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While China is reporting no new deaths in the country from the coronavirus since the outbreak began, semiconductor manufacturers with design and production facilities abroad are likely to see their capacity and output affected because industrial production remains shuttered throughout the world outside of China. The main semiconductor products at risk include memory, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and power devices.

And because the global economy has been hard-hit by the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, other areas of technology stand to be impacted as well. One such area is the market for 5G mobile phones, where promotion of what had been eagerly awaited devices may slow down as the world adjusts to a new reality—one that earmarks spending toward basic goods, not on discretionary items such as consumer electronics.  

These and other findings can be found in the new report, Semiconductors Market Brief – China – Monthly – March 2020, which contains the latest research on the Chinese chip market including policies, investments, and major hot spots in the country’s chip design and manufacturing sectors.  

China imported 445.1 billion units (bu) of integrated circuits in 2019, up more than 6% from 417.6 billion units in 2018. Last year's numbers represented the fifth straight year of growth in the country's imports of integrated circuits, as can be seen in the chart below. 

China IC imports.png

Among the country’s players of note, Shanghai-based Spreadtrum Communications has been in the news after launching its first 5G system-on-chip (SoC), thanks to the 6-nanometer (nm) lithography process of Taiwanese foundry TSMC. Production of the 5G SoC is scheduled to begin sometime this year.  

Meanwhile, the US will put on hold a plan to reduce the use of American technology by foundries providing services to Chinese fabless manufacturers. The plan, which calls for a cut in foundry services from 25% to 10%, has been put off for now because of two factors—a change in terms in the ongoing US-China trade dispute, and the impact of COVID-19 on global industrial production. The ban will mainly affect the use of 14nm products.

In other developments, the Chinese government announced plans for what it called “new infrastructure,” indicating the direction that science and technology will take in the new decade. Under the plan, infrastructure will be built to encourage the growth and expansion of seven key fields: 5G infrastructure; ultra-high voltage (UHV); intercity high-speed railway and intercity rail transit; new-energy vehicle (EV) charging piles; big datacenters; artificial intelligence; and the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT.

The report, Semiconductors Market Brief – China – Monthly – March 2020, is offered under Omdia’s Components & Devices research pillar. Omdia subscribers also have full access to our Semiconductors research service and its five research categories, namely Memory & Storage, MEMS & Sensors, Semiconductor Components, Semiconductor Manufacturing, and Semiconductor Market