How to take the road of Chinese chips under the “crisis” of Kirin chips


When reaching a cooperation with TSMC and taking an important step for a powerful “Chinese chip”, Yu Chengdong never thought that Huawei would face today’s predicament.

Recently, Huawei has launched a new generation of flagship Mate40 series to the world, along with a new generation of flagship chip Kirin 9000.

It was previously reported that Huawei is expected to launch a Kirin chip based on a 5-nanometer process in 2020. At the same time, Huawei’s Hisilicon Kirin series chips and its server processors are rumored to be mass-produced from 2021 to 2022. However, due to international factors and other factors, this may be the last generation of Huawei’s self-developed flagship chip.

Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, also admitted that Huawei is now in a very difficult time. But he also said that no matter how difficult the situation is, Huawei is committed to continuing technological innovation. “We will do our best to find solutions and try to survive and move forward.”

On October 23, Huawei released its third quarterly report showing that in the first three quarters of 2020, the company achieved sales revenue of 671.3 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.9%, and a net profit margin of 8.0%. The operating results for the first three quarters of 2020 were basically in line with expectations.

In today’s complex environment, will the Kirin chip really become a swan song? Where is the way out for Huawei? How should China’s chip road go?

Kirin chips will be “out of print”?

Recently, Huawei launched the Mate40 series of mobile phones. Both Mate40Pro and Mate40Pro+ are equipped with Huawei’s first 5nm Kirin 9000 SoC chip, which integrates 15.3 billion transistors.

It is understood that the Kirin 9000 series chips are Huawei’s most powerful mobile phone chips to date, allowing Huawei Mate40 series mobile phones to calmly cope with the complex computing and multitasking loads in the 5G era. The Kirin 9000 chip integrates up to 15.3 billion transistors for the first time, making it the 5G mobile phone chip with the largest number of transistors and the most complete functions. However, as soon as the powerful chips carried by this series of mobile phones were launched, it caused heated discussions. It is reported that Huawei’s proud Kirin chip may become a swan song.

In this regard, Yu Chengdong also said: “The 5-nanometer Kirin 9000 chip on this mobile phone may become the ‘out of print’ of Huawei’s Kirin high-end chip.”

There are different attitudes from all walks of life as to whether the Kirin chip is Huawei’s swan song, but this incident undoubtedly puts forward new thinking for the construction of my country’s chip business.

Zhou Xibing, a Huawei research expert and author of “Huawei Internationalization”, told a reporter from Securities Daily: “Whether the Kirin chip is the last generation remains to be seen. As a major customer of Huawei’s foundry, it is still unknown whether TSMC will produce Kirin chips. , Huawei is expected to increase investment in the United Kingdom and Germany, or establish a joint venture chip foundry company, so as to further solve the problem of chip foundry, and at the same time support or jointly fund the establishment of chip companies, subvert existing raw materials, processes, etc., and steadily Solve the foundry of Kirin chips.”

And communication engineer Yuan Bo believes that the Kirin chip will not be Huawei’s swan song. He told the “Securities Daily” reporter: “First of all, we see that Huawei’s chips are not only Kirin chips. The core of almost all of Huawei’s communication equipment is basically HiSilicon’s self-developed chips. At the same time, there are still some variables in the future. For example, whether Shanghai Microelectronics’ 28nm self-developed lithography machine will be commercialized next year, and whether Huawei will turn to research on chip manufacturing, these are all factors that affect Huawei’s future chip strategy. But from another perspective, even if high-end chip manufacturing If it is blocked, HiSilicon will still retain the ability to develop chips, and once China’s own lithography machine has a breakthrough, the Kirin chip will definitely reproduce.”

“It is difficult for Huawei to resume chip foundry, but it is not without opportunities and possibilities. At the same time, China’s domestic chip manufacturing capacity continues to improve, and this speed will be faster than expected. I believe that Kirin chips are not out of print chips.” Feixiang Xiang Ligang, founder of the website, told a reporter from Securities Daily.

At present, my country has obvious shortcomings in chip design tools and manufacturing, but my country has certain advantages in some areas of the chip industry chain, such as rare earth processing and etching machines. Chip manufacturing is the result of the cooperation of the global supply chain. If China is to reach the world’s advanced level from design to manufacturing end-to-end, this is quite difficult, but China has been working hard.

“The ‘crisis’ of the Kirin chip has caused a lot of difficulties for Chinese local enterprises in the short term, but in the medium and long term, it has also indirectly promoted the self-sufficiency of Chinese local enterprises to solve the one-stop production of chip design, R&D, and foundry. , thereby reshaping the global chip industry chain pattern. At the same time, this incident also shows that mastering the design, R&D, foundry and other industrial chains of core chip technology is essential, otherwise, once the neck is strangled, the company will fall into a passive situation.” Zhou Xibing think.

How does China’s chip road go?

Regardless of the fate of the Kirin chip, this incident undoubtedly sounded the alarm for us.

If you do not master the core technology of chips, development will be controlled by others.

Wang Peng, assistant professor of Renmin University of China, told the “Securities Daily” reporter: “The Kirin chip incident has brought great lessons to the construction of China’s chip industry chain. At present, my country’s chip industry has many basic personnel, many application markets, and upstream supply chains. Strong, downstream assembly giants are also relatively abundant, but the key technologies are still stuck, and the lack of mastery of core technologies is the key problem my country is currently facing. Huawei is a company with strong innovation capabilities. But Chinese companies still need to focus on key A lot of time and energy are invested in research and development in the technical field to change the status quo. The government must exert its supervision and control capabilities. Many enterprises and local governments pay more attention to economic accounts, resulting in the emergence of ‘unfinished projects’, resulting in a lot of waste of resources. We must plan ahead, when external situations occur Changes, if not prepared in advance, will definitely be unfavorable. The Huawei incident has sounded the alarm for us, and we must calculate the security account, the strategic account, not just the economic account.”

At present, in the development of chips, my country has proposed a ten-year support plan, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has also made it a strategic goal, which is a great encouragement to my country’s chip industry.

“From the perspective of the global supply chain, it is very difficult for a country to fully grasp all technologies from chip design to manufacturing. However, all companies in the chip industry chain in my country should be alert, their lips are dead and their teeth are cold, and there is no egg under the nest, no matter whether it is Huawei. Still Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo, all large technology companies need to support the research and development of my country’s own key technologies, and improve my country’s chip manufacturing capabilities through research and development and the market. Driven by major policies, the ‘Hanxin Incident’ may still happen.” Yuan Bo believes.

Zhou Xibing suggested: “The Chinese government should formulate a scientific and reasonable national chip development strategy, correctly guide the rational and orderly development of the chip industry, and put an end to swarms of speculation, which will not only undermine the confidence of local Chinese companies to manufacture chips, but also waste a lot of money. Timing and huge investment in the local manufacturing of chips. At the same time, regulate the investment promotion behavior of local governments, eliminate loopholes in a targeted manner, and further crack down on speculators in the chip industry. In addition, policy subsidies, financing, Technology patent applications, open green channels for talents to settle down, children to go to school, etc., and provide convenience and support in terms of policies. Enterprises should maintain independence and supply chain availability as much as possible in the industrial chain of chip design, research and development, foundry, raw materials, etc. Control. In terms of market demand, enterprises should cooperate with Huawei and other enterprises as much as possible to achieve cross-border integration, which not only solves the problem of technology, but also solves the market. Based on the industrialization, scale, ecology and internationalization of the chip industry , to reshape the global industrial chain structure, enterprises should increase China’s voice in the chip field, gradually move towards the research and development and production of high-end chip industry, and gradually narrow the technological gap with overseas.”

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