Southeast of Hefei Xinqiao Airport, a chip advanced manufacturer with a total investment of about 150 billion yuan has risen. In less than four years, the first phase of the factory was put into production, with a design capacity of 120,000 wafers per month.
As the largest industrial project in Anhui Province, aiming at the world’s cutting -edge technology, it undertakes an important task of DRAM storage chip (dynamic random access memory, commonly known as “memory”) independently.
At the end of 2020, its parent company also received 15.650 billion yuan in institutions such as the “National Fund”, Anhui State -owned Assets, Zhaoyi Innovation, and Xiaomi Yangtze River Industry Fund.
The helm behind this factory is Zhu Yiming, the parent -level family of Chinese memory, and the leading A -share chip company created by Zhu Yiming, “Zhaoyi Innovation”.
During the 16 years of Zhaoyi Innovation, it created many firsts in the history of Chinese chip: successfully developed the first SPI Nor Flash product in China, the first static memory and IP technology, and launched the first domestic ARM -based ARM -based based on Contex-M3 kernel’s 32 universal MCU products … At the same time, it is also the third supplier of SPI NOR FLASH market share in the world. The market value once exceeded 100 billion yuan (as of May 17, the market value was about 826 100 million yuan).
From nothing to industry leaders, what exactly did this semiconductor company known as “Samsung China” do?
To answer this question, we need to return to the starting point of all this story -a cafe in Silicon Valley, USA.
Abandoned ground? Wa -soil!
One day in early 2004, Silicon Valley in the United States, Starbucks Cafe.
A young man named Zhu Yiming is telling his entrepreneurial plan to his senior, Li Jun, the Department of Automation of Tsinghua University, and hopes that the initiator of the Tsinghua Entrepreneur Association TEG can become his angel investor.
Obviously, the plan for young people in the 1989 physics department of Tsinghua University is not “powerful”, and Li Jun did not agree. For the second time, Zhu Yiming resigned and registered the company Gigadevice. With a more mature “memory IP” plan, he appeared in front of Li Jun. In the same cafe, he told Li Jun a high -speed static memory model of four times speed 2T1C. This chip has the characteristics of low cost, low power consumption and high performance in theory. it is good.
This time, he was recognized by Li Jun. Li Jun also realized the value of the student and decided to help him.
Later, he found the Silicon Valley angel invested “Golden Finger” Zhou Shungui at that time to help them start at 100,000 US dollars. Zhou Shungui also sold their garage at a low price to them as entrepreneurial bases.
Zhu Yiming (right), Shu Qingming (left), picture source: Zhaoyi Innovation
In this way, Zhu Yiming and his partner, Tsinghua’s 1985 -level electronics alumni Shu Qingming, took their part -time team to start “garage entrepreneurship”, and the star fire ignited.
It was Zhu Yiming’s vision that impressed Li Jun. Li Jun still retains the email sent by Zhu Yiming to him, Zhu Yiming in the email
It is foreseeable that the chip industry’s transfer to Asia, he believes that it is time for China to play an important role in this industry.
After just a few months, Zhu Yiming’s small group developed a memory sample with their innovative technology -only a static memory storage unit with two transistors, and a traditional static memory storage unit needed
Six crystal tubes
This means that their scheme can narrow two -thirds of the cost, while performance and efficiency can achieve three times before at the same area.
Next, the company’s development still needs a lot of funds and broad markets.
Financing became one of the most important things in the company, and at this time Zhu Yiming met Xue Jun, the general manager of the then Tsinghua Science and Technology Park Technology Asset Management Co., Ltd. Like Li Jun, at first, Xue Jun was reluctant to invest. The reason seemed to be obvious. At that time, the storage chip at that time had long been set. How can a young company survive successfully?
Although Xue Jun’s willingness to invest is insufficient, Zhu Yiming still keeps in touch with Xue Jun. At the end of 2004, he called Xue Jun’s phone again and said what he thought: “Mr. Xue, can you vote for me?”
This time Xue Jun’s persistence was Zhu Yiming. Xue Jun promised to help Zhu Yiming raise $ 1 million in start -up funds. The only condition is: Zhu Yiming returned to China to start a business.
