China's IC design industry is forecast to generate more than CNY350 billion (US$51.1 billion) in sales in 2020, representing a CAGR of 22% from 2016 to 2020 - the timeframe of the country's 13th Five-Year Plan, according to Digitimes Research.
The country still relies heavily on non-China chip supplies, but development of the ASIC segment is relatively mature.
For China's 14th Five-Year Plan spanning from 2021 to 2025, achieving technological independence will remain the main goal for China's IC design industry amid the US-China trade tensions. Developments of IoT chips and open source architectures will be the key directions. Establishing in-house IC production capacity will also become a key strategy in response to the trade war with the US.
By the end of 2020, the number of China-based IC design houses is expected to break 2,000, nearly double that of 2015. However, a lot of the efforts have been devoted to ASICs for mobile communication and AI applications, while supply of general ICs such as CPUs and GPUs still relies heavily on imports.
Digitimes Research believes the US strategy of cutting chip supply to China will prompt it to gear up efforts establishing local chip manufacturing lines with IoT-related chips to become a key target.
Pushing open-source architectures will also benefit China in the development of IoT chips and help it reach the state of technological independence.