China semiconductor


[News] Current Investment and Financing Landscape in Chinese Semiconductor Industry

The semiconductor industry in China is gradually recovering in response to shifts in downstream demand in the end of November. This positive trend is reflected in the industry’s dynamics of investment and financing.

There have been nearly 40 financing events in the semiconductor industry. Sectors such as storage chips, MEMS, automotive-grade chips, third-generation semiconductors, and semiconductor materials/equipment are particularly attracting capital. Companies in the spotlight include SCY, Sinopack, YT Micro, Oritek, Analogysemi, Konsemi, and UniSiC.

SCY: Advancing Core Storage Technology 

Shenzhen-based SCY has successfully concluded Series B strategic financing, led by Xiaomi Industry Fund and joined by several upstream and downstream companies. The funds raised will be dedicated to enhancing core storage technology, research and development, furthering global strategies. SCY aims to establish its own storage brands, SCY and WeIC, in the terminal market. The company has achieved a breakthrough in the second-generation Flip Chip advanced packaging technology, with the full-scale production of its self-developed 512GB UFS3.1 storage chip. The expectation is to achieve mass production of 1TB capacity UFS3.1 next year.

Sinopack: Advancements in Ceramic Packaging 

Sinopack has completed Series B strategic financing, earmarking the capital for production line construction and research and development to stimulate the company’s second growth curve. Established in 2009, Sinopack focuses on ceramic packaging applied in optical communication, wireless communication, and other fields. The company has successfully developed precision ceramic components with core materials such as aluminum oxide and aluminum nitride. Sales revenue in the first half of 2023 has already surpassed the entire year of 2022.

YT Micro: Driving Automotive-grade Chip Innovation

Jiangsu-based YT Micro has successfully secured Series B1 round financing. The company specializes in automotive-grade chips design. With deep collaborations with numerous automotive OEMs  and automotive component companies, YT Micro has executed 300+ specified projects, resulting in millions of shipments. Future plans include increased investment in the research and development and mass production of high-performance automotive processor chips, expanding industrial ecological cooperation, and strengthening strategic business collaborations with OEMs and Tier1.

Oritek: Pioneering Intelligent Automotive Solutions

Oritek stands as China’s first provider focusing on the third generation of intelligent automotive E/E architecture. The company’s Longquan series chips cater to smart automotive terminal-side intelligent components, smart local processing unit, and integrated central computing units for parking and charging in 2023. The Longquan 560 chip was unveiled in 2023.

Analogysemi: Advancing Analog and Mixed-signal Chips

Founded in 2018, Analogysemi concentrates on analog and mixed-signal chips, applied across various markets like industrial, communication, medical, and automotive. The company has successfully entered the automotive electronics field, achieving mass production of products such as automotive-grade DC brushed motor drivers, widely used in automotive electronic components.

Konsemi: Elevating Embedded Storage Solutions

Established in November 2018, Konsemi focuses on the research and development of embedded storage controller chips and modules. It stands among the few Chinese manufacturers independently designing a complete range of embedded storage chips. With applications spanning smart TVs, set-top boxes, mobile devices, smart wearables, communication devices, drones, industrial robots, and new energy vehicles, Konsemi’s self-developed eMMC product has received certifications from mainstream manufacturers and is integrated into the supply chain of renowned brands, with sales reaching millions.

UniSiC: Leading in Power Semiconductor Device Testing

UniSiC has successfully concluded a billion-yuan strategic financing, earmarked for forward-looking product research and development and global expansion. Established in 2020, the company focuses on power semiconductor device testing and high-frequency power electronic applications. With successful developments in silicon carbide technology and securing multiple orders, UniSiC’s SiC ATE product has commenced overseas installations.


China Strives to Break Through U.S. Restrictions in Mature Processes, Aiming for Over 30% Global Share by 2027

Despite the U.S. sanction on the semiconductor industry in China, China is still positively looking for further development.