Since the 21st century, the state has issued a series of policies to encourage the development of the software industry and integrated circuit industry. In the “Notice of the State Council on Printing and Distributing Several Policies of Encouraging the Software Industry and Integrated Circuit Industry” The core of the industry and the foundation of the national economic informatization are increasingly valued by countries around the world.
my country has the most important manpower and intellectual resources of the development software industry and integrated circuit industry. In the face of the situation of joining the World Trade Organization, it is a urgent and long -term task to accelerate the development of the software industry and integrated circuit industry by formulating encouragement policies and accelerate the development of the software industry and integrated circuit industry.
The significance is very important. “The notice also clarifies the investment and financing policies, tax policies, industrial technical policies, and export policies of the integrated circuit industry, and encourages the development of the integrated circuit industry.
Since then, China’s semiconductor industry has also ushered in a small climax of growth and breakout: in 2000, Zhang Rujing founded SMIC in Shanghai; in 2001, Ni Guangnan cooperated with the Ark Technology Company to develop the “Ark One” processor; The digital multimedia chip “Starlight One” of the laptop camera; the “Longxin” research team also began to form; Zhao Guangmin founded Zhuhai Jili in Zhuhai; in 2002, Huiding Technology was founded in Shenzhen; in 2003, ZTE’s subsidiary Shenzhen City Shenzhen Municipality ZTE Microelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. is registered; in 2004, Huawei Hisilicon Semiconductor was established.
Under this background, the opportunity to return to China may be even greater. In a subsequent interview, Zhu Yiming mentioned: “China is already the largest integrated circuit market in the world. The gap between manufacturing technology and international advanced levels is already small, but no one of its own memory design companies, more than 90%or more The chip depends on imports. The development space for returning home may be greater. “
In 2005, Zhu Yiming returned to Beijing, landed on the Tsinghua Science and Technology Park Incubator, and set up “Beijing Core Skills Microelectronics Technology Co., Ltd.” with the alumni “coming out”. That is, Zhaoyi Innovation’s predecessor.
Compared with its peers, “core skills” are undoubtedly lucky, and you can get a sufficient financing at the beginning of its establishment.
At that time, China’s venture capital and entrepreneurial incubation had just stepped out of the enlightenment stage and entered the stage of preliminary development. According to statistics from the Ministry of Science and Technology, in 2005, there were 319 nationwide entrepreneurial investment institutions, and the capital scale of managed only 63.1 billion yuan. (As of the end of 2019, there have been 1,777 entrepreneurial investment enterprises in the country). And due to the small capital scale of domestic venture capital institutions, it is difficult to increase investment intensity of unit projects. According to the investigation and analysis of the investment amount of 79 risk investment institutions for the investment in 79 venture capital institutions (Hong Kong), in 2004, the project investment in the new investment unit in North China was the largest, but it was only 1.3317 million yuan.
Investment at that time, the unknown core skills were undoubtedly a high -risk investment. One was that the investment institutions were not wealthy, and the other was that there were no successful investment cases in the domestic market at that time. The third was that a group of young people gathered together The small companies that get up are “tender” and are difficult to describe with reliable.
The international student entrepreneurial park located on Zhuyuan Road
The Tsinghua Science and Technology Park International Student Pioneer Park was established in 2002. At that time, they only had 500,000 start -up funds and two layers of rough houses. It was such an unsatisfactory institution. Core skills are easy. ” At the same time, Deng Feng and Li Jun were also assumed to have a high risk of Tsinghua University.
With the start of funds, the first task in front of the new company is to establish the company’s development direction.
The storage chip is the granary of the electronic system, and its market size is huge, accounting for about one -third of the overall semiconductor market. It can almost be said that whoever leads the memory technology, who can call the entire integrated circuit industry. The world semiconductor giant Intel started from memory and developed step by step.
The World Storage Chip Market in 2005 has completed the industrial transfer from the United States to Japan and South Korea after experiencing a “battle of the gods”. Foreign storage chip giants Intel, Samsung, Hylos, Micron, Bilida almost almost almost almost almost almost It divides over 90%of the global storage chips. Where is the opportunity of core skills?
