The overseas analog leader expands production, and local power chip companies such as Xinlong Technology usher in the big test!

After entering the 21st century, my country has promulgated a series of integrated circuit support policies. Power management chips are key products supported and encouraged by the state. Many local manufacturers have emerged to take advantage of the trend and show their talents in various subdivisions. In recent years, due to the continued tense geopolitical situation and repeated epidemics, while intensifying the global “core shortage” trend, it has further accelerated the development of my country’s power chip industry, and more and more companies have devoted themselves to this.

At present, a large number of leading companies have emerged in my country in the field of power chip segmentation, such as Jingfeng Mingyuan, Shengbang Co., Ltd., Siripu, Xinpengwei, Syweiwei, and Injixin. Among them, there is Shanghai Xinlong semiconductor Technology Co., Ltd. (referred to as “Silicon Technology”), which has been working quietly and down-to-earth in recent years, and has achieved a series of technological breakthroughs.

But recently, analog chip giant Texas Instruments announced a very ambitious chip expansion plan. In the eyes of many analysts, this will undoubtedly bring huge challenges to these domestic power chip manufacturers.

Market controlled by “TIs”

Power management analog integrated circuits are generally referred to as “power chips”, which are mainly responsible for the power conversion, distribution, detection and other management and control functions required by Electronic equipment. They are widely used in various electronic products and equipment. It has a direct impact on reliability and is the largest market segment for analog chips.

According to main parameters or technical indicators such as input power properties, working principles, withstand voltage, output power, output power properties, power conversion methods, switching frequency, etc., power chips can be divided into the following categories (not including drive control, protection, load Auxiliary power chips that do not independently complete the main functions of power management, such as switch drivers, etc.):

The overseas analog leader expands production, and local power chip companies such as Xinlong Technology usher in the big test!

Among them, AC-DC power supply chips are generally used in electronic products or equipment that directly use AC mains power supply, such as power adapters, switching power supply modules, chargers, LED lighting drivers, etc.; linear step-down power supply chips (LDO) can only The realization of step-down conversion is mostly used in fields where the input and output pressure difference and output power are small; the DC-DC power chip has various functions, which can realize conversions such as step-down, step-up, step-down and negative pressure, and can output constant voltage, Constant current, constant voltage + constant current and other modes are widely used in various electronic products or equipment.

In recent years, emerging industries such as the Industrial Internet of Things, 5G communications, new energy vehicles, artificial intelligence, and smart manufacturing have developed rapidly, driving the growing demand for power chips. According to the analysis of Transparency Market Research, an international market research organization, the global power management chip market will reach 56.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2026, and the compound annual growth rate during 2018-2026 is expected to be 10.69%.

Judging from the current global power chip competition pattern, this market is mainly occupied by foreign analog chip giants such as Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, and Infineon. Although there is no monopoly, the market concentration is relatively high. IC insights data shows that in 2019, the world’s top ten analog integrated circuit design companies have a combined market share of 67%. Among them, Texas Instruments ranked first with 10.2 billion US dollars in analog chip sales and 19% market share. The power chip market also has a similar status quo.

The overseas analog leader expands production, and local power chip companies such as Xinlong Technology usher in the big test!

Image source: IC insights

In fact, since 2017, the world’s top ten analog vendors have hardly undergone major changes. TI and ADI have been in the top two for three consecutive years, and none of the other vendors have been out. So in terms of power chips, what advantages do they have that can sit firmly in the top ten thrones? According to the author’s knowledge, this mainly includes the following aspects:

high voltage

Withstand voltage is the core indicator of the production process of DC-DC power chips, and it is also a commonly used classification standard in the industry. When the power is fixed, increasing the working voltage of the power chip can reduce the loss, and high withstand voltage products are compatible with all application fields of low withstand voltage products, and can also be applied to areas with higher working voltage. Therefore, the withstand voltage of the power chip is higher. High, the wider the application field, such as new energy vehicles, communication base stations and other battery voltages up to 48V, but a power chip with a withstand voltage of 100V is required to supply power.

But high voltage means that manufacturers not only need to design low-loss power tube drive circuits, but also strengthen chip reliability, improve heat dissipation and thermal stability, and more importantly, develop specific wafer manufacturing processes. Therefore, the higher the withstand voltage, the more difficult the design of the power chip.