Following our discussion on the shifts of Chinese wafer fabs in the previous article (China’s Wafer Fabs Hits 44 with Future Expansion 32, Mainly Targeting on The Mature Process), this article focuses on the application of 8-inch and 12-inch wafers, as well as provides detailed account of Chinese foundries’ strategic positioning in the landscape.

From a cost perspective, producing a 12-inch wafer incurs approximately 50% more cost than an 8-inch wafer. However, the chip output from a 12-inch wafer is nearly triple that of an 8-inch wafer, leading to a cost reduction of roughly 30% per chip. As manufacturing processes improve and yields increase, the cost of 12-inch wafers is expected to further decline in the future.

In terms of applications, a clear distinction emerges between 12-inch and 8-inch wafers. The versatility of 12-inch wafers is evident, covering a broad range of practical applications. As depicted in the table below, 8-inch wafers are primarily utilized for mature and specialized processes, focusing on the 0.13-90nm range.

8-inch wafers’ downstream applications are concentrated in industrial, mobile, and automotive sectors, encompassing power devices, power management chips, non-volatile memory, MEMS, display driver ICs, and fingerprint recognition chips, among others. The surging demand for power devices in automotive electronics and industrial applications has been a key driver for recent production expansions.

Currently, the market demand for 8-inch wafers remains robust. However, there is a trend of decreasing 8-inch production lines in the market. This shift is primarily due to the industry’s mainstream adoption of 12-inch wafers. Given the significant capital required to establish 12-inch wafer fabs (often exceeding billions of US dollars), many foundries are reevaluating their 8-inch wafer production lines. These lines face challenges such as outdated equipment (mostly sourced from the second-hand market), upgrades difficulties, and lower returns compared to 12-inch wafers. Consequently, an increasing number of major companies are transitioning their focus from 8-inch to 12-inch wafers.

While the quantity of 8-inch wafer fabs is far less than that of 12-inch wafer fabs, their presence is significant. According to data from SEMI, China has maintained rapid development in 8-inch wafers. It is projected that by 2026, China’s market share in 8-inch wafers will increase to 22%, with a monthly production capacity reaching 1.7 million wafers, ranking first globally. By the end of 2025, companies including Huahong, Sien, Silan, Yangdong Microelectronic, GTA Semiconductor, SMEIIC, Zkjx, Hwdz, and Eaerkey are expected to establish a total of nine new 8-inch wafer fabs.

China’s Semiconductor Focus: 33% Mature Process Capacity by 2027

Based on product requirements, we can categorize semiconductor processes into specialty processes and logic processes. Logic processes further divide into mature processes (28nm and above) and advanced processes (nodes below 28nm, primarily 16/14nm and below).

Considering the current scenario, challenges in advanced process technology and high expenditures have confined major players in advanced processes to Intel, TSMC, and Samsung. This year, Samsung and TSMC announced the mass production of 3nm processes, marking the most advanced nodes currently available. Examining China’s situation, the semiconductor industry, having started relatively late, is currently focusing on mature and specialty processes due to factors like equipment and material limitations and changes in the international landscape.

It’s worth noting that, apart from Chinese wafer fabs intensively researching mature processes, many major companies have started to reverse their focus on mature processes in the past two years. Companies such as TSMC, Samsung, Intel, UMC, and GlobalFoundries are actively expanding their mature process capacities.

Among them, UMC’s bet on mature capacities is unprecedented. It became the world’s first wafer foundry to announce leaving research and development of advanced processes. Since 2018, UMC has strategically focused on improving the company’s return on investment, particularly targeting processes of 28nm and above.

According to TrendForce, the compound annual growth rate of global semiconductor foundry capacities from 2021 to 2024 is expected to reach 11%. 28nm capacity is expected to be 1.3 times that of 2022 by 2024, making it the most actively expanded node in mature processes. It is anticipated that more applications of specialty processes will transition to 28nm. Moreover, from 2021 to 2024, the global capacity of mature processes (28nm and above) is expected to maintain a stable share of over 75%. This indicates the potential and significance of positioning in the mature process and specialty process markets.