As a startup with unstable foundation and weak power, Zhu Yiming knows that “surviving” is the first priority. Eventually, after a detailed investigation and repeated considerations, the core skills chose SRAM as the incision of the enrollment memory market.
Source of storage chip Source: Zhaoyi Innovation Prospectus
There are three reasons:
First, the giant brand strategically abandon SRAM. SRAM is a type of static memory. The data it stored can always exist when power -on, and it will disappear after power off, which can meet the needs of high -speed cache. But for a long time, SRAM also has defects in design structure and storage capacity, and its market is constantly shrinking. Most of the internationally renowned memory manufacturers have regarded them as yellow flowers tomorrow, and they chose to fade out or turn, and put a large number of manpower and material resources into new DRAM and Flash technology to occupy the commanding heights of the next generation of mainstream storage technology in the map.
Second, due to the contraction of the large manufacturers, there will be a shortage of supply in the domestic market. Moreover, there is a high threshold for the design and production of memory design. Compared with other small factories, core skills have no disadvantages.
Third, the market capacity is large enough to meet the development of core skills. The latest report of the authoritative survey company Gartner shows that even if SRAM’s share in the memory market will drop from 7%in 2004 to 4%in 2010. However, the size of the Chinese market is also over 100 million dollars, which is enough for the core skills at that time.
The “abandonment of the soil” of the large factory has become the target market for core skills. Zhu Yiming is responsible for running the market. Shu Qingming has arrested research and development. Soon the first static memory SRAM developed around the “high performance”, but this product for high -end users is not easy to sell, and high -end customers will not make a little performance for a little performance. In order to improve the product of small companies, Zhu Yiming decided to change the strategy to use the characteristics of SRAM’s low cost and low power consumption to open up the consumer market for ordinary people.
Less than half a year in China, RockChip (Rockchin Micro Electronics Co., Ltd.) gave the company a 100,000 yuan order for the authorization of SRAM IP. One of RockChip’s business was MP3 chip, which fancy the company SRAM SRAM IP low power consumption and low cost advantages.
Later, RockChip integrated the production and sales of the MP3 chip of Gigadevice SRAM IP soaring, which highly proved that Zhu Yiming’s company was not only excellent in technology and products, but also mass production and application.
In this way, relying on the company’s advantages in SRAM products, core skills have survived, and have accumulated a lot of experience in dealing with all links with the semiconductor industry chain.
But Zhu Yiming’s goal is not just as simple as surviving. His ultimate ideal is to be “Samsung China” and the leading boss of the storage industry. Zhu Yiming, who is unwilling to reconciles in the SRAM market, continues to track the latest development of international memory technology. In his opinion, the mission of the SRAM series product line is to allow the core skills to survive, fame, and grow The bigger goal is Flash and DRAM markets.
The history of Zhaoyi Innovation and Development, Source: CITIC Jianjian Investment Research Report
Tear the monopoly and stand firmly
While the core technology has successively developed and mass -produced low -power SRAM products, the company has also determined the field of focusing in the future -Nor Flash direction.
NOR FLASH chips are mainly used in mobile phones, PC, DVD, USB Key, set -top boxes, network devices and IoT devices. In the era of function phones, mobile phones have low requirements for memory. NOR FLASH is widely used with NOR+PSRAM’s XIP architecture, and the price is gradually rising. Compared with SRAM, the market size is much larger. Moreover, Nor Flash is difficult to be replaced, and there are almost no domestic manufacturers involved.
Although NOR FLASH’s market size is much smaller than the NAND Flash and DRAM markets, it is the best choice for core skills.
Because the demand for SSD with personal computers and enterprise -level storage has surged and the development of smartphones is mainly used for mobile phone flash memory and the demand of NAND Flash, which is a solid -state hard disk SSD, is constantly expanding. Investment, there is a trend of gradual Nor Flash market. Similarly, the DRAM of the memory chip is also an important position in major factories due to its huge market size (the proportion of sales is approaching the entire storage market).
