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Keys to success: Integrate and cooperate

Posted: 02 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:China? IC manufacturing? RF IC manufacturers? Zhang Liang?

Liang: While the local RF ICs manufacturers are already technologically prepared to commercialize, the industry needs to impinge on a paradigm shift.

After many years of waiting, the industry chain of TD-SCDMA in China has started to mature. The local RF IC manufacturers are a very important link in the TD-SCDMA supply chain. One of these manufacturers is RDA Microelectronic (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. Zhang Liang, RDA's VP for development and definition of products project, shared his views on issues related to RF technology in China.

Paradigm shift
According to Liang, while the local RF ICs manufacturers are already technologically prepared to commercialize, the industry needs to impinge on a paradigm shift. The first IC companies to enter the TD-SCDMA RF field were Maxim Integrated Products and Analog Devices Inc. The two companies have nearly four years of experience in product development and cooperation with local companies, and they have mature products. Terminals manufacturers favored these two companies because of their stability, even if the products performed poorly and were expensive. This bias makes it difficult for new IC manufacturers to enter the market.

The low level of industrialization of most companies is another reason terminal manufacturers are reluctant to use ICs from local manufacturers. Terminal manufacturers are worried that problems may arise because of insufficient understanding of details for their lines.

However, as ICs are successively released to the market, the RF IC manufacturers are accumulating industrial experience. At the same time, cost pressure drives terminal manufacturers to seek more advanced, better price-to-performance ratio and cheaper solutions, and they will adopt local RF ICs. This can be seen in the development of GSM.

An RF IC consists of a transceiver, a power amplifier and a switch. These are integrated in RDA's RDA8205, currently the only integrated RF solution on the market. When Maxim first released the TD-SCDMA RF solution, it came in the form of two ICsthe transceiver and the analog baseband (ABB). This trend was followed by baseband companies, and companies supplying transceiver ICs had to extend together with Maxim's ABB, or develop another one. In contrast, the RDA8205 transceiver from RDA, which is currently exclusive in China, integrates ABB and the transceiver link.

As for ADI, though its RF integration level is not as high as RDA, its baseband technology is advanced, and ADI can provide an integrated solution for TD-SCDMA. It would be very difficult for RDA to compete with ADI independently. Rather, ADI is using the strategy of cooperating with manufacturers on other links in the supply chain. These include CATT, SpreadTrum, Commit and T3G. This strategy, stressed Liang, is effective in increasing RDA's competitiveness in the industry, while fostering the optimization of system performance all around.

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