Gao Qiquan: The development of high-end semiconductors in mainland China may be blocked, and it will take 10 to 15 years to do a good job in the low-end chip chain

The U.S.-China trade war continues to escalate. In addition to prohibiting the sale of any chips containing U.S. technology to Huawei and its related companies, the U.S. has recently required equipment and material suppliers to obtain U.S. licenses for shipments to SMIC. Gao Qiquan, who has just retired from Tsinghua Unigroup’s global executive vice president, said that China will do a good job in the low-end chip supply chain in the future, but it will take at least 10 to 15 years.

Gao Qiquan said that under the impact of the powerful policy measures of the United States, the development of mainland China in the field of high-end semiconductors may be blocked; however, in the field of consumer low-end semiconductors, China is helpful to the world, not a threat, and China may continue to develop.

Gao Qiquan, known by the market as the godfather of Taiwan’s DRAM, said on the 6th that he retired from Tsinghua Unigroup because the 5-year contract expired. After retirement, he will leave more time for himself, including spending more time with his grandson to enjoy family fun.

The semiconductor industry has become a battleground under the geopolitics of various countries. At this stage, the United States is fully blocking the development of China’s semiconductor industry. The U.S. has now banned any chips containing U.S. technology components from being sold to Huawei and its related companies. To be shipped, it needs to obtain a license from the U.S. competent authorities, including Intel and AMD, but Qualcomm, Xilinx, Micron, MediaTek , TSMC, etc. have been unable to ship after September 14, and are now applying for a license in the United States. The United States has also proposed new trade restrictions on SMIC. Now, if it includes semiconductor-related equipment, components, and materials, if it is to be sold to SMIC, it is necessary to obtain the consent and permission of the U.S. competent authority.

Regarding the continued escalation of the US-China trade war and the expansion of the US to prevent blocking of China’s semiconductor industry, Gao Qiquan pointed out that 15% of the equipment and materials of Yangtze Memory, the memory factory of Tsinghua Unigroup, are currently made by Chinese manufacturers. He expects that China will develop into a low-end semiconductor supply chain within 10 to 15 years, which is an opportunity for Taiwanese manufacturers.

Gao Qiquan believes that the United States will block the development of China’s high-end semiconductors. It seems that China has no chance to obtain advanced process technology like extreme ultraviolet (EUV). limit. Relatively speaking, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry chain is very mature, and there are opportunities to find development opportunities in cross-strait cooperation.

In recent years, mainland China has invested heavily in order to support the semiconductor industry. Gao Qiquan said that many investments in mainland China are indeed too excessive, so he worked in Beijing for the first year and a half of Tsinghua Unigroup, and then assisted Yangtze River Storage in Wuhan for the next three and a half years. Zhao Weiguo, chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup, explained that YMTC must have its own patents and technologies before it can start to expand its production capacity, otherwise there will be huge losses. After YMTC released Xtacking’s 3D NAND technology in August 2018, YMTC launched the second phase of capacity expansion.

China has seen a succession of failed investments recently, such as the Wuhan Hongxin investment case that appears to be stillborn. Gao Qiquan said that many semiconductor investments in mainland China are too hasty, and it is the right direction to determine technology and patents first, and then expand production capacity. Now the mainland is facing how to turn bad investments into concentrated investments, but this faces a lot of challenges. challenge.


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