In the field of DC-DC power supply chips, the maximum working voltage of foreign manufacturers such as Texas Instruments, Core Source, and Silicon Power has reached 100V, while the maximum working voltage of domestic manufacturers’ products is generally below 40V, some products can reach 60V, and some The maximum working voltage or withstand voltage of a few domestic companies such as Xinlong Technology can reach 100V.

High Current

As we all know, the greater the output current of a power chip, the greater its output power. High-current products are compatible with all application fields of low-current products, and can be applied to fields that require higher output current from power supply chips. Therefore, the larger the output current of the power supply chip, the wider the application fields. For example, the working current of laser lighting equipment is general. Above 10A, high-current output products are required to supply power.

However, it should be noted that the loss of the power chip is proportional to the square of the output current when the internal resistance remains unchanged. Affect the performance and reliability of the chip. At the same time, the conventional packaging process is difficult to meet the comprehensive requirements of low thermal resistance, high reliability, and high cost performance for power chips. Under various factors, the greater the output current, the more difficult the design of the DC-DC power chip.

At present, the maximum output current of Texas Instruments products is 10A, but the maximum output current of domestic manufacturers’ products is mostly only 6A, while the maximum output current of Xinlong technology products can reach 12A.

High Power

Power density refers to the maximum power that a chip per unit volume can output. The higher the power density, the stronger the drive capability of the chip. It can be used in fields that require higher output capabilities of the power chip. For example, car audio, car radio and other equipment generally require 75W The above power chip supplies power for it.

However, the greater the power density, the greater the loss and temperature rise inside the chip, the need to improve the conversion efficiency and heat dissipation capacity of the chip to ensure that the product can work normally, and the design is more difficult. At the same time, chip design companies are required to integrate and innovate in chip circuit design, packaging, and system design, that is, they need to be familiar with wafer manufacturing and packaging and testing processes on the basis of proficiency in circuit design.

At present, in this regard, the maximum output power of foreign manufacturers’ products is about 50W; the maximum output power of domestic manufacturers’ products is mostly only about 30W, while the core technology products have reached the international leading level of a single chip’s maximum output power of 100W.

IDM mode

IDM is a production model that integrates design, manufacturing, and packaging. At present, nearly 60% of analog faucets choose IDM for production. The reason is that IDM’s production model can help manufacturers quickly adjust production capacity, continuously reduce production costs, and improve their own processes. At the same time, through the strengthening of direct sales, it can avoid transferring part of the profits to the foundry, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

We all know that analog chips focus on the effective combination of design and manufacturing, emphasizing the safe and precise realization of a single function. Therefore, compared to the continuous pursuit of advanced manufacturing processes for digital chips, analog chips pursue product stability. With the long-term development of the analog chip industry, competition between manufacturers will also tend to cost control and material number expansion. In the IDM mode, manufacturers can not only continuously optimize costs through reasonable adjustments to self-built capacity to provide more competitive prices; they can also polish their own processes through their own production lines to provide higher-end product design and process levels. . These are conducive to the long-term development of analog chip manufacturers.

However, the IDM model requires huge capital investment. The construction of a fab alone requires billions or even tens of billions, which is too heavy for domestic manufacturers that are still in their infancy. Therefore, most domestic manufacturers currently adopt design + foundry The fabless mode. Although this mode allows manufacturers to focus on the design process, it obviously has certain limitations in terms of the product characteristics and business logic of analog chips.

But even so, domestic power management chip manufacturers are still moving forward.

“Overcoming obstacles” of domestic manufacturers

At present, my country’s power supply chip market is expanding steadily. According to data from the Prospective Industry Research Institute, the analog chip business market size in 2020 is about 145.107 billion yuan. Power chips are an important segment of analog chips. According to preliminary statistics, the business scale in 2020 will be 76.3 billion yuan. It accounts for more than 50% of the analog chip market.

The overseas analog leader expands production, and local power chip companies such as Xinlong Technology usher in the big test!

Image source: Qianzhan Industry Research Institute

Although the domestic market has long been dominated by international manufacturers, local manufacturers such as Jingfeng Mingyuan, Shengbang Co., Ltd., Siripu, Xipengwei, Syweiwei, and Injixin have joined the battle to compete for share; there are also Companies such as Xinlong Technology that focus on medium and high voltage, medium and high power DC-DC power supply chips and other subdivisions have sprung up.

Looking back at the decades-old development of the domestic power chip industry, it can be said that it has been ups and downs, and finally see a rainbow.

