Expert: This “lack of cores” is an opportunity for my country’s independent chips

Affected by multiple factors such as the epidemic and the economic and trade environment, since 2020, the global chip industry has gradually experienced a shortage of production capacity. Entering 2021, the epidemic has repeatedly accompanied the recovery of consumption, leading to the outbreak of a global chip shortage crisis. Automotive chips that meet the requirements of vehicle-level requirements are far less profitable and business scale than consumer electronics products, so they are ranked relatively by upstream and downstream chip companies in terms of production scheduling. The rear position has led to a shortage of automotive-grade chips, triggering a crisis of “lack of cores” in the automotive industry.

The shortage of automotive chips has had a bad impact on global automotive production capacity. Since the beginning of 2021, Volkswagen, Toyota, GM and other well-known international auto companies have reduced production on a large scale due to chip shortages. Among them, Toyota plans to temporarily suspend production of all 14 factories in Japan in October 2021, and reduce the production of 330,000 vehicles worldwide during the same period. , accounting for about 40% of the original planned output. According to Boston Consulting Group, the shortage of chips will lead to a reduction of more than 7 million vehicles in 2021, and IHS Markit also recently lowered its forecast for global light vehicle production in 2021 by 6.2%, that is, a reduction of more than 5 million vehicles.

The “core shortage” crisis has a particularly profound impact on my country’s auto industry. my country has entered the stage of normalized epidemic prevention and control, and the social production and life order has been fully restored. However, under the influence of unfavorable factors such as chip shortages, as of August 2021, my country’s automobile production has experienced a month-on-month decline for 5 consecutive months, and 4 consecutive months. There was a year-on-year decline in the month, and some models were discontinued, which seriously restricted the further upward breakthrough and market promotion of the advantageous products of independent enterprises.

The outbreak of the “core shortage” crisis is mainly due to three reasons:

First, the strong recovery of the global auto industry has brought increased demand for chips. As the world’s largest automobile production and sales country, China accounts for about 1/3 of the world’s annual production and sales. The first recovery of my country’s automobile industry has played a leading role in the overall recovery of the global automobile industry and market. Before the “core shortage” crisis broke out, the recovery of the auto industry in my country, Europe and other countries and regions was better than expected, and related auto companies chose to increase production in the face of a rapidly recovering market, which led to a sudden increase in chip demand. At the same time, the upstream and downstream enterprises of supporting chips are generally insufficiently prepared, resulting in the inability to supply chips in time.

Second, the frequent occurrence of “black swan” events has led to a shortage of global chip supply. Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, is an important region for global chip packaging and testing. More than 50 major global chip companies, including Infineon and NXP, have factories in Malaysia. Entering 2021, the epidemic situation in Malaysia continues to deteriorate, and multiple local chip factories have experienced mass infections, forcing the country’s government to take stringent blockade measures. The large-scale shutdown of chip factories has had a serious impact on the global chip supply. In March 2021, a fire broke out at Renesas Electronics’ Naka chip factory in Japan, causing damage to the factory’s unique 300mm semiconductor wafer production line mainly used to produce automotive MCUs, further compressing the world’s limited automotive-grade chip production capacity . In addition, the occurrence of events such as the cold wave in Texas in the United States and the strike at the STMicroelectronics factory in France further exacerbated the global shortage of chips, especially automotive-grade chips.

The third is that the domestic chip technology and craftsmanship are insufficient to be effectively replaced. The global market share of my country’s independent automotive chips is less than 5%, and it is concentrated in low-end and low-value-added fields. It is difficult to support the global supply of automotive-grade chips in key technical levels and processes, and it is difficult to effectively resolve the global “lack of cores”. crisis. Specifically, my country’s current most advanced semiconductor production lines only have a 14-nanometer process, and they do not meet the automotive-grade requirements. All automotive-grade chips with a process below 40 nm need to be taped abroad, and chip IP is highly dependent on foreign countries. In addition, my country’s automotive-grade chips lack independent and unified quality standards and testing and evaluation systems in the fields of manufacturing, packaging, testing, and reliability, functional safety, and information security, and the industry lacks an authoritative third-party certification platform. The late start of the training of professionals in the field has caused domestic auto companies, especially autonomous auto companies, to choose foreign manufacturers with higher technical maturity and evidence-based reliability for supporting, and autonomous automotive chip companies have further lost their development momentum.

my country should turn this “chip shortage” crisis into an opportunity for the development of its own chips. Through international negotiations and other means, it supports and encourages the resumption of production in key international chip supply regions, and at the same time accelerates the transformation and development of the domestic chip industry.

First of all, it is necessary to vigorously improve the key technology and process level of domestic chips. Break through the development bottleneck of advanced process technology, wafer manufacturing technology and photoresist auxiliary materials, give priority to promoting domestic leading chip foundries to strengthen the research and development of advanced technology, form the manufacturing process capability of automotive-grade chips below 40 nanometers, and optimize and improve existing chips and semiconductors The foreign investment support policy attracts companies with technological advantages in the chip field to establish joint ventures in my country, deepen technical exchanges, and promote my country’s further integration into the international chip industry chain.

Secondly, it is necessary to promote the establishment of a unified standard system and a third-party certification platform. Relying on special scientific and technological research and other forms, establish an independent and unified vehicle-level chip testing and evaluation technology system and standard system. Build a national-level third-party certification laboratory in the field of automotive chips to provide a complete reliability testing platform for chip testing and evaluation. Relying on industry organizations and research institutions to carry out research on the connection of domestic and foreign automotive-grade chip standard systems, and achieve international mutual recognition of relevant standards and test evaluation results.

At the same time, it is necessary to promote independent vehicle companies to give priority to the use of independent chips. Establish and improve relevant policies, encourage independent enterprises to use their own chips in a prudent and inclusive attitude, give corresponding financial subsidies and tax incentives to enterprises that meet relevant conditions, formulate insurance policies that match the application of independent chips, and solve the problems of domestic chip production by independent auto companies. Application worries. Evaluate and summarize the implementation effects of previous industry regulation policies, and research and explore the “whitelist” system for autonomous vehicle-level chips.

In addition, it is necessary to continuously improve the training level of professionals in the chip field. Encourage qualified and basic universities and scientific research institutes to set up integrated circuit majors, and at the same time, cooperate with automobile companies and chip companies to jointly set up the professional direction of automotive-grade chips, build school-enterprise joint training capabilities, and jointly create a “chip + car” composite Talents; set up the “Young Scientist” project and the “Youth Science Fund” project in the technical research in the field of integrated circuits to cultivate young reserve forces for technical research.

Author: Yoyokuo