In May 2008, core skills launched the first domestic 8M SPI NOR Flash chip.
This is a potential product. SPI (serial peripheral interface) is a high -speed, full -duplex, and synchronous communication bus. Due to its simple instruction protocol, small signal pins, small volume, etc. Agreement and applications in many fields such as mobile phones, digital cameras, computers, automotive electronics, IoTs, etc. At that time, a series of interfaces in the market gradually replaced parallel interfaces.
However, once the chip was launched, the financial crisis swept the world. The original harvest season has become the “dark moment” of Zhaoyi innovation. A large amount of product backlogs have made the company no extra funds can be mobilized, which also leads to more than 200 million yuan in debt.
Due to the pressure of funds, Zhu Yiming began to run around, looking for new orders, and raised funds for channels such as banks such as banks and alumni such as Tsinghua University.
At this time, the “wolf” also arrived.
ISSI Storage Corporation proposes to acquire Zhaoyi Innovation for $ 10 million. This 1988 American storage chip giant. The main business is the research and development, sales and technical support of integrated circuit storage chips with high integrated density, high -performance quality, and high economic value. And SRAM) is the core business of ISSI. At that time, SPANSION, a Nor Flash leading company, also hoped to acquire and contribute higher.
Zhu Yiming did not agree.
But the financial market and customers opened the door for Zhao Yi innovation. Tianyancha shows that core skills have completed two rounds of financing in 2008 and 2009, respectively, with a total of more than 30 million yuan. The investors are Hatang Venture Capital, Yingfu Tek and Qidi Star. The stars are all old shareholders of Zhaoyi.
In terms of market, Zhu Yiming obtained a competitive qualification for a Japanese enterprise project. At that time, three companies were shortlisted. Except for the good core skills, the other two companies came from the United States. The final Zhaoyi innovative product won the order with the advantages of “high density and large temperature range”, and won the order of funds.
The financial crisis has a great impact on the entire storage market: the financial crisis has further “blood collapsed” from the price of DRAM, which originally declined sharply due to excessive demand, from $ 2.25 to $ 0.31. However, Samsung’s fuel was poured on the fire at this time, announcing that 118%of the total profit of Samsung Electronics was invested in DRAM expansion business in 2007, and by the end of 2008, the price of DRAM particles fell below the material cost. The third German manufacturer Qi Mengda could not support it first. In 2009, he announced bankruptcy. The fifth place was also injured and eventually declared bankruptcy in 2012.
It is ironic that the “SPANSION” is also hit by the financial crisis and has intensified losses. In 2009, it could only announce the layoffs of 3,000 people to reduce the expenditure. At the same time, its Japanese branch announced the application for bankruptcy protection. The core skills have also undertaken the orders of some large international enterprises. For example, Sanndi’s solid -state hard disk began to use core skills Nor Flash products.
During the financial crisis, core skills not only did not press the suspension key, but have achieved good development. In 2009, the company realized the large -scale mass production of the SPI NOR Flash chip; in 2010, the company’s 512K ~ 32M capacity chip products all achieved mass production, and the company’s storage products were sold for about 100 million.
It was also this year, the company officially renamed it from the core skills to “Zhaoyi Innovation”.
Since then, Zhaoyi Innovation NOR Flash business has developed rapidly, the product line has been continuously enriched, and at the same time, it has continuously improved on the craft node: in 2011, the company’s 64M ~ 128M capacity chip products achieved mass production, and at the same time increased the level of craft nodes to 90nm; in 2012, the company successfully raised the level of craft nodes to 65nm; in 2013, the company’s 65nm products began to sell large -scale sales, with storage products sales of about 810 million, and the cumulative shipment exceeded 1.7 billion.
Not only did there have many breakthroughs in product innovation, but the market opportunity balance also fell to Zhaoyi Innovation.
