Industry representatives call for doubling down on chip tech breakthroughs
Published: Mar 06, 2023 11:49 PM
Production of semiconductor chip File photo: VCG

Production of semiconductor chip File photo: VCG

Semiconductors, among many cutting-edge technologies, have been a hot topic during China's ongoing two sessions, where industry representatives and national political advisors have called for doubling down on key tech breakthroughs so as to improve the nation's self-sufficiency and tackle outside blockades.

Among a number of national political advisors from the technology sector, Feng Xingya, general manager of automaker GAC Group, proposed that more efforts should be put into improving the application rate of domestic chips, according to a statement released on the company's official WeChat account.

Feng called for speeding up of China's industrial transformation at the policy level and promoting the research and development (R&D) and application of high-end chips, which have faced blockades from the outside. 

More efforts should also be made to accelerate the improvement of support measures for the production of automotive chips, enhance the application guarantee mechanism, and create testing standards for subdivided fields, Feng noted.

Liu Zhongfan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, submitted a proposal on the construction of integrated circuit (IC) colleges. The technical level of China's IC sector is at a disadvantageous position in international competition, and it is a big challenge to catch up with and surpass the frontrunners in the short term, Liu said.

The industrial structure still needs to be improved and there is a big gap between China and advanced players in terms of high-end talent and industry experience, Liu added.

China started the construction of an IC talent training base in 2003. As of May 2022, it had established 29 national IC talent training bases, national demonstration microelectronics colleges and universities with integrated IC production-education innovation platforms, according to media reports.

The construction of IC colleges should be based on a long-term, forward-looking structure, focusing on the cultivation of innovative and interdisciplinary talent, and avoiding low-level and repetitive construction, Liu stressed.

The IC sector is the core of modern industry, related to national security and the process of Chinese modernization, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said recently, during a tour to investigate the development of IC enterprises in Beijing.

Chinese chip producers have seen substantial growth in the past two years, and the effect of quantitative to qualitative change is emerging, Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst and a close follower of China's chip industry, told the Global Times on Monday.

The chip sector has a long value chain and there are many kinds of chips. Chinese chipmakers have made great breakthroughs in some areas, Ma said, noting that the country's chip self-sufficiency drive has made huge leaps over recent years.

Chinese governments and companies have ramped up efforts to develop the IC sector. According to the China National Intellectual Property Administration, 9,106 certificates for IC layout designs were issued in 2022, and as of the end of 2022, 61,000 IC layout design certificates had been issued in China.