TrendForce predicts that, with the expansion of mature process capacities below 28nm, mature process capacities are expected to account for 70% of the top ten foundries’ capacities by 2027. China is expected to hold 33% of mature process capacities in 2027, with the possibility of continuous upward adjustments.

(Image: SMIC)



[News] With two October Investments, Big Fund Phase II Commits Nearly 19 Billion RMB

Since October, China’s National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund Phase II (hereafter referred to as “Big Fund Phase II”) has made two significant investments.

First, it invested in JCET Group’s subsidiary, JCET Group Automotive Electronics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as “JCET Automotive Electronics”). Later, it invested in ChangXin Xinqiao Storage Technology Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as “ChangXin Xinqiao”).

Data reveals that since its establishment, Big Fund II has invested in nearly 40 companies, with a total investment exceeding ¥55 billion. Despite the semiconductor industry’s low point this year, Big Fund Phase II has remained active, particularly emphasizing “strengthening the supply chain.” This includes increasing investments in critical areas like semiconductor equipment and materials.

  1. Investing in ChangXin Xinqiao, Enhancing Storage Manufacturing

On October 26th, Big Fund II invested ¥14.5 billion to acquire a 33.14% stake in ChangXin Xinqiao.

According to industry sources, Changxin Xinqiao is one of the projects developed as part of the ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT), a collaboration between Hefei Municipal Government, CXMT, Overseas Chinese Town Holdings Company, and NAURA Technology Group Co. in 2019.

As per previous public announcements, the total investment in the CXMT Semiconductor Manufacturing Base exceeds 220 billion yuan. The project is situated in the Hefei Airport Economic Demonstration Zone and primarily focuses on the Changxin Memory project, involving the development of the entire upstream and downstream industrial chain.

Among these initiatives, the Changxin 12-inch storage memory wafer manufacturing base stands out with a total investment of 150 billion yuan, making it the largest single industrial project investment in Anhui Province.

Additionally, according to information on Changxin Memory’s official website, their core product is DDR4 memory chips, which belong to the fourth generation of double data rate synchronous dynamic random-access memory (SDRAM).

2. Increasing Investment in JCET Group’s Subsidiary: Automotive Electronics Focus

On October 27th, JCET Group’s subsidiary, JCET Group Automotive Electronics, received a total capital injection of 4.4 billion yuan from a combination of new and existing shareholders, further emphasizing its commitment to the development of in-vehicle technology. This infusion of capital will accelerate the construction of its first-phase project for manufacturing and testing automotive chips.

After this capital injection, the subsidiary’s registered capital increased from ¥400 million to ¥4.8 billion, remaining a subsidiary of JCET Group. JCET Group Management’s ownership will be diluted to 55%, while Big Fund Phase II will hold an 18% stake.

JCET Group stated that this capital injection is primarily intended for the construction and operation of the target company, aligning with the company’s strategic plans and business development requirements.It aims to better serve the continuously growing market and customer demands, especially in strengthening the company’s automotive electronics business.

Currently, the company’s financial health is robust, and it believes that this capital infusion will not significantly impact its liquidity.

3. Big Fund Phase II Focuses on “Strengthening and Supplementing the Supply Chain” and Plays a Significant Role in the Down Cycle

The semiconductor industry has experienced significant performance fluctuations due to the ongoing semiconductor down cycle. In response to these challenges, Big Fund Phase II has become more active.

The fund has appeared on the shareholder lists of multiple semiconductor companies striving for initial public offerings (IPOs), including Hua Hong Semiconductor Limited, RYCHIP Semiconductor Inc., Guanggang Gases & Energy Company Limited, and Sinophorus Electronic Materials Co..

Notably, Big Fund Phase II has shown continued interest in Hua Hong Semiconductor Limited.