Since Apple launched the first generation of iPhone in 2007, smartphones have begun to popularize worldwide. The APP occupying a large amount of memory is developed, installed, and used. The larger the mobile phone’s memory, the larger the shortcomings of NOR’s capacity and small cost, and the NAND Flash is increasingly used to gradually replace NOR FLASH. The decrease was reduced from US $ 5.5 billion in 2008 to US $ 3.5 billion in 2012, and by 2016, only 1.58 billion US dollars were left.
Faced with the continuous decline market space, overseas manufacturers also responded, began to reduce production or even abandon the mid -to -low -end NOR Flash market, and instead produced high -end NOR Flash products and NAND Flash products.
In 2010, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics began to no longer develop new NOR Flash products, which only sold the original products.
In 2017, Micron and Cypress announced that they would gradually withdraw from the low -capacity NOR Flash consumer goods and PC markets, and instead focused on large -capacity NOR Flash industrial control and automobiles.
The large factory withdrew, and the large number of markets moved out of the market eventually digested by manufacturers such as Wanghong, Winbond, Zhaoyi Innovation, and the reduction of production capacity caused by the exit of the large manufacturer also stimulated the price of NOR FLASH. Fund.
As the large manufacturers closed or adjusted, the Nor Flash market has new development opportunities. In recent years, due to 5G, IoT, TWS headphones, AMOLED screens, TDDI, vehicle cameras, and advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), the demand for NOR FLASH has begun to grow and has attracted much attention from the market. According to the Morgan Stanley Research Report, it is expected that Nor Flash’s global revenue will usher in a 3%increase in 2019. According to public information, the market size growth rate in the future is about 8%-15%.
Many small factories headed by Zhaoyi have also developed in the situation.
The market share of Zhaoyi Innovation increased from 3%in 2012 to 7%in 2015, and ranked fourth and third in the world in the second and third quarters of 2019 with 13.9%and 18.3%.
In 2019, Zhaoyi Innovation GD25 full series of SPI NOR Flash products have completed the AEC-Q100 certification, becoming a chemical car-based flash memory product, which can provide high-performance and high reliability for specific applications that require automotive-level products and requires specific applications for car regulations. Flash memory solution. By 2020, Zhaoyi Innovation SPI Nor Flash chip focuses on the 26 major product series, 16 product capacity, 4 voltage range, 25 encapsulation methods, and 7 temperature planning, which can fully meet customer needs.
Blossom more, MCU will start again
Returning time to 2013, Zhaoyi’s Flash products have brought more than 100 million US dollars of revenue to the company, discovering new opportunities, and layout of new markets to become the company’s sustainable development.
This time, Zhaoyi Innovation aimed at 32 -bit MCU and SPI NAND Flash. In 2013, the company launched the first 32-General MCU product-GD32 product series based on the ARM Contex-M3 kernel, which broke the monopoly of foreign companies and filled the gap in the domestic field. During the same period, the world’s first SPI NAND Flash was released.
“Many international mainstream MCU manufacturers actually start from making memory products. Most MCUs now need flash memory. To some extent, 32 -bit MCUs are even called Flash MCUs. It is a natural thing to do MCU. “Deng Yu, then general manager of Zhaoyi Innovation MCU Product Division, said in the face of media interviews.
More reasons are changes from the market.
MCU (MicroController Unit; microcontrollers), also known as Single Chip MicroComputer or single -chip microcomputer, is mainly used in the Internet of Things, home appliances, consumer electronics, industrial control, home appliances and other fields.
The purpose of MCU, source: network
Zhaoyi Innovation has noticed that embedded equipment is becoming increasingly intelligent and energy -saving, which means that the trend of MCU from 8 to 32 will become more and more obvious.
The 32 -bit MCU market has been led by European and American manufacturers, and no domestic enterprises have been able to launch 32 -bit MCU products that truly produce mass production. On the other hand, the launch of the ARM Cortex-M series directly lowered the threshold for Zhaoyi Innovation into the 32-bit MCU field. At the profits level, European and American manufacturers generally expect profits to remain above 50%to 60%. Taiwan manufacturers can currently achieve 30%to 40%, and Zhaoyi Innovation has its own Flash products and has a lot of shipments. To a certain extent, the cost of the product is lowered and the level of profit is obtained.
