In recent years, with the continuous development of the economy and society, the development and implementation of a new generation of information and communication technology, consumer electronics, automotive electronics, industrial intelligent control, and other industry products have been further popularized and penetration, promoting the continuous growth of emerging markets such as artificial intelligence, the IoT, cloud computing, and autonomous driving, and injecting impetus into the continued vigorous development of the integrated circuit industry.
At present, China is still a major importer of integrated circuits. According to data, in 2022, China imports 538.4 billion integrated circuit products, exported 273.36 billion pieces, imported 415.579 billion USD, and exported 153.918 billion USD. It shows that the demand for the Chinese integrated circuit industry is strong, there is a degree of external dependence, and the willingness and demand for independent and controllable integrated circuit development are extremely urgent.
Integrated circuits usher in an opportunity for development
Integrated circuit design, as the upstream of the integrated circuit industry, mainly designs and develops various chip products according to the needs of the terminal market. Therefore, with the continuous expansion of new applications in new fields such as 5G information technology, artificial intelligence, and new energy vehicles, new downstream application scenarios continue to expand. Besides, the semiconductor industry ecology has been further enriched, the integrated circuit design industry has also ushered in unprecedented opportunities for development.
Meanwhile, the level of integrated circuit design determines the function, performance and cost of the chip, and integrated circuit design, as a technology-intensive industry, has high requirements for the company’s R&D technology level, independent innovation ability, and industrial chain operation level.
In the integrated circuit industry, analog chips have strong application characteristics. Therefore, in order to make competitive and differentiated products, analog chip companies need to tightly couple design solutions with various process technologies, and even develop customized specific processes.
In order to further optimize the integrated circuit industry and development environment, and enhance industrial innovation capabilities and development quality, China has successively issued a series of policies on finance, taxation, and intellectual property protection to provide a favorable policy environment for integrated circuit companies.
Competition in the RF market is fierce
RF front-end devices are key components of communication systems, and the global RF front-end market is highly concentrated. According to Yole Development data, the world’s top five RF device suppliers account for about 80% of the RF front-end market in 2022, including Broadcom 19%. , Qualcomm 17%, Skyworks 15%, Qorvo 15%, Murata 14%.
The design and manufacturing process technology threshold in the RF front-end field is relatively high. The international leading companies started earlier and have a profound foundation. They have accumulated competitive advantages such as capital and talents in technology, patents, and craftsmanship. The product line layout, and has strong high-end product research and development capabilities.
With the rapid development of the communication field and the rise of 5G, global semiconductor device manufacturers seek to optimize the industrial chain through continuous integration and mergers, and use scale advantages to obtain more market voice and lower manufacturing costs.
Most international manufacturers operate under the IDM model, possessing the entire industrial chain capability of design, manufacturing, packaging and testing, establishing a complete ecological chain and strict technical barriers, monopolizing the market for a long time and leading the development of technology.
However, the RF front-end industry in China started relatively late, and there is a large gap between the technical level and experience reserves and foreign developed countries. 5G communication technology introduces new frequency band applications, the emergence of complex technologies and applications, etc., which put forward higher requirements for the complexity and performance of RF front-end devices.
In addition, in order to meet the needs of thinner and lighter smartphones and lower costs, the integration of RF front-ends will gradually increase, and the trend of modularization is becoming more and more obvious.
Benefiting from China’s policy support, domestic substitution dividends and the drive of capital upsurge, a large number of new entrants have poured into the domestic RF front-end industry, and the competition in the RF market has become increasingly fierce.
Companies in the same industry are constantly accelerating and improving the speed and capabilities of new product development, and constantly launching new products with high reliability, high integration, and high performance to meet the market’s demand for high-end applications, which makes market competition increasingly fierce. Gradually establish a watershed in the industry and promote the intensification of industry differentiation.