Hua Hong Semiconductor 

On June 28, Hong Kong-listed Hua Hong Semiconductor (now known as Hua Hong Corporation) disclosed that it had signed a subscription agreement with the National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund Phase II . Big Fund Phase II would participate as a strategic investor in subscribing to the company’s shares for its Sci-Tech Innovation Board IPO. The total subscription amount would not exceed 30 billion yuan.

On January 18 of the same year, Hua Hong Semiconductor announced that the company, along with HHGrace, and Big Fund Phase II, had entered into a joint venture agreement. They planned to establish a joint venture company and invest a total of $4.02 billion in cash into the joint venture company, which would be engaged in the manufacturing and sale of 12-inch wafers. Big Fund Phase II’s investment amount in this venture was $1.166 billion.

Silan Microelectronics Co.

Silan Microelectronics Co. has also attracted significant attention from Big Fund Phase II. On August 28th, Silan Microelectronics announced its intention to jointly invest 1.2 billion RMB with affiliated company Big Fund Phase II and non-affiliated entity HaiChuang Development Fund to subscribe for newly increased registered capital of 1.19 billion RMB in the affiliated joint-stock company, Xiamen Silan Advanced Compound Semiconductor Co., Ltd.. Silan Microelectronics is set to acquire controlling interest in Xiamen Silan Advanced Compound Semiconductor, while Big Fund Phase II will hold a 14.11% stake.

Publicly available information indicates that Xiamen Silan Advanced Compound Semiconductor revolves around the manufacture of compound semiconductor chips. In July of the previous year, the company initiated the “SiC Power Device Production Line Construction Project.”

This project entails an investment plan of 1.5 billion RMB to construct a 6-inch SiC power device chip production line. Ultimately, it aims to achieve an annual production capacity of 144,000 pieces of 6-inch SiC power device chips, comprising 120,000 pieces/year of SiC-MOSFET chips and 24,000 pieces/year of SiC-SBD chips.

China Resources Microelectronics Limited

On August 15, it was announced that the company’s subsidiary, Runpeng Semiconductor, plans to increase capital and introduce external investors, including Big Fund Phase II. Following the completion of this transaction, Runpeng Semiconductor’s registered capital will increase from 2.4 billion RMB to 15 billion RMB.

The announcement indicates that the external investors that Runpeng Semiconductor intends to introduce include 12 institutions, including Big Fund Phase II. Big Fund Phase II is committed to subscribing to a registered capital of 3.75 billion RMB.

In addition, the upstream semiconductor materials sector has also attracted the attention of Big Fund Phase II. In late March of this year, Jingrui announced that its subsidiary, Hubei Jingrui, plans to introduce strategic investors through capital expansion. Big Fund Phase II, among others, is set to inject 160 million yuan in cash into Hubei Jingrui.


Overall, Big Fund Phase II’s investments span the entire integrated circuit industry chain. However, it’s worth noting that compared to Big Fund Phase I, Big Fund Phase II places more emphasis on strengthening and supplementing the supply chain.

It has increased investments in critical areas such as upstream semiconductor equipment, materials, and shows optimism towards emerging hot sectors like AI and automotive electronics.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)


[In-Depth Analyses] China Advances to 8-Inch SiC Substrates in 2023

Escalating demand in sectors like electric vehicles, 5G communications, photovoltaics, and memory storage is currently fueling the rapid growth of the silicon carbide (SiC) industry. Key players in China are intensifying their research and development efforts to overcome technological challenges and secure a substantial market share.

The arrival of 8-inch SiC substrates is crucial and marks a technological significant milestone that everyone desires, opening up new possibilities.

The Turning Point: 8-Inch SiC Substrates

As a third-generation semiconductor material, SiC boasts advantages like a wider bandgap, higher breakdown electric field, and exceptional thermal conductivity. Its stellar performance in high-temperature, high-pressure, and high-frequency applications positions it as a cornerstone in the realm of semiconductor materials.

Fueled by growing demand downstream, the SiC industry is in the midst of a high-speed expansion phase. TrendForce’s analysis forecasts the SiC power device market to reach US$2.28 billion in 2023, with an impressive annual growth rate of 41.4%. By 2026, this market is expected to expand further, reaching US$5.33 billion.

