China is waging a regular campaign against the United States to destroy the “quasi-American” monopoly on the semiconductor market. Today we hear from Nikkei Asia that several senior engineers from Synopsys and Cadence, two major American companies in the market, have just joined X-Epic, Shanghai Hejian Industrial Software and Advanced Manufacturing EDA. Three Chinese startups whose mission is to compete with the American giants.
China strikes back and tries to break the semiconductor monopoly
American oppression is getting stronger. The sanctions imposed on Huawei by the Trump administration have even pushed the Chinese company to run out of chips for its smartphones. Production of Kirin 9000 semiconductors, developed by Huawei’s own engineers for the brand’s high-end devices, ceased on September 15. Until then, they were manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which used American manufacturing technologies. Unfortunately, Huawei was unable to produce its own chips.
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When the Chinese government saw this, they decided not to let go of it. Beijing doesn’t want the United States to exploit the weaknesses of its tech giants, let alone withhold an entire market from its companies. If the US has dominated this segment for a long time, especially with companies like Synopsys, Cadence, Mentor Graphics, and Ansys controlling roughly 90% of the global market, China intends to reverse the trend. Beijing has encouraged the creation of young shoots in the field, the result: three large startups have already positioned themselves in this market.
Talents from Synopsys and Cadence went “Chinese side”
A China-based developer who works for one of these companies said, “We are seeing more and more people who worked with major American semiconductor design companies before they joined Chinese startups because they believe it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Until now, few entrepreneurs wanted to start a chip design company because it is a niche market that is dominated by large companies. Today there is a growing demand in China for the first time. “
For example, a former Synopsys deputy director has joined X-Epic, a company based in Nanjing. That’s not all, a former Cadence Vice President with over 30 years of experience joined the company as Chief Scientist on August 3, 2020. X-Epic announced this in early November. Tiyen Yen, a former Cadence executive, will join the company as vice president of research and development. And it’s the same pattern in each of the three Chinese startups that have positioned themselves in the chip market.
China wants to conquer a new market. The many local tech companies may choose Chinese manufacturers rather than Americans to avoid the whims of a president. The United States probably has something to fear.