Storage and memory chipmaker and SEMI China member Tsinghua Unigroup is gearing up to meet burgeoning product demand with huge investments in its manufacturing plants. But the high-tech enterprise under Tsinghua University is eyeing a much bigger prize – growth of the region’s semiconductor industry and the realization of its ambition to become a more prominent force on the global stage.Inspired by the national strategy, the Tsinghua Unigroup’s big spends include USD 24 billion in Wuhan (Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., Ltd.,) USD 30 billion in Chengdu, USD 30 billion in Nanjing and USD 100 billion in Chongqing, said Liu Hongyu, senior vice president of Tsinghua Unigroup, speaking at the SEMI China Equipment and Materials Committee meeting last month.
Advanced packaging is another rich vein of opportunity the region is tapping for expansion, said Liu Hongjun, vice president of China Wafer Level CSP Co., Ltd., another SEMI China member attending the event, hosted by NAURA in Beijing. Hongjun sees strong growth for Fan-in, Fan-out, FCBGA, 2.5D and 3DIC, with Fan-out out front.
Liang Sheng, administrative commission director at BDA, a business advisory firm supporting high-technology manufacturing in the E-Town economic development zone, pointed to 5G chips and smart, networked electric automobiles as drivers of the next growth phase of Beijing’s integrated circuit (IC) industry.
Global tailwinds are lifting China’s semiconductor industry and the region’s hopes, with SEMI and major industry analysts raising their semiconductor industry growth projects for 2018 to between 9 percent and 16 percent. According to SEMI’s latest market report, global semiconductor industry manufacturing equipment revenue reached USD 17 billion in the first quarter of 2018, logging all-time highs after jumping 12 percent from the previous quarter and 30 percent year-over-year. Korea was the top-performing region at USD 6.26 billion, followed by China at USD 2.64 billion.
Tighter integration with the rest of the global semiconductor industry is critical to the growth of China’s chip sector, and SEMI China is squarely focused on this assimilation, said SEMI China president Lung Chu. The spearhead of this effort is the SEMI Innovation Investment Platform (SIIP) China, established by SEMI China last year to help grow China’s pool of skilled workers, promote advanced technology, generate industry capital, and expand China’s semiconductor industry while developing stronger connections with chip sectors in other regions.
To strengthen ties with other regions, SIIP China will stage a number of innovation and investment forums this year including Chinese Night at SEMICON West (July 10-12) and a SIIP China Forum in Silicon Valley (July 15). In August, representatives from the Korea chip industry will visit counterparts in China (August), and a China delegation will travel to Japan for meetings (October). SIIP China is also strengthening the region’s links with Germany and Israel as SEMI serves as a crucial bridge between China’s semiconductor sector and the global industry.
At the invitation of Shanghai authorities and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, SEMI China in November will join the China International Export & Import Exposition in Shanghai, an event that will underscore China’s commitment to the openness and cooperation of its semiconductor industry with the international chip community. As part of the exposition, SEMI will work with the Ministry of Commerce and domestic chip manufacturers to begin development of a special integrated circuit (IC) zone. SEMI China members are welcome to participate.
With workforce development no less vital to the future of China’s semiconductor industry, the Equipment & Materials Committee offered potential solutions to the industry’s talent gap. Measures included targeting university students and engineers with industry lectures and courses in key cities, campus recruiting, talent training that members said they are willing to help SEMI coordinate and stage and, much like the push to better integrate China with the global semiconductor industry, mobilizing member resources around a campaign to polish the image of the industry to make it more attractive to students and young workers.
Members of the SEMI China Equipment & Material Committee gathered at NAURA in Beijing in June for a warm and lively discussion about global semiconductor industry cooperation and growing China’s semiconductor sector.
Cherry Sun is a marketing manager at SEMI China.