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Survey shows Taiwan aids China's fabless firms

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fabless? process technologies? digital ICs?

According to an IC design house and fabless chip company survey conducted by EE Times-China, China's fabless chip enterprises are turning to Taiwan to help them get close to the leading-edge in geometry and compete globally. Some 9.2 percent of China's fabless chip companies are producing digital ICs using 45nm or below process technologies, according to the survey.

"In the past decade, we have witnessed the emergence and rapid growth of mainland China's IC design industry. When we first started our survey in 2002, only 20 percent of local IC design firms used 0.25micrometer or below process technologies, while over 72 percent of their counterparts in the U.S. used 0.18micrometer or below technologies. Even five years ago, the industry was at least two generations behind the U.S. in terms of process technology," said Brandon Smith, publisher of EE Times-China, in a statement.

While 23.2 percent and 27.5 percent of respondent companies are using 0.13?m process technologies to make analog and mixed signal ICs, respectively, these two sectors continue to be dominated by 0.18micrometer and 0.35micrometer processes.

Of the survey respondents that use foundry services, 63 percent use foundries based in Taiwan, which compares with 57 percent in 2010. About 33.1 percent work with TSMC compared with 30 percent last year. Meanwhile, 18.9 and 15 percent say they perform best with the Chinese foundries SMIC and CSMC, respectively.

The survey also shows that 57 percent of mainland China's ICs are used for consumer electronics such as mobile phones and tablet PCs. This market sector is characterized by rapid innovation and intense competition, which continues to drive the fast development of the local IC design industry.

- Peter Clarke
?? EE Times

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