Who Are China's Biggest Fabless Chipmakers?

August 17, 2017 //By James Morra, Electronic Design
Over the last two years, American officials have grown wary of the Chinese government’s plot to boost the country’s chip industry. But executive and government advisors from inside China have also moved to contextualize the efforts.

The hand wringing centers upon the $150 billion fund – also called the Big Fund – that China has amassed to subsidize fabs, fuel acquisitions, and support other tactics that foreign officials say are reminiscent of China’s meddling in the steel and solar markets.

The fund’s existence has drawn harsh rebukes from both the Obama and Trump administrations, which have pushed back against China’s plot to become a semiconductor superpower by 2020. On the other hand, Chinese insiders contend that their concerns are misplaced and overblown.

Shaogun Wei, a professor at Tsinghua University, aimed to tamp down worries with China Semiconductor Industry Association statistics. In addition to the status of fabs and industry growth, he also shared China’s largest fabless chipmakers at the Design Automation Conference in June. (The list of the top ten fabless firms is below).

That perspective acts like a counterweight to the Trump administration, which is probing China’s trade practices. On Monday, the president ordered the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, to look into instances of China stealing U.S. intellectual property, which is stock-in-trade for chipmakers.