Editing by David Du
Three Chinese senior technology officials addressed the JiWei Semiconductor Summit 2021 (JWSS) in Xiamen, southeastern China, last weekend to share their views on the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s integrated circuit (IC) industry. They called for close cooperation with the rest of the world at every level of the supply chain and the need to avoid polarization.
Yang Xudong, MIIT
Yang Xudong, Deputy Director of the Electronic Information Department, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT), said, “We should be open-minded and actively participate in international cooperation. We also need to work for the betterment of the global ecosystem.”
He stressed that the Chinese IC industry needs to stay in the global IC community and play its part despite being hit severely by foreign sanctions.
“The semiconductor industry needs global efforts to operate,” he added. “It depends on cutting-edge technologies, vast investments, and long and complex supply chains. Cutting off China won’t be an option for the world.”
Dai Guoqiang, MOST
Dai Guoqiang, Director of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information under the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST), briefed on China’s IC developments. He said, “The industry over the past 60 years appeared to have great market inclusion, devotion, and forward-thinking ability.”
He explained that China with an increasingly open business environment has allowed more market players to enter the competition in the supply chain, thereby promoting innovation. It benefited both international and Chinese home-grown enterprises. “We’re glad to see so many design companies, chipmakers, equipment suppliers, and investors come to the event. It reflects a significant improvement in the IC industry,” Dai said.
As Yang pointed out, the IC industry is “unconventionally” important. Almost every electronic device we use today depends on chips for their computing power. Its development also pushes back the boundaries of other fields. The application of supercomputers in biopharmaceuticals and weather forecasts for advanced modeling would be two examples.
To overcome the “choke points” facing the domestic industry, Yang Xudong believes there’s no shortcuts. “We are climbing the hill. And there’s no secret formula for you to leapfrog more advanced competitors. We need to do our job step-by-step,” he told the audience. “The IC industry has spent the past 60 years in developing its production technology and ecosystem. It cannot be achieved overnight.”
The semiconductor sector also depends on a complex interplay of other disciplines, said Xu Hongxing, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). “For example, optics and mechanical engineering are proximately irrelevant to semiconductors. But combine them, you have the lithography machine, one of the core pieces of equipment in semiconductor manufacturing.”
Xu Hongxing, CAS
Yang urged the country and society to provide more support for the “unconventional” route. “The IC industry needs more than just capital investment. It needs human capital as well as technical support and facilities,” he said.
Looking forward to the next 30 years, Dai said “We need to speed up its upgrading process and meet the changing business demand. We welcome more and more talents in the fields of materials, designs, applications, and equipment to join the IC industry in the future.”
The JiWei Semiconductor Summit is one of the premier events of the Chinese semiconductor investment community, organized annually by JW Insights and the China Semiconductor Investment Alliance (CSIA). It brings together industry leaders, experts, and practitioners to share their insights and meet new and old friends. Under the theme of "Together we lead the change", the 5th JWSS was held on June 25-26, 2021, in Xiamen City, southeastern China, with more than 1,400 delegates joined the event, including business executives and prospective investors in the Chinese semiconductor industry.