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Chinese firms stepping up to address chip shortage in auto industry

Zhu Shenshen
Chinese companies are expanding capacity and creating special research teams to face the microchip shortage in the auto industry, which over 90 percent of innovations depend on.
Zhu Shenshen

Chinese companies are taking measures such as expanding capacity and creating special research teams to deal with the microchip shortage in the automobile industry, Shanghai Daily learned during the ongoing Semicon China. 

Besides traditional smartphone and electronics demands, vehicles with autonomous and electric features have unexpectedly boosted the demand for chips. More than 90 percent of innovations in the automotive industry depend on chips, Zheng Li, chief executive of Shanghai-listed JCET, said at the opening session of Semicon.

During Semicon, Shanghai-based GTA Semiconductor displayed an entire automotive electronics system in its booth, featuring chips and sensors that connect and control vehicles. The company announced it is investing 35.9 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) to build production wafer plants and other facilities in the Lingang area of Shanghai.

Chinese firms stepping up to address chip shortage in auto industry
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

JCET displays its latest technologies at Semicon China 2021.

JCET, which is displaying new technologies like "system in packaging" and "wafer-level packaging" in its booth, will focus on technology, process, quality and awareness for its in-vehicle chip manufacturing.

It has established a chip assembly research team with more than 100 people that directly communicate with chip designers to improve and expedite the chip-making process, said Zheng.

Thomas Manfred Muller, Volkswagen China’s executive vice president, gave a speech at the event as a representative of the “demand side." He said the car maker is shaping mobility with semiconductor partners because “digitization of vehicles is key."

In February, Chinese automobile giant SAIC Motor said it will join with chipmaker Horizon Robotics to expand in the automobile chip sector.

The tight supply of chips during the coronavirus pandemic has made both auto and chip companies aware of the importance of cooperation, speeding up product certification and matching supply and demand.

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