Wei Shaojun: Long-term and stable investment is the key to China’s integrated circuit industry

ON August 26, the 2020 World semiconductor Conference with the theme of “Open Cooperation, The World’s Same ‘Core’” was held in Nanjing. Before the summit forum of this conference, Professor Wei Shaojun, vice chairman of China Semiconductor Industry Association, shared some of his views in an interview.

How to be advanced by replacing backward with advanced

Professor Wei Shaojun mentioned in some of his previous speeches that our domestic substitution cannot replace backwardness with backwardness, let alone replace advanced with backwardness, and should replace backwardness with advanced. This also means that we have to make significant progress in technology before this substitution can be valuable, meaningful, and successful.

From the fact of the development of domestic substitution, in 2019, the number of imported chips in China exceeded 300 billion US dollars, but China’s high-end chip products are still highly dependent on foreign countries. However, in the mid-to-low-end chip market, the domestic substitution capability continues to improve, gradually reducing the degree of dependence on foreign countries. In this case, how can we gradually become advanced?

Professor Wei Shaojun pointed out that to be advanced, relevant enterprises need to dare to think, do and innovate. He believes: “In the past period of time, my country’s integrated circuit industry has made certain achievements, but for the current state of development, the innovation capability of our industry needs to be improved.”

Professor Wei Shaojun said: “The reason why we emphasize the need to replace backwardness with advanced innovation is to say that enterprises should not stagnate, but should continue to move forward, constantly try to improve their capabilities, and then lead the development of the industry.”

In the process of emphasizing the need for innovation in integrated circuits, it does not mean that we should ignore areas that need to be caught up. Professor Wei Shaojun said: “Catch-up is as important as innovation. It’s not because everyone talks about innovation, it’s not important for us to catch up.” He believes that it is most important to look at the industry realistically and to understand and follow the laws of industrial development.

Investment in integrated circuits should not be in a hurry

In the field of integrated circuits, whether it is catching up or innovating, relevant companies need to make capital investment. Today, when the integrated circuit industry has attracted much attention, a lot of funds have turned to this field.

Especially under the sweep of the 5G wave, the development of integrated circuits occupies an important position. Whether it is 5G base stations or big data centers, artificial intelligence, industrial Internet, etc., are further extensions of the information industry, rail transit, new energy, vehicle charging piles and UHV are also inseparable from the information industry and information technology, and semiconductors are Support the most fundamental point of information technology.

This has also led to an investment boom in the semiconductor industry from the capital market. However, in the current investment, some funds are still pursuing short-term interests, which is unfavorable for the development of long-term integrated circuits. Wei Shaojun believes that the R&D investment of semiconductor companies also needs to be continuous, especially for companies listed on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, innovation should be put first, and the money from the stock market and other capital markets should be continuously invested in R&D. Only then can the enterprise go to the front of the industrial chain in the future. He said: “We hope that the investment in the industry should be continuous, long-term, and high-intensity, not the pursuit of short-term interests.”

In Professor Wei Shaojun’s view, the biggest problem facing China’s integrated circuits is that Chinese companies generally lack R&D investment. Even though some companies have invested more than 20% in R&D, they are too small to achieve a completely positive cycle. . At present, China’s integrated circuit industry urgently needs a two-wheel drive strategy of capital and technology under the guidance of the national strategy. Therefore, solving the long-term, stable, continuous and high-intensity investment of R&D funds is the key to China’s integrated circuit industry.

Milestone event: the establishment of the first-level discipline of integrated circuits

Talent is a very important part of a company’s continuous development. At present, my country’s integrated circuit industry is still facing a huge talent gap. In this case, how colleges and universities should cultivate IC talents has become a more concerned direction for the industry.

Not long ago, a meeting of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council voted to approve the proposal that the integrated circuit major will be a first-level discipline and will be independent from the first-level discipline of Electronic science and technology.

Wei Shaojun believes that this is a very important event. According to the development of our country’s education history, our country’s education system is divided according to disciplines. Therefore, the resources provided by our colleges and universities, including the division of departments, are often based on the classification of disciplines as an important guide.

Based on this system, most schools build departments on the basis of first-level disciplines. Therefore, as a second-level discipline under electronic science and technology, the biggest difficulty it encounters is that it is not a discipline. It is more difficult to become a system. Professor Wei Shaojun pointed out that Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiaotong University and other colleges and universities have begun to establish departments on the basis of secondary disciplines earlier, which is also very special.

Professor Wei Shaojun pointed out that the first-level disciplines or discipline classifications determine the conditions of the social department, and the resource allocation of colleges and universities is often arranged according to the level of disciplines. Therefore, when the integrated circuit major is a secondary discipline, it is greatly restricted in resource allocation. Professor Wei Shaojun said: “After the State Council made integrated circuits a first-level discipline, it actually broke the administrative constraints, allowing us to make breakthroughs in the allocation of resources in colleges and universities, which has a very far-reaching impact on the follow-up.”

At the same time, Professor Wei Shaojun also emphasized that the achievements of the first-level discipline construction cannot be manifested in a short period of time, and perhaps in the next 5 to 10 years, this influence will gradually become prominent. For the integrated circuit industry, the establishment of integrated circuits and disciplines is a milestone event.