From the GD32 product series as the starting point, Zhaoyi Innovation wanted to build a GD32 MCU department store. Its MCU product sequence has been continuously enriched, and its contribution to the entire Zhaoyi innovation has also increased. By 2017, Zhaoyi Innovation’s MCU already has the broad application coverage rate of more than 300 products model selection of more than 19 series. The products are widely used in industrial and consumer embedded markets. Interface, motor control, security monitoring, smart home appliances and Internet of Things areas; the proportion of revenue also increased from 2%in 2015 to 16%.
Zhaoyi Innovation GD32 MCU production line distribution, source: Zhaoyi Innovation
In terms of NAND Flash, its market size is much larger than the NOR Flash market, and it is still growing. Some data show that the NAND Flash market has a market size of about 42%of the memory market. From 2011 to 2016, the annual compound growth rate of NAND Flash demand growth rate is as high as 47%, and the process of accelerating the process of 3D-NAND Flash, and the SSD penetration rate With continuous improvement, the demand for NAND Flash will still maintain a strong growth trend.
Zhaoyi Innovation produced the world’s first SPI NAND Flash in 2013. By 2020, it also has 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB NAND Flash products. The voltage range has 3V and 1.8V. The interface supports serial interface and the interface and the interface. Parallel interface. In terms of technology, it will gradually iterate from 38nm to 24nm in the future.
At this time, Zhaoyi Innovation NOR Flash, NAND Flash, and MCU have all developed well. By 2015, Zhaoyi Innovation has grown to a large -scale chip company with an annual sales of 1.189 billion yuan, a net profit of 155 million yuan, a ROE of 32%, and a comprehensive gross profit margin of 28.64%.
In August 2016, Zhaoyi Innovation was traded on the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. As soon as Zhaoyi Innovation went public, it became a fragrant citron in the A -share market. On the day of listing, it rose more than 50%. After that, the daily limit of 17 trading days after 17.
Zhaoyi Innovation from May 2016 to May 2017, the stock price trend, source: Huatai Securities
In 2019, Zhaoyi Innovation acquired Sili Wei — the world’s second largest optical under -screen fingerprint supplier after Huiding Technology. Later, Liwei became the core of Zhaoyi Innovation Sensor Division, and the product line began to integrate with Zhaoyi’s innovative product line. The final Zhaoyi innovation forms three major business departments with storage, MCU, and sensors.
Betting: Bai Moonlight DRAM
With a stable business, the listing also allowed Zhaoyi Innovation to have greater liquidity and sources of financing. It is time to embrace the “white moonlight” of the storage chip -DRAM.
DRAM has always been the most important type of storage chip in the storage market, occupying half of the storage market,
DRAM demand has a stable annual growth rate of 20 % above.
It is also the white moonlight that Chinese semiconductor people are pursuing and unable to. In 2018, China’s chip imports exceeded $ 300 billion, and this single category accounted for more than 20 % of them, but the localization rate was almost 0.
DRAM demand annual growth rate data source: Dramexchange, Guotai Junan Securities Research
As early as 1975, the Semiconductor Research Group of the Department of Physics at Peking University completed the three technical solutions: Silicon grid NMOS, Silicon grid PMOS, and aluminum grid NMOS. It adopted silicon grid NMOS technology in the 109 factory in the evening of the United States and Japan in the evening. One piece of 1K DRAM.
In the next 10 years, the Chinese Academy of Sciences successfully developed 4K, 16K, 64K DRAM, and successfully put into operation. In 1993, Wuxi Huaying used a 2.5 micrometer process to create the first 256k DRAM in mainland China (seven years later than South Korea).
But these products were not widely recognized in the end.
In the 1990s, NEC (Japan Electric) established two joint ventures in mainland China to produce DRAM. In 1991, Shougang NEC was established with Shougang, and Huahong NEC was established in a joint venture with Huahong Group. Shougang NEC NEC was produced with a 6 -inch 1.2 micron process from the beginning of 1995 to produce 4M DRAM (later upgraded to 16m). Later, due to DRAM’s global “calamity”, the DRAM industry was withdrawn in 2000 capital increase and expansion.
