(Yicai Global) April 7 -- China’s tech giants have been piling into the semiconductor industry, hoping to develop domestic supplies amid the ongoing global chip shortage.
Disclosed investment in China’s chip sector stood at more than CNY387.6 billion (USD60.91 billion) last year, up over three times from the previous year’s CNY109.8 billion, according to figures from data provider Qichacha.
In the first quarter of this year, China's chip sector has seen 310 financing deals, 4.6 times more than in the same period of 2021, with the total disclosed topping CNY35 billion.
The country’s tech giants have invested a lot in the industry in recent years in the hope that self-developed chips can cut long-term dependence on overseas supplies, said William Li, an analyst at Counterpoint Research. They also hope to strengthen their development capabilities and increase the chip talent reserve, he said.
Hubble Technology Investment, a unit of telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, has invested in over 70 semiconductor firms in the past three years, covering the chip manufacturing industrial chain, the software industrial chain, automotive electronics, and the fifth-generation industrial chain.
Last year, Shenzhen-based Huawei also invested multiple times in semiconductor materials, including the laser lithography service provider Beijing Rslaser Opto-Electronics Technology.
In July last year, Shanghai-based Axera Semiconductor Technology underwent industrial and commercial registration changes, gaining Meituan-related company Kuxun Technology as a shareholder. In the same month, China Mobile brand OneChip announced that China Mobile-owned Xinsheng Technology, an Internet of Things-related unit, would operate independently to develop further in the IoT chip business and eventually get listed.
In December and January, Lenovo Beijing invested in a number of semiconductor companies, while Lenovo Group set up Dingdao Zhixin Shanghai Semiconductor with registered capital of CNY300 million (USD47.14 million) on Jan. 26.
The demand for chip talent has been increasing as well. Talent solutions company Hudson Global released a report at the beginning of this year saying that in 2022 the chip industry will see the largest average salary increase at more than 50 percent.
Editor: Tom Litting