From an industry perspective, SiC devices’ cost structure encompasses substrates, epitaxy, tape out, and packaging processes, with substrates accounting for a substantial 45% of total production costs. To reduce per-device costs, the strategy revolves around enlarging SiC substrates and increasing the number of die per substrate. Notably, 8-inch SiC substrates offer distinct cost advantages over their 6-inch counterparts.

Data from Wolfspeed reveals that the transition from 6-inch to 8-inch substrates results in a modest increase in processing costs but yields an impressive 80-90% increase in the production of qualified chips. The greater thickness of 8-inch substrates helps maintain the shape during processing, reduces edge curvature, and minimizes defect density. Consequently, adopting 8-inch substrates can lead to a substantial 50% reduction in unit production costs.

According to TrendForce’s analysis, the SiC industry currently centers around 6-inch substrates, holding an impressive 80% market share, while 8-inch substrates account for only 1%. The transition to larger 8-inch wafers represents a crucial strategy to further reduce SiC device costs. As 8-inch wafers mature, their pricing is expected to be about 1.5 times that of 6-inch wafers, while producing approximately 1.8 times dies compare with 6-inch SiC wafers, greatly improving wafer utilization.

The industry is steadfastly progressing from 6-inch to 8-inch substrates, offering Chinese manufacturers a unique opportunity to surge ahead. TrendForce’s data suggests that the current market share of 8-inch products stands at less than 2%, with a projected growth to approximately 15% by 2026.

Seizing the Moment: Advancing 8-Inch SiC Substrates

Industry experts highlight the dual challenges of growing 8-inch SiC crystals: (1) the development of 8-inch seed crystals and (2) temperature field uniformity, gas-phase material distribution, transportation efficiency, and increased stress leading to crystal cracking.

As per industry insiders, 2023 is poised to become the “Year of 8-Inch SiC.” Throughout the year, global power semiconductor giants like Wolfspeed and STMicroelectronics have accelerated their efforts to develop 8-inch SiC. In China, significant breakthroughs have been achieved in SiC equipment, substrates, and epitaxy segments, with numerous industry leaders forming alliances with international power semiconductor giants.

TrendForce’s data from the Compound Semiconductor Market reveal that 10 enterprises and institutions in China are currently advancing the development of 8-inch silicon carbide (SiC) substrates. These include Semisic, JSG, SICC, Summit Crystal, Synlight, Institute of Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shandong University, TankeBlue, KY Semiconductor, and IV-Semitec.

Here are the list of Chinese companies in the 8-inch SiC substrate field this year:

KY Semiconductor:

  • April 2023: Successfully completed the 8-inch SiC pilot line.
  • June 2023: Achieved an average crystal growth yield of over 50% in the 8-inch SiC pilot line with crystal thickness exceeding 15mm.
  • September 2023: Successfully launched the 8-inch SiC substrate processing workshop.


  • May 2023: Grew 8-inch n-type silicon carbide ingots with a thickness of 27 millimeters.
  • September 2023: Signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Spectrum Semiconductor and Gietsic for the joint development of SiC-related products.
  • October 2023: Commenced the construction of the pilot line for SiC substrates, with an annual production capacity of 600,000 pieces of 6-8 inch SiC substrates.

Summit Crystal:

  • June 2023: Opened the Jinan’s Base with a planned production capacity of 500,000 pieces. It aims to reach full production by 2025, with an expected output value exceeding 5 billion RMB.
  • August 2023: Cooperated with Shangdong University, successfully manufactured 8-inch SiC wafers the threading screw dislocation (TSD) density was 0.55 cm-2, and the basal plane dislocation (BPD) density was 202 cm-2.

Hoshine Silicon:

  • May 2023: Successfully achieved the development and mass production of 8-inch silicon carbide substrates.
  • October 2023: 20,000 SiC substrates passed acceptance inspection, demonstrating the capability for mass production.


