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Part I Design field

The design field of the chip industry refers to all processes from specification formulation, architecture design to tape-out. Many friends may not know what tape out is. In other words, for chip design, in a simple and popular way, all processes before chip production in the wafer factory belong to the design field. In the chip industry, we call those companies that are only engaged in chip design and do not have other production, packaging and testing businesses as failures or design houses, such as Huawei HiSilicon, Ziguang Zhanrui, ZTE Microelectronics, Bitland, Cambrian, Huiding Technology and Quanzhi in China. Qualcomm and Broadcom in the United States also belong to this category. The company that has both chip business and chip wafer manufacturing business is called IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturing). The domestic company is also one of these enterprises, including Intel in the United States, Samsung and Hynix in South Korea, and Italian and French semiconductors in Italy.

For world-famous chip design companies, please refer to the following chart. The following chart shows the revenue ranking of the top ten IC design companies in the world in 2021. Note that it only refers to the top ten companies that have published financial report data. Some companies may be higher, but have not published data. Only the top ten financial report data are listed here. The following data only refer to chip design companies, not including TSMC, Groveland and other wafer factories, but also excluding chip raw materials and semiconductor equipment companies.

If the chip is divided according to its function and application, compare the gap between domestic chip design enterprises and foreign chip design enterprises in specific fields! We will compare it from several major fields: processor chip, communication chip, memory chip and consumer electronics chip!

Part II Wafer manufacturing field

Wafer refers to the silicon wafer used in the production of silicon semiconductor integrated circuits. Because its shape is circular, it is called wafer. It can be processed into various circuit component structures on the silicon chip and become IC products with specific electrical functions. The original material of the wafer is silicon, and the surface of the earth's crust has an inexhaustible amount of silicon dioxide.

Wafer manufacturing is to form components and interconnects on the semiconductor wafer substrate through different processes such as furnace tube, wet etching, deposition, photolithography, dry etching, injection, annealing, etc. according to the designed circuit layout, and finally output the wafer that can achieve the function and performance.

Part III EDA Tools

EDA is the English abbreviation of electronic design automation. EDA tool is a design method that uses computer-aided design software to complete the functional design, synthesis, verification, physical design and other processes of VLSI chips.

In the chip industry, we call the enterprises that provide EDA tools EDA design service providers.

Part IV Chip Raw Materials

Chip production requires a lot of raw materials, such as silicon wafer, photoresist, etc. For the lithography machine that you often hear about, we use the most popular language to summarize its principle, that is, the principle of projector+SLR. The laser beam is transmitted through the mask with the circuit diagram, and the chip circuit diagram is scaled down and projected onto the silicon wafer coated with photoresist, finally forming the circuit diagram of the chip. So silicon wafer and photoresist are very important raw materials in chip production process.

There are many raw materials needed for chip manufacturing, of which the largest demand is silicon wafer. The data shows that silicon wafers account for the highest proportion of chip manufacturing materials, reaching 37%. The integration of the silicon wafer manufacturing industry has appeared since the 1990s. After three decades of fighting, 90% of the market share is now occupied by the four giants of Japan and South Korea. They are Xinyue Chemical, Universal Wafer, Sungo and SK Siltron.

Part V Packaging

Chip packaging, in simple terms, is to put the bare chip of integrated circuit produced by Foundry on a bearing substrate, then lead out the pins, and then fix the packaging into a whole.

Part VI Test

There is no special gap between domestic and foreign chip testing. At present, chip testing in China is carried out by packaging and testing factories. Some enterprises complete packaging and testing work at the same time. These enterprises are called packaging and testing factories, while some enterprises only carry out testing work. Such enterprises are called testing factories.

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