[Semiconductor/IC] Prospects for Power Semiconductor Market in 2018: Can it grow as fast as the IC i

Date: 2018-02-24
Number of visits: 24

In January, China Runwei announced that it would build the largest power semiconductor production base in Chongqing. At the end of last year, Shilanwei announced that it would build two 12-inch special process production lines in Xiamen, mainly for micro-electronics and power semiconductors. Two large-scale projects have pushed the development of domestic power semiconductor industry to a climax. As a major branch of semiconductor industry, power semiconductor plays an important role in the efficient generation, transmission, conversion, storage and control of electric energy, and is the key to energy saving, emission reduction and green manufacturing. How will the power semiconductor market develop in 2018? Can China's power semiconductor industry grow at a high speed like the integrated circuit industry?

Application Market: Automotive and Industrial Double-Wheel Drive

Power semiconductor can be used to control circuit switching, so as to achieve power rectification, inversion, frequency conversion and so on. Semiconductor devices with rated current exceeding 1 ampere are generally classified as power semiconductors with blocking voltages ranging from several volts to tens of thousands of volts. Common power semiconductors include metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET), insulated gate bipolar transistor chip (IGBT), fast recovery diode (FRD), vertical double diffusion metal oxide field effect transistor (VDMOS), silicon controlled rectifier (SCR), high power thyristor (GTO), etc.

From the market point of view, the market of power semiconductor began to pick up in the second half of 2016, and since then demand has continued to be strong. According to IHS Markit data,In 2017, the global total power semiconductor market, including power discrete components and power modules, amounted to US$38.3 billion, with a growth rate of about 7.5%. In an interview, Yu Daihui, head of Infineon Industrial Power Control Division in China, said that he would continue to look forward to the power semiconductor market in 2018, especially the rapid growth of the power semiconductor market in China.

Power semiconductor is widely used in automobile, household appliances, photovoltaic, wind power, rail transit and other fields, penetrating into all aspects of people's lives. It is generally believed that the high-speed growth of downstream new energy vehicles is an important factor driving the strong demand for power semiconductor. As the largest new energy automobile market in the world, China's new energy automobile output reached 517,000 by October 2017, an increase of 45.63% over the previous year. It is expected that 700,000 new energy automobiles will be sold in the whole year. Automotive electronics is one of the most important applications of power semiconductor devices. According to industry research data,The IGBT used in new energy vehicles accounts for about 10% of the total cost of electric vehicles.In 2016, the State Council issued the Notice of the National Strategic Emerging Industries Development Plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan: By 2020, the production and sales of new energy vehicles will exceed 2 million in that year, and the cumulative production and sales will exceed 5 million.

Another market that is expected to show explosive growth is the Industrial Internet of Things. In an interview with reporters, Johnson Koo, senior vice president of sales for Weishi Semiconductor Asia, said that Made-in-China 2025 is China's version of industrial 4.0, and is the first ten-year action plan of China's 'three-step' strategy in three decades of building a manufacturing power.The realization of industrial 4.0 itself needs the transformation and upgrading of manufacturing industry. These emerging needs will provide semiconductor companies with more market opportunities, including industrial sensors, microcontrollers, electronic tags and power devices.

New production line: successive investments by Shilanwei and China Resources

Although the power semiconductor market in China is growing rapidly and the strength of the manufacturers is still far behind that of the international giants, the domestic enterprises are catching up actively in recent years and have achieved some results. Some reports point out that the leading power device enterprises in China are in the process of accelerating the integration of overseas high-quality resources and accelerating the progress to the high-end market. Therefore, it is expected that in 2018, the domestic power semiconductor industry, like the integrated circuit industry, will set off a boom of development.

At the end of 2017, Shilanwei announced that it would build two 12-inch 65-90-nm special process chip production lines in Haicang District of Xiamen City. According to Shilanwei's announcement, the first production line has a total investment of 7 billion yuan, a process line width of 90 nm, and a production scale of 80,000 pieces per month; it is implemented in two phases, with a total investment of 5 billion yuan in the first phase, and the company invests 300 million yuan in currency to achieve a monthly production capacity of 40,000 pieces. The preliminary estimate for the second production line totals 10 billion yuan, and the process line width is 65-90 nm.The main products of these two lines are MEMS and power devices.On January 8, 2018, China Resources Micro signed a contract with Chongqing Economic and Credit Commission and Chongqing Xiyong Microelectronics Industrial Park Development Co., Ltd. to set up a national power semiconductor research and development center in Chongqing, build the largest power semiconductor manufacturing center in China, and improve the upstream and downstream industrial chain to form a complete industrial chain from raw material manufacturing, IC design to packaging and testing. Upgrading of IC industrial base.

More importantly, after these years of cultivation and development, the domestic power semiconductor industry chain has made considerable progress. Xiao Xiangfeng, Secretary-General of Power Electronics Branch of China Electrical Appliance Industry Association, said that in the past five years, China's power electronics industry chain has made progress in many aspects.Including electronic materials, IGBT high resistance zone melting irradiation single crystal, IGBT plate full pressure bonding multi-stand ceramic structural parts, IGBT special solder, IGBT aluminum nitride DBC copper clad board, IGBT aluminum silicon carbide substrate, 6 inch silicon carbide wafer and epitaxy,GaN epitaxy on 6-inch sapphire substrates.The development and maturity of these fields have laid a solid foundation for the growth of power semiconductor industry in China in the future.

New Material: GaN Does Not Make SiC Premier

The development of semiconductor industry has gone through three stages up to now: the first generation of semiconductor materials is represented by silicon (Si), and the second generation of semiconductor materials, GaAs, has been widely used.The third generation semiconductor materials are represented by wide band gaN, SiC and ZnO.The outstanding advantages of the third generation semiconductor materials are thermal conductivity, radiation resistance, breakdown electric field and electron saturation rate, so they are more suitable for high temperature, high frequency and radiation resistance occasions.

The power semiconductor technology based on SiC materials is relatively mature. The market was formally formed in 2016. The market scale is between 210 million and 240 million US dollars.Yole predicts that it will rise to $550 million by 2021, and the compound annual growth rate is expected to reach 19%.GaN devices lag behind relatively.

However, since 2017, the product technology of power GaN is also accelerating maturity, and it is expected that 2018 will be a year of growth of power GaN. Pan Dawei told reporters that Infineon will launch a series of power GaN products, which can improve the frequency of power conversion, power density is very high, can achieve the improvement of silicon 10 to 100 times.Yole's report also confirms this:In 2016, the global market for power gallium nitride was about $14 million. This is of course insignificant compared with the total silicon power semiconductor market of 30 billion US dollars. However, with its high performance and high frequency solution applicability, power GaN technology is expected to show great market potential in the short term.

Power GaN technology has also developed rapidly in China.In November 2017, Inoceco's 8-inch silicon-based GaN production line was put into operation, becoming the first domestic 8-inch silicon-based GaN production line to achieve mass production. It is judged that the production line is mainly GaN process in the compound semiconductor project constructed by Huarun Micro-Planning. The project will be implemented in two phases, one with an investment of 2 billion yuan and the other with an investment of 1 billion yuan.

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