught up and is only three years behind," Smith observed.

He noted, though, that the biggest stumbling block for the IC design industry of mainland China is human resources. Companies need to effectively train their "teachable" design engineers?those with masters' degree holders in electronic design automation?Smith reasoned. He furthered that training these design engineers properly cannot be accomplished instantly. "It's a 10-year project," he remarked.

The presentation likewise noted the differences and characteristics of design engineers from the United States, Taiwan and mainland China.


Meanwhile, during his keynote speech dubbed "How to stimulate the electronic design market in China," Mentor Graphics Vice President for the Asia-Pacific Rim Peng Yongjia noted that there are about 400 larger-sized IC design houses worldwide, 60 percent of which are located in the United States and 20 percent, in Taiwan. The remaining 20 percent are located elsewhere in the world. He sees that growth in terms of sales for these design houses will be larger than that of wafer foundries.

Peng likewise observed that a designer needs the help of three validation engineers in order to produce high-quality products. Based on this observation, he said that mainland China's IC design industry needs to focus on issues such as enhancing design operations, promoting human-based and applications-based design methodologies, adopting specific technical workflow parameters, taking advantage of the dwindling resources of Silicon Valley, and maximizing mainland China's manufacturing expertise. "Value-added services in manufacturing is the way for the [mainland] China IC design industry," Peng urged.

Furthermore, at their company presentation, Cadence China Ltd General Manager Yuan Chengzhi also called for more support services for mainland China's IC market. He likewise drew a roadmap for the development of an IC design house, basically discussing setting-up the company, designing and manufacturing products, and implementing IC design services.

Yuan observed that, before, the operation of IC companies only required three types of services: First are those from vertical IC companies; second, from fabs and design houses; and lastly, from independent packaging service providers. However, currently new forms of IC-production services are emerging, he noted. These new companies include those that offer IPs, integrated SoC design services, or business consulting services. He pointed out that these new forms of services will definitely contribute to the development of mainland China's IC design market. "The more complex a design is, the more assistance from support services an IC design house needs," he opined.

EDA&T is co-located with the Shanghai and Beijing legs of the 7th annual International IC ? China Conference and Exhibition (IIC-China) and the 2nd Embedded Systems Conferences ? China (ESC-China). The Shanghai expo was held April 8 and 9, while the next installment of the conference will open tomorrow, April 11, in Beijing. EDA&T, IIC-China and ESC-China are eeEvents organized by eMedia Asia Ltd, a Global Sources and CMP Media joint venture.

? Michael Liu

Electronic Engineering Times ? China

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