Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Nanjing launches chip university in bid to fill China’s semiconductor talent gap"

Over the years we've commented on the anomalous (compared to every other tech) failure of Chinese technology to create a chip industry.* Now it looks as if they are making the big push. So does this make Taiwan's TSMC less of a glittering prize?

From SupChina:

China has opened what may be the world’s first “integrated circuit university” as it seeks to attain silicon chip independence in the face of U.S. efforts to decouple.

On October 22, Nanjing launched China’s first integrated circuit university as the country attempts to address a talent shortage in the semiconductor industry, Xinhua reported (in Chinese). Amid pressure from U.S. decoupling, China has established Nanjing Integrated Circuit University (NICU) in a bid to boost domestic chip manufacturing and technology innovation capability.

NICU is not a traditional “university,” but a “talent training organization.”

  • NICU does not recruit high school graduates from the national college entrance examination, but will select college and university graduates who already have relevant knowledge, or those who have an interest in working on integrated circuits. NICU will also train junior staff for integrated circuit companies.
  • People who attend NICU will be called “learners” (学员 xuéyuán) instead of “students” (学生 xuéshēng), and will receive a certification of completion upon graduation but not a degree diploma.

NICU is not under the Ministry of Education or provincial and municipal education authorities like nearly all Chinese higher-education institutions. It was founded by the management committee of Nanjing Jiangbei New District, a national-level special economic zone where NICU is located....


 *The Chip Wars of the 21st Century
While some people are bleating and tweeting into the ether about their political feelings, others are creating the technical container that will define, delineate, create, and constrict the future.
Them's the ones to watch out for.

"China deploys Sun Tzu to win the chip war"

 "Chip on the Shoulder: How China Aims to Compete in Semiconductors"

Macro Polo also has a series called "ChinAI: Building and Stumbling Blocks For China’s AI Ambitions" that paints the picture in broad brushstrokes (no trade secrets).

On China's failure to launch, semiconductor-wise
August 28 2019
Chips: How China Is Still Paying the Price For Squandering Its Chance To Build a Home-grown Semiconductor Industry 
Should China ever invade Taiwan the TSMC fabs would be quite a prize.
We've looked at this oddity a few times, some links below....

Also at the SCMP, Aug. 28:
Are China’s investments in semiconductors all for naught? US expert says China is at a crossroads

July 3 2019
China to Narrow Chip Gap With Taiwan Invasion
Did I say invade? I meant trade.
I must have been thinking of China's Defense Minister last month saying "China must be and will be reunited".
With the Taiwanese elections coming up it's probably as good a time as any for Beijing to make some sort of move. Probably not invasion though. China will want to test its military somewhere, our guess is Vietnam, before tackling Taiwan. So probably some sort of fifth column action, cyber, electrical grid etc. And the people to do it are already on the island, I mean if the Chinese could get one of their spies into Dianne Feinstein's office while she was Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (2009 - 2015), the guy was her San Francisco office manager, not, as reported, the chauffeur, if they could do that there is no doubt they have assets in Teipei.
So where was I?
June 14
"China chip industry insiders voice caution on catch-up efforts"
May 1
Beijing’s big chip push goes into hyperdrive
March 28
China's AI Dream: The Plan and the Players
January 2018
"Can Chinese AI Chip Makers Compete with Nvidia?" (NVDA)
January 2018
"China wants to make the chips that will add AI to any gadget" 
From MIT's Technology Review, Jan. 24: The AI boom offers Chinese chipmakers a chance to catch up after years of lagging behind.... 

I'm still ashamed about my reaction to the Paulson Institute's choice of names for the think tank:
November 2018
In Xi We Trust: Inwardly Directed Chinese Propaganda (now with more elephants)
 I am not happy about the name of our source, more on that after the jump.
Other than that, the analysis itself seems pretty solid....
...Here's the problem. Climateer Investing, March 11, 2016:

I came up with Macro Polo. For a story about elephant polo!

So I looked at the Macro Polo blog. The earliest post is dated June 26, 2017. Aha!!
And I looked at the think tank's dates of publication for their various papers.
And.....2014. Two years prior to the Climateer post.

Not even simultaneous discovery/invention. And the Macro Polo think tank is part of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and now I fear I may have unconsciously internalized the play on words and then used it without attribution thinking it was my own.

I will leave wearying reader with the story of one of the greatest polo matches of all time as I hang my head and contemplate the (possible, who knows at this point) shame I have brought upon my ancestors....MORE