“The base station chip self-sufficiency rate is almost zero, which is the most difficult problem for ZTE in the embargo incident. “In mid-2018, China Merchants Securities said helplessly.
More than two years later, at the Achievements Exhibition of the 3rd Digital China Construction Summit on October 11, Li Hui, vice president of ZTE, revealed that on the main control chip of 5G wireless base stations, switches, and other equipment, ZTE’s self-developed 7 Nanochips have been commercially available, and 5nm is still in the experimental stage.
Affected by this news, on October 12, ZTE rose more than 3.5% intraday, and its market value once again challenged 160 billion yuan.
According to Li Hui, the products displayed by ZTE that day are all based on independent innovation and are completely localized: “Many people did not know ZTE’s independent innovation and development of chips and operating systems before. We used to use them for ourselves. In fact, we invested a lot of money. People are engaged in research and development. For example, there are nearly 4000 people in Chengdu working on independent operating systems.”
It is understood that ZTE currently has 2,651 5G core patents, accounting for 12% of global 5G core patents, and Huawei currently accounts for 18%.
China Merchants Securities once pointed out in a research report that the single-chip solution has further raised the threshold of base station chips, making it more difficult for domestic manufacturers to enter. The self-sufficiency rate of base station chips is almost zero, which has become the most difficult issue in the previous ZTE embargo.
Therefore, ZTE has begun to make a greater investment in the field of chips, especially in the research and development of base station chips.
In fact, on June 17 this year, ZTE disclosed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Interactive Easy Platform that it has chip design and development capabilities, 7-nanometer chip mass production, and commercial use on a global 5G scale deployment, and 5-nanometer chips are in technology Import.
ZTE’s statement was interpreted by some investors as “capable of manufacturing chips.” The next day, ZTE soared more than 22% in the Hong Kong stock market, and its share price hit a new high in two months. On that day, its A-share share price also rose by nearly 7%.
One day later, ZTE President Xu Ziyang said at the shareholders meeting again on Friday: “ZTE’s 7nm chip has been mass-produced and commercialized in global 5G scale deployment. It is expected that the 5nm-based chip released next year will bring Higher performance and lower energy consumption.”
This statement allowed ZTE to end the week’s trading with a gain of more than 1%.
However, ZTE subsequently clarified that in the field of chip design, ZTE focuses on the design of communication chips and does not have chip manufacturing capabilities.
It is understood that the 7-nanometer chip independently developed by ZTE is still mainly manufactured by TSMC’s process, and the 2.5D/interposer technology of ASE Investment and Control is packaged and tested.
However, even the design process still has a positive meaning. Prior to this, Huawei and Qualcomm have successively launched chips produced by the 5nm process, but they are all used in the mobile phone field. In terms of base station chips, there are few public design process data.