Before 2000, the domestic power management chip industry was in the budding stage of development. At this stage, most of the enterprises were mainly Sino-foreign joint ventures to deploy power management chip business. With the release of “Several Policies to Encourage the Development of the Software Industry and the Integrated Circuit Industry” in 2000, integrated circuits were identified as one of China’s strategic industries. Advantageous companies represented by Electronics, Jingfeng Mingyuan, and Xinpengwei have been established one after another, and domestic power management chips have entered the initial stage of development.

Since then, with the “Several Policies to Further Encourage the Development of the Software Industry and the Integrated Circuit Industry”, “Several Policies to Promote the High-Quality Development of the Integrated Circuit Industry and the Software Industry in the New Era” (Guo Fa (2020) No. 8) and other national policies have continued Under the influence of various factors such as the gradual optimization of the development environment, the increase of corporate R&D investment, and the intensification of Sino-US trade frictions, localization and import substitution have promoted the rapid expansion of the industry, and the market position, market recognition and competitiveness of domestic power chip companies constantly improving. In 2017, my country ushered in the climax of the listing of power chip manufacturers. Shengbang shares and Fuman Electronics were all listed in 2017. In addition, representative companies such as Chipengwei will also be listed successively in 2020 and 2021.

The overseas analog leader expands production, and local power chip companies such as Xinlong Technology usher in the big test!

Image source: Qianzhan Industry Research Institute

However, this development process is obviously also difficult. Local manufacturers are struggling to start under pressure from high design technology thresholds, shortage of talents, and not being recognized by end customers.

High design technology threshold

The difficulty of power chip design is that R&D must be combined with circuit design and wafer and packaging process development at the same time. If necessary, repeated trials and trial and error iterations are required to ensure that the performance parameters of the product meet the technical requirements. Therefore, the product design and development cycle is long, The technical threshold is relatively high, and the typical characteristics are “deep accumulation, slow development, heavy technology, and long cycle.” Foreign giants such as Texas Instruments started early in this field and have a strong first-mover advantage, forming a higher market and technical barriers.

Talent shortage

Power chips are different from digital chips in that it requires years of accumulation of technology. Product development also relies more on the technology and experience of engineers, rather than on the use of advanced EDA software tools and the superposition of IP. These characteristics determine the star The engineer’s “individual combat capability” is crucial to the research and development of power chip products.

However, excellent analog engineers need to be trained for many years, because the threshold of analog circuits is quite high, and the research and development cycle is at least 3-5 years. More importantly, the domestic power supply chip market has long been monopolized by international multinational giants. European, American and Japanese manufacturers accounted for more than 80% of the market share. Under the huge share, the loss of domestic chip research and development talents has also become more serious. In other words, the competition for talents makes the domestic power chip industry, especially the high-voltage, high-current, high-power DC-DC power chip research and development technical talents scarce, so the talent problem has become the biggest bottleneck for local manufacturers.

In the face of such a problem, local manufacturers also “make their own unique tricks.” Among them, Jingfeng Mingyuan mainly adopts foreign equity investment and the introduction and training of outstanding talents. The companies it has acquired or invested in include Shanghai Laishi, Shanghai Xinfei, Analog Semiconductor, Yaohuo Microelectronics, Lingou Chuangxin, etc., covering LED driver/AC-DC/signal chain/MCU/DC-DC and other fields. In addition, in 2020, Jingfeng Mingyuan also implemented two equity incentive plans, basically achieving full coverage.

End customers lack confidence in local manufacturers

Because industries, medical electronics, automotive electronics, test and measurement instrumentation and other industries have high requirements for chip performance and quality, these customers often directly purchase products from major international manufacturers, even if they choose domestic high-performance power chips, they will be very cautious. The lack of “trial and error” opportunities in the high-end application market has led most domestic companies to participate in price competition for low- and medium-end products such as general lighting equipment and consumer electronics.

In this context, it is crucial to strengthen the collaboration and cooperation between major industrial, automotive and other industry system manufacturers and domestic chip and upstream supply chain manufacturers. Shengbang has established an efficient linkage mechanism with well-known domestic and foreign terminal equipment manufacturers, electronic component distributors, wafer manufacturers, and packaging and testing manufacturers. At present, its power IC products have been widely used in consumer electronics, communication equipment, Industrial control, medical equipment, automotive electronics and other fields, as well as emerging electronic product fields such as the Internet of Things, new energy, smart wear, artificial intelligence, smart home, smart manufacturing, and 5G communications. In addition to Shengbang shares, Xinlong Technology is also actively deploying in the terminal field. Data shows that currently more than 75% of the products of Xinlong technology have been applied to industrial-grade fields such as automotive electronics, industrial control, and communication equipment.