  • September 2021: Launched the single crystal silicon carbide growth project with plans to achieve an annual production capacity of 100,000 pieces upon reaching full production.
  • April 2023: Successfully developed 8-inch silicon carbide crystal samples and plans to start small-scale production by the end of the year.


  • January 2023: Successfully prepared 4H-SiC single crystals with a diameter of 209 mm using the physical vapor transport (PVT) method and produced standard 8-inch SiC single crystal substrates.
  • May 2023: Signed a supply agreement with Infineon and started supplying silicon carbide materials.
  • August 2023: Began construction of the second-phase expansion project, planning to increase capacity by 160,000 pieces.


  • June 2023: Successfully developed 8-inch single-wafer silicon carbide epitaxial growth equipment compatible with 6 and 8 inch silicon carbide epitaxial production.
  • October 2023: Achieved independent development and commissioning of 8-inch single-wafer silicon carbide epitaxial growth equipment with thickness uniformity within 1.5% and dopant uniformity within 4%.

SanAn Optoelectronics:

  • Established a joint venture with STMicroelectronics to build an 8-inch silicon carbide device manufacturing plant, which is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of 2025.
  • September 2023: Announced the 8-inch silicon carbide substrate with a production capacity of 12,000 pieces per month, and silicon-based gallium nitride capacity of 2,000 pieces per month.
  • October 2023: Started small-scale production and sampling of 8-inch silicon carbide substrates using low-cost technology with low defect density.


  • May 2023: Signed a new substrate and ingot supply agreement with Infineon, planning to transition to 8-inch silicon carbide wafers.
  • June 2023: Successfully prepared low-defect 8-inch silicon carbide crystals with a thickness exceeding 60mm.

[News] Chinese Chip Equipment Rises Amid U.S. Restrictions

Amid increased U.S. restrictions on China’s semiconductor industry, Chinese chip equipment manufacturers are witnessing a notable uptick in domestic orders. Over the first eight months of this year, Chinese chip equipment managed to capture nearly half of all orders. This serves as a compelling sign that the fears expressed by companies such as NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel about losing ground to domestic rivals in the Chinese market are materializing.

On October 17th, the Biden administration tightened chip export rules, barring American companies, including NVIDIA, from selling AI chips to China. At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) placed 13 Chinese GPU firms on its Entity List, further unsettling global semiconductor and AI supply chains. Ironically, these moves could expedite China’s domestic AI chip industry’s advancement amid the pressure.

Huatai Securities’ analysis reveals that Chinese chip foundries have been winning an increasing number of bids for machinery equipment this year. In the first eight months of this year, they secured 47.25% of these bids, with the percentage soaring to 62% in August. In comparison, during March and April, the rate was only 36.3%. This trend reflects a turning point for China’s chip equipment industry and showcases its rapid transition towards self-sufficiency.

As per Reuters, insiders disclosed that prior to the U.S. export bans, China’s advanced chip foundries rarely utilized domestic equipment, reserving it for expanding production. Yet, in reaction to the ongoing restrictions, they’ve proactively started testing homegrown equipment on all foreign devices and plan to fully replace foreign gear with domestic alternatives. This transition has greatly boosted local firms such as AMEC and NAURA.

Analysts observe that China’s local equipment makers have notably enhanced their production capacity, especially in wet etching and cleaning, positioning them for global competition with U.S. counterparts. What’s more, the quality of Chinese-made equipment has surpassed expectations, often advancing by up to two years. The substantial revenue growth in the sector attests to China’s remarkable progress in the semiconductor equipment industry.

Nonetheless, photolithography equipment remains a field where China’s domestic equipment struggles to break through due to its demanding requirements for optical and process precision. China has faced challenges in procuring extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines crucial for manufacturing cutting-edge chips. The situation is further complicated by the joint efforts of the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, and other allies to restrict the export of advanced deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography machines to China.
(Image: AMEC)

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