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Pavilion to highlight China's homegrown IC design houses

Posted: 02 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:local design house? China companies? WAPI? chip design? IC verification?

Underscoring the increasing importance of China's homegrown IC design houses to the local electronics industry, this year's International IC-China Conference & Exhibition (IIC-China) will feature local IC design houses in a special IC Design Pavilion.

China standards
Several standards, including ID-SCDMA, WAPI and DTV, are currently being developed in China, with many local companies releasing products supporting these standards.

At the IC Design Pavilion, Comlent Technology Inc. will showcase chipsets complying with TD-SCDMAa CMOS RF transceiver (CL4020) and an analog baseband (CL4520). Fully integrating 0.18?m CMOS technology, the chipsets feature GSM/TD-SCDMA and support all national baseband product interfaces manufactured by Spreadtrum, Commit, T3G and Chongyou.

Supported by the government, WAPI is expected to see an increase in demand this year. The Wantong V (WT6205) WLAN chip from Beijing LHWT Microelectronics Inc., a member of WAPI Industry Alliance, integrates all previous features of the Wantong series, as well as WAPI2.0 hardware encryption module, supporting the WAPI encryption of Chinese autonomous intellectual property. Meanwhile, the 802.11 b/a/g baseband/MAC chip from Walta Electronic Co. Ltd mainly applies hardware algorithm to support WAPI.

DTV is another major focus of the consumer electronics industry. The LME2510 from Leaguer (Shenzhen) MicroElectronics Co. Ltd is a USB2.0 channel decoder, providing interfaces and image processing for the USB dongle of pluggable notebook PCs. This device is designed for the receiving of DTV computers in various standards, including DMB-TH.

Traditional receiving chips for satellite/digital cable televisions will also be featured at the IC Design Pavilion. Complying with DVB-C, the M88DC2000 channel decoder from Montage Technology integrates a reference voltage generator and a regulator, is completely compatible with DVB-C ETS300429 and ITU J83-A/C standard, and has a power consumption of 160mW at 7.2Msymbol/s.

Move towards high-end markets
Many traditional IC design manufacturers have switched their focus from the low-end IC segment to the high-end field. For example, Shanghai Haier's 8bit MCU fully conforms to the industrial standards and can work within the -40-85C temperature range, with high EM compatibility over 0-8kV ESD and over-4kV/2.5kHz.

An IIC-China participant for the past two years, Sigma Microelectronics will be showcasing input devices such as keyboards, mice and joypads with a low-speed USB-programmable 8bit MCU (SG8UAP5381), and more high-performance products like the SG715, a large-capacity DSP voice chip that supports long-term playing.

After the MP3 decoder and webcam, the mobile multimedia segment became another innovation stage for China's emerging IC design houses, with companies following different strategies. For instance, Chipnuts Technology Co. focuses on mobile phones, while Shanghai Jade Tech Co. concentrates on audio-video algorithm and chip structure and Beijing Vivace Semiconductor Co. focuses on multistandard solutions.

New data transmission technologies
With telecommunication services transitioning from voice to multimedia, the communications industry requires high bandwidth, multiservice and high security. This promotes the development of new technologies, one of which is Optical Access Network. IIC-China exhibitor Raycom Co. Ltd will be showcasing SDH and PDH equipment, interface converters, and Multi-Service Access Platforms that promise system integrity, low cost and practicality.

Local manufacturers are also entering the analog IC arena, which used to be dominated by international companies. For example, CMOS operational amplifier (OA) supplier SG Microelectronics Corp. has developed a series of CMOS OAs that features low cost, low power consumption (with a quiescent current of 2.3mA/channel at 5V), low voltage (the operating voltage ranges from 2.5V to 5.5V) and low noise (8.7nV/sqrt(Hz)).

Focus on power management continues
In last year's IIC-China, power management ICs took center stage, and will continue to do so in 2007 due to its growing application, the improvement it brings to portability, and the global demand for high efficiency and energy saving.

Recently, an increasing number of local manufacturers are entering the power management semiconductor market. On-Bright Electronics Inc., a supplier of analog and mixed-signal ICs, applies its patented frequency shuffling technique on most of its chips. This technique enhances EMI performance, simplifies system design and reduces standby power consumption. Meanwhile, Chengdu Chip-Rail Tech Corp. Ltd, another IIC-China exhibitor, has developed a series of green and energy-conserving AC/DC power control chips.

Local companies address market demand
The biggest challenge for IC design houses is not product design, but rather product orientation and marketing. Chip manufacturers must be in tune with market demand. One successful company is Shanghai Mountain View Silicon Technology Co. The company launched AU6840, a single-chip solution for USB host MP3 controller. Integrating an 8bit MCU, a USB host controller, an SD/MMC controller, an MP3 decoder and a 16bit converter, this product can simultaneously support USB flash, SD cards and MMC cards.

On the other hand, GigaDevice Semiconductor (Beijing) Inc. decided to go against the market trend. Although several SRAM manufacturers were starting to leave the SRAM field, the company decided to launch its own SRAM products. With its patented dySRAM (2T-SRAM) technique, it mainly offers asynchronous SRAM devices featuring low power consumption.

- Vivian Tang
EE Times-China

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