At the same time, from May 20 to mid June, the Asian times successively disclosed that South Korea would become a key breakthrough for Huawei, and Huawei or Samsung would reach an agreement on chip manufacturing. According to the agreement, Samsung will manufacture chips for Huaweis 5g devices. Given that Huaweis core business is telecom equipment, compared with its core business, the smartphone sector has a lower profit, and Huawei will strategically give up its market share of smartphones. Huawei and Samsung will move from competition to cooperation.
South Korea is the largest supplier of memory chips in China, and the two countries are closely connected in the industrial supply chain. Affected by the US policy of restricting Huawei, South Korean technology companies will also be hit hard. Commercial enterprises are more in pursuit of the maximization of interests, which is not in line with the core value of enterprises.
Li Jianxi once said that the two key words of Samsung in the 21st century are digital and China.
In addition, Samsung is the only company that can compete with TSMC in 7Nm and 5nm processes. Under this premise, Samsung is likely to become Huaweis PlanB, which has attracted much attention from the outside world.
Samsung may be the only PlanB
In 2019, Samsungs smartphone business began to recover. Samsungs memory business has been sluggish due to the industrys weakness since 2018 and the adverse factors of the falling prices of memory and flash memory. However, its flagship Galaxy note 10 and other series of products have a strong market, filling the gap in the semiconductor business. Semiconductor business, it and mobile communication business have become the top two main businesses of Samsung.
Moreover, Samsung relies entirely on Japanese and European equipment and technology, which is feasible in theory. According to the Asia times, Samsung has built a 7Nm small chip production line with only Japanese and European chip manufacturing equipment to attract more potential customers.
More importantly, Huawei has few options. On the one hand, Tiangang, Huaweis 5g base station chipset, and Qilin 1100, the next generation terminal processor that may be launched, all have processes below 7Nm and 7Nm, while only TSMC and Samsung can manufacture processes below 7Nm, and the scale of Samsungs OEM is second only to TSMC.
Base station chips and mobile phone chips are both manufactured in the most advanced process, with high performance requirements. Mobile phone consumers must use the most advanced chips in pursuit of flagship mobile phones, but base station chips have a compromise space, but it is not easy to find alternative manufacturers. If we cant find a solution for chip supply, Huaweis carriers and cloud computing businesses will be greatly affected. The core of the study Xu Ke said.
In addition, Bloomberg news on June 7 showed that the inventory of self-developed chips in Huaweis telecom equipment could only be maintained until the beginning of 2021. Forrester Research, Charlie Dai, predicted that the inventory of Huaweis high-end chips, including baseband chips and CPU for smartphones, would last for 12 to 18 months.
Liang Mengsong, a member of SMIC, once revealed that small-scale manufacturing of 7Nm will be realized by the end of 2020. However, the time from R & D to large-scale mass production is long, and limited by the source of equipment, it is uncertain whether Huawei can be supplied. It can be seen that there is not much room left for Huawei in terms of the scope of qualified manufacturers or time.
Of course, whether Samsung can finally reach a deal with Huawei is the result of multi-party game. After all, Samsung and Huawei have been competing fiercely in the field of intelligent terminals, and Samsung has long coveted the telecom equipment market.
In fact, Huaweis dilemma highlights the commonness of the chip design industry. On June 20, ZTE urgently clarified the information of 7Nm chip mass production, 5nm chip technology import, saying that ZTE focuses on communication chip design and does not have chip production and manufacturing capacity. In other words, most of the chip design enterprises do not have diversified choices in the advanced chip manufacturing and seal testing.
How can Huawei resist anti globalization?
As we all know, there are many steps in chip manufacturing, involving many equipment manufacturers. Wafer foundry manufacturers purchase equipment from equipment manufacturers and then make chips. Statistics from statista show that the majority of chip manufacturing equipment enterprises are American and Japanese enterprises, which hold more than 50% of the global market share.
For example, there are more than one thousand types of equipment using materials, almost covering the whole semiconductor manufacturing process, and dominating the chip equipment market for many years. Asmair of Holland monopolizes EUV lithography technology, which is the key equipment of 7Nm and 5nm chip manufacturing.
In terms of the pattern of wafer foundry enterprises, the 10nm process has become a landmark node for enterprises to open the gap. The more advanced the process, the less manufacturers. More than 10nm manufacturers, including TSMC, Samsung, Intel, grofangde and other companies, encroach on the market, while less than 10nm, only TSMC and Samsung compete.
At the same time, in todays highly concentrated industrial chains such as chip equipment and manufacturing, the division of labor against globalization and differentiation of the original industrial system may continue to deepen.
On June 11, the New York Times disclosed that, given that the share of chip manufacturing in the United States only accounts for 12% of the global market, American lawmakers are considering investing tens of billions of dollars in the semiconductor industry of the United States in the next five to ten years to attract the chip manufacturing industry back to the United States and maintain the dominant position of the chip industry chain of the United States.
Not only the United States, but also Japan. The Japanese government will spend about $2 billion in budget to help Japanese enterprises transfer production to the mainland. This is undoubtedly a blow to chip design manufacturers including Huawei.
Chip is the Pearl on the crown of science and technology industry, and wafer foundry is not only a highly capital, technology and talent intensive industry, but also provides services for many fabless design manufacturers. In the future, Huawei may inevitably face more difficult challenges, and it is urgent to actively explore a way out.
In addition to market support, strong R & D force is indispensable for the development of semiconductor market. From the perspective of domestic demand market and recent development of chip design industry, it may be worth exploring to give priority to strengthening the quality of domestic chip design industry to drive Chinas wafer manufacturing and seal test OEM industry. Yao Jiayang thinks.
If Huawei wants to solve the dilemma, it needs to start from chip design, gradually penetrate into the field of manufacturing and sealing test, and then get through the various industrial chains of chip design, manufacturing and sealing test.
Source: responsible editor of geek Park: Han Yibing_ NT3945