Big test under the leading expansion

Although my country’s power chip industry has entered a stage of rapid expansion, but the expansion of the leading Texas Instruments has also forced local manufacturers to meet new challenges again.

From the above we can know that most of the power chip giants are in IDM mode, and having their own fabs is the key to their ability to lead the market, which can achieve tight coupling in design and process. The local manufacturers mostly use the Fabless model, which makes them not only need their own competitive development capabilities, but also need to fully communicate with the foundry business in order to achieve the design and process coupling.

Industry insiders told the author that, in this situation, local manufacturers can only remain invincible in the increasingly competitive power chip market only by concentrating on research and mastering their core technological advantages.

In his view, for a long time, my country’s integrated circuit industry has been mainly monopolized by foreign manufacturers, and power chips are no exception. However, due to the early start of foreign giants, after decades of development, they have formed a relatively broad product coverage, product lines also cover many areas, so they often do not particularly focus on a particular segment. And this just gives local manufacturers the opportunity to overtake in corners. Although we may still be in the preliminary stage of development at the moment, we still have a certain cost-effective advantage and are more user-friendly.

In the past, manufacturers such as Texas Instruments focused their production capacity on higher gross profit and more competitive markets, but now they have sufficient production capacity after expansion and will compete with domestic analog chip companies in multiple product lines. Relying on excellent technology and product quality, if they use the scale effect to conduct a “price war” with domestic manufacturers, whether the current pattern laid by domestic power chip manufacturers can be maintained is also potentially very uncertain.

However, in the eyes of those in the above-mentioned industries, there is still a lot of room for domestic substitution in the power chip industry in the future.

He pointed out that although 80% of the power chip industry is monopolized by foreign manufacturers, in recent years the state has issued a series of encouragement and support policies, which has established an excellent policy environment for the chip industry and promoted the subdivision of chips and power management chips as the representative. The development of the field, so the development prospects are very good. At present, many domestic manufacturers such as Xinlong Technology, Jingfeng Mingyuan, Shengbang Co., Ltd., Si Ruipu, Nanxin Semiconductor and other local manufacturers have made key breakthroughs in the subdivision field, and are expected to usher in rapid growth under the general trend of domestic substitution. Expect.

Among them, Xinlong Technology has chosen a differentiated technology route from the beginning of its establishment, focusing on the research and development of “high voltage, high current, high power” power chips, and is committed to breaking through the technical bottleneck. As early as 2015, it launched a 100V resistant technology. Press products and realize mass production. Holding high and building their own technical barriers, local power chip companies have stepped out of the way.

It is understood that at present, the maximum withstand voltage of the core power chip can reach 100V, the maximum output current is 12A, and the maximum output power is 100W, which can be compared with international manufacturers such as TI and American core sources. They are all known in the industry for mass production. The high level of technology in the product has been recognized by a third-party authority.

As for Jingfeng Mingyuan, relying on its own resources, scale and other advantages, it basically monopolizes the general LED lighting market, occupying a large share in the domestic market, and other manufacturers are difficult to shake its position; Nanxin Semiconductor is occupying the mobile power market It has gained a lot of shares, focusing on lithium battery-related charging management, wired/wireless fast charging protocols, lithium battery protection and other battery management fields; in addition, Shengbang shares and Sri Lanka are also leading companies in the field of power chips. Shengbang shares mainly focus on high-performance operational amplifiers, LDOs and other analog chips, while Seripu is more committed to signal chain analog chips, which are mainly used in the communications field.

“For local power chip manufacturers, they should seize the opportunity, focus on their own subdivisions, continue to intensively cultivate, research and develop deeper products, and go out of the path of differentiation, in order to obtain differentiated competitive advantages and compete with foreign manufacturers. World War I.” The above-mentioned industry figures emphasized.

Write at the end

In the future, driven by industries such as new energy vehicles, industrial control, communication equipment, consumer electronics, household appliances, etc., the domestic power supply chip market demand will also continue to grow. Perhaps more and more companies will begin to set foot in the field of power supply chips. Competition will also become more intense.

In the face of better and better development market, local power chip manufacturers need to find the subdivisions, bigger, stronger, and better in order to become “hidden champions” and compete with foreign giants such as Texas Instruments in the mid-to-high-end market. Only by share can we stand firm in this undercurrent surging competition.

The Links:   NL128102AC31-02E LM215WF3-SLE1

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.