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Show mirrors China's rising design status

Posted: 16 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless communications? consumer electronics? China design houses?

It's a fact: China continues to lure manufacturers from all over. The buzz, however, is how China is aggressively honing its design expertise to gain a bigger slice of the revenue pie. And at the 12th Annual International IC-China Conference and Exhibition (IIC-China), such fervor permeated the show floors of Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.

A very exciting time, as Julieanne Dibene, director of marketing communications at Micrel Inc., puts it. China's emerging status as a design powerhouse was solidified during the IIC-China run at Shenzhen, where the inaugural IC Design Pavilion was continually busy. International companies and local component makers saw up-close the passion that is driving the industry.

A slew of new product announcements and promotions from companies like NXP Semiconductors, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Microchip Technology Inc., Renesas Technology Corp., Micrel and Xilinx satisfied the growing appetite of China engineers for the latest technologies and solutions. NXP, for instance, highlighted the "connected living" concept, offering solutions for devices ranging from DTVs to PCs to STBs to personal video recorders to digital media adapters and cellphones. Samsung, on the other hand, put the spotlight on its range of industry firsts, which include the company's 40nm 32Gbit NAND flash. Meanwhile, Renesas launched its Tiny series of motor control MCUs designed for use in servo-actuators.

The consensus among the exhibitors was that China's design industry will be a force to reckon with in the coming years. And we are not talking about some low-end design activities here. China has set its sights on some complex tasks, particularly in the wireless communications and consumer electronics arenas, as shown by the rich brew of solutions exhibited by companies such as Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), STMicroelectronics (ST), Analog Devices Inc., Freescale Semiconductor Inc., NEC Corp., Micron Technology Inc., Fairchild Semiconductor, Spansion and Qimonda AG.

For instance, mobile TV solutions centering on China's TD-SCDMA standard drew crowds to TI's booth. The company's DaVinci technology product line was one of the highlights of its exhibit. Moreover, a demo of an ECG device running with a TI instrumentation amplifier and CMOS operation amplifiers underscored the company's growing interest in medical devices.

Snapshots of success: IIC-China offered China engineers a wide range of technologies and solutions to address their design needs.

ST had the mobile communications sector in mind for its IIC-China exhibit. The Nomadik multimedia applications processor was the central piece of the company's showcase.

With its growing middle class, China's interest in cars is at an all-time high. Demos of automotive electronics drew huge crowds. Atmel, Silicon Labs and Renesas were among the companies that presented solutions for the next-gen smart vehicle.

Without a doubt, the desire to do more high-end design should be supported by a stronger skill set. And Chinese engineers, as witnessed at IIC-China, are eager to learn. Online training was embraced with fervor. A 24/7 online tool available in the local language attracted engineers, noted Keung Hon Ming, senior sales and marketing manager, MCU sales and marketing division, local business group, Renesas Technology Hong Kong Ltd.

Top-level discussions
Companies also see the importance of letting top-level field application engineers work with the local guys, and discuss possibilities in the realm of design. Take for instance first-time IIC-China exhibitor Primarion, which stationed top-level field engineers in Shanghai to fuel more interest in digital power management and erase the misconception that digital design is complicated.

The success of IIC-China is testament to how vibrant the design industry has become. Next year, expect even bigger things from China. After all, the country is just getting started.

- Celeste dela Torre
EE Times-Asia




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