(Yicai Global) June 4 -- China will witness the commercial introduction of smartphones capable of using fifth-generation mobile communications by the end of next year, says the chief executive of the country's leading fabless semiconductor maker Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA.
Chinese original equipment manufacturers are expected to launch mobile phones with eight-core 5G chips by the end of 2019, said Beijing-based Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA Chief Executive Adam Zeng, at a semiconductor industry trend forum organized by DeepTech.
Zeng described the next decade as a digital and intelligent era with the internet, big data and cloud computing among its key drivers. Chips will underpin these three elements, he added.
China's big three telecoms players, China Telecom, China United Network Communications (China Unicom) and China Mobile Communications are spearheading the country's effort to develop a world-leading 5G network. They agreed a joint investment of CNY200 billion (USD31 billion) over the next four years to develop infrastructure through a deal with wireless equipment operator China Tower, while commercial roll-out of services is scheduled for next year.
The semiconductor industry has evolved from the personal computer and internet eras to the age of mobile internet, and the next ten years will see the development of the 5G and AI era, driven by advances in semiconductor technology, he added.
"Sands and chips are inseparable during the coming decade no matter how the earth changes and the universe develops," Zeng said. "It is a common understanding that iron and steel are the foundation of the industrial age, I believe that chips are the basis of the digital era."
Regarding future trends of semiconductor design, Zeng noted that the global semiconductor market should pursue parallel development with the integrated world. He lauded indigenous innovation working together with international cooperation. "Without independent innovation, we will not have the capital or qualifications to be part of international cooperation," he said. However, international cooperation alone cannot make China a core model in the parallel development of the sector."
Zeng considers Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA to be a paradigm of cooperation: research and development powerhouse Tsinghua Unigroup is its main shareholder, while Intel also holds a stake, and both parties have engages in deep cooperation. "By virtue of indigenous innovation and deep cooperation, we are stepping into the high-end market and becoming a leader in 5G communication chips," Zeng added.
Editor: William Clegg