As a leading manufacturer of electronic products, China currently consumes more than half of the world’s semiconductor devices. As of 2012, integrated circuits represent China’s leading imported commodity, surpassing oil imports. While China’s IC sales have tripled in the past ten years, their current IC global market share represents only12% of the total supply, an increase from approximately 5% in 2005. Government programs to promote indigenous design and manufacturing have resulted in an increase in localized IC and electronic package design. IC design is currently the fastest growing segment of China’s semiconductor industry, growing by 21% in 2012 to reach record revenues of US$9.9bn, according to the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA).

China’s IC design sector was responsible for over a quarter of China’s semiconductor industry revenue in 2012 with over five hundred indigenous fabless IC design enterprises in operation as reported by the government. Employment growth in China’s IC design sector moderated even further in 2012. The total number of employees in the IC design sector increased by 6% in 2012 to about 112,500 [1]. Five percent of the chips designed in China are RFICs according to Dr. Xiaowei Li, Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences speaking at DAC 2013 [2]. According to his report, 11% of all locally designed ICs are for mobile communications and another 11% target military and space applications (27% are for consumer electronics).

As a result of China’s relatively short-term experience in IC design, the country’s current state of indigenous IC design capability is limited by several factors including limited self generated core-IP and a generally weak knowledge of IC foundries and necessary EDA infrastructure. These new fabless IC design centers, many of whom have been in existence for less than 10 years, face a number of challenges specific to EDA use. Many enterprises have yet to establish proper CAD support departments and efficient EDA design flows. Young design engineers and CAD support teams often do not fully understand and utilize existing process design kits (PDKs) and parameterized active (transistor) and passive models. Investment in specialized EDA tools such as RF/microwave and high-speed circuit analysis, parasitic extraction, LVS/DRC and yield optimization is significantly lower than the level of investment made by design centers in North America and Europe.

Microwave Journal Editor, David Vye moderates a round table panel discussion among leading EDA vendors as they consider the state of IC design in China and the challenges for organization’s looking to develop a world-class EDA design flow infrastructure and adopt design automation tools. Panelists will discuss design entry and management, PDKs, EM simulation/modeling, various types of RF specific analyses, third party integration and the role of EDA companies in providing engineering support/training programs.

Participating EDA vendors include:

  • Agilent Technologies – Advanced Design System (ADS), GoldenGlobe (RFIC ), SystemVue
  • ANSYS – HFSS, SIWave, ANSYS Designer, APACHE
  • AWR – Microwave Office, Axiem, ANALYST, VSS
  • CST – Microwave Studio
  • Sonnet Software - Sonnet

About EDI CON 2014

The Electronic Design Innovation Conference (EDI CON 2014) takes place at the Beijing International Convention Center in Beijing, China on April 8-10. For more details, visit the conferences web site at