On March 15, SEMICON China was opened in Shanghai as an annual semiconductor industry show. In China Memory Industry Development Forum, which was held during the show, Mr. Michael Chen, CBO(Chief Business Officer )of XMC, addressed a speech themed at “Memory – The Turning Point of China's IC industry”, discussing China’s IC industry and pointing out that memory would be a huge market opportunity.
With the rapid development of China’s IC industry, it is urgent to establish the ecosystem
Firstly, Mr. Michael Chen summarized China's IC industry had a fast growth in last decade, and pointed out China has constructed a good environment for development of IC industry. It is shown according to the statistics by China Semiconductor Industry Association in 2014 that the revenue of IC industry reached USD 49 billion in China, and the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) had been up to 18% since 2005. “This is a very amazing figure; compared with China’s data, the global CAGR is only 3% -6.5% over the same period.”
Among specific segments in China, packaging and testing segment has shown the best development trend, and it is further upgrading to more advanced and high-end packaging and testing sector; the fastest growing one is fabless segment. However, the market share of Chinese fabless segment is still small. In addition, Mr. Chen said that the vast majority (82%) of successful IC companies were Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs), but Chinese IDMs’ market share only accounted for less than 1% among global peers.
In order to achieve great progress, it is required to establish the IC ecosystem and build synergetic development among various segments. Mr. Chen did the analysis on top 20 companies in Silicon Valley, he pointed out that these companies formed a complete ecosystem, and such the companies are inextricably linked to each other. “System & computer companies develop products, network and software vendors provide services for cloud and products, internet companies provide service, IC fabless houses design chips, tools and equipment vendors provide high-precision instruments, and so on.”
Chinese Memory will embrace great development opportunities, and NAND transformation creates opportunities.
Mr. Chen also explained why memory will be a market opportunity for IC industry. “There are several major growth engines in IC market, such as mobile applications, cloud computing, and Internet of things (IOT). It is expected that IOT will create a huge market amount - to USD 328 billion for technology and services providers by 2020. There is USD 50 billion will be related to semiconductor market. Mobile applications and IOT are inseparable with cloud storage.”Mr.Chen introduced.
Memory is regarded as one of the three pillar industries in semiconductor market. IC Insights data shows that the total amount of memory semiconductor market reached USD 83.5 billion in 2015. Mr. Chen believes that among all kinds of memories, NAND Flash has its unique position and great potential. NAND Flash has been widely used in PCs, mobile applications, servers and other electronic products. In 2015, the revenue of NAND Flash has reached USD 26.7 billion. “In the past, 2D NAND was used in all products, as a two-dimensional flash memory. However, 2D NAND is approaching to physical limits, it is difficult to further improve its storage capacity per unit area and reduction of reliability. The transition from 2D NAND to 3D NAND becomes a trend in the industry. The annual growth rate of 3D NAND Flash is 100% for next a couple of years, which will bring huge market opportunity. ”
XMC to seize market opportunities of 3D NAND and to aim at IOT application
In response to the market opportunity, XMC develops its development strategy: to compete with the world's top companies by relying on independent research and development, absorbing global talents, and keeping up with the most advanced technology. Therefore, the company takes 3D NAND technology as the direction of development in the future. “Japanese companies seized opportunities for development of DRAM, South Korea’s utilized DRAM and NAND development opportunities. Therefore, these companies became the leaders for semiconductor industry. Today as the rise of 3D NAND technology, China deems semiconductor as a development priority in 'Thirteen Five-year' plan, we are facing the historic opportunity, and need to seize this opportunity. ” Mr. Chen said.
XMC has accumulated ten years of experience and gathered a number of talents in manufacturing of flash memories, gaining the foundation for development of 3D NAND technology. XMC is working with partners on 3D-NAND research and development actively. In May 2015 they made significant progress that the first 3D NAND test chip was electrically verified in memory function. Mr. Chen introduced that XMC had developed a complete technical strategy covering 3D NAND, and it would mainly develop memory technology, 3D integration technology and LG / SOC, aiming at IOT market in the future.
Finally, Mr. Michael Chen expressed the intent of XMC to build the industrial chain with other vendors together. “XMC could not build the industrial chain successfully if only depending on its own power. We will mainly focus on design and manufacture of 3D NAND Flash in future, and would like to cooperate with worldwide manufacturers in IC packaging and testing, SSD, SSD controller and other areas, thus to jointly build a complete memory ecosystem in China.”