Hua Hong NEC began to use 8 -inch 0.35 micron process technology in September 1999 to produce the mainstream 64M DRAM memory chip at that time. Work, withdrawing from the DRAM industry.
In the 21st century, SMIC produced a large -scale mass production of 80 nanometer in 2006 to produce DRAM for Qimengda and Erbida. In the same year, Wuhan Xinxin was established and signed a custody agreement with SMIC. It was initially decided to produce DRAM. It was expected that the factory had not yet completed, and it encountered the global DRAM price collapse. Finally, Wuhan Xinxin Guo gave up DRAM production and turned to Nor Flash products. In 2008, SMIC’s final business adjustment withdrew the DRAM memory business.
Since then, mainland China has completely withdrawn from DRAM memory business.
In 2016, an opportunity to have a DRAM business appeared in front of Zhaoyi Innovation.
In 2016, Beijing Silicon Semiconductor Co., Ltd., which is the main business of DRAM and SRAM (hereinafter referred to as “Beijing Silicon Cheng”, is the parent company after the US ISSI storage privatization. The company wanted to acquire Zhaoyi in 2008 Innovation) is seeking the possibility of being acquired. In the first half of 2016, Beijing Silicon Rong ranked second in the world in the SRAM market, and DRAM’s product revenue ranked eighth in the world.
Faced with all the excellent opportunities to enter the DRAM market, how can Zhaoyi Innovation be willing to give up. It was only one month after listing. Zhaoyi Innovation immediately launched major issues to suspend trading and began to plan for the acquisition of Beijing Silicon. In February 2017, Zhaoyi Innovation officially issued an announcement that it was planned to acquire 100%equity of Beijing Silicon Cheng Silicon in the form of issuing shares and payment of cash, with a transaction price of 6.5 billion yuan.
But in August 2017, the transaction ended in failure due to the obstruction of the main supplier of ISSI. The supplier believes that Zhaoyi Innovation and ISSI will become its potentially powerful competitors after the reorganization of ISSI. It requires ISSI to sign a supplementary agreement with it, stipulating that when the transaction is completed, it has the right to terminate the relevant supply contract.
But this does not mean that Zhaoyi Innovation has since DRAM dreams.
In October 2017, Zhaoyi Innovation announced that he and Hefei Industrial Investment Holdings (Group) Co., Ltd. signed the “Cooperation Agreement on Real Estate R & D Projects”, which will carry out the R & D project of the 19NM process process memory (including DRAM). At 18 billion yuan, the entire project was conducted through the three operating entities of Hefei Changxin, Changxin Storage, and Ruili. The goal was to successfully develop and develop before December 31, 2018. Responsible for raising according to the proportion of 1: 4.
Since then, Zhaoyi Innovation has entered the DRAM market.
Changxin Storage Progress, Source: Guangfa Securities
In July 2018, in the critical period of DRAM chip products that were about to enter mass production, Zhu Yiming announced the abandonment of the position of the general manager of the listed company Zhaoyi Innovation. The company CEO, from the 72 -year -old Wang Ningguo, took over the management power of Hefei Changxin.
The patent issue of Changxin Storage has always been the focus of the outside world. The most difficult threshold for the industry to consensus DRAM chip has not been in technology, but it is difficult to avoid complex patent networks.
Zhu Yiming also announced the DRAM technology of Hefei Changxin Storage, which is from the bankruptcy German DRAM factory Qimonda (Qimonda), as well as former employees of Elplda Memory, a Japanese DRAM company, who closed and was acquired by Micron.
In December 2019, Changxin Storage Technology Co., Ltd. and Canadian company Quarterhill Inc., a subsidiary of Wi-Lan Inc., announced that Changxin Storage and Wilan All-Assets Polaris Innovations Limited Dram developed by the original memory manufacturer Qi Mengda Memory patent reached a patent license agreement and patent procurement agreement.
According to the patent license agreement, Changxin Storage obtained a large number of DRAM technology patents from Polaris, and these patents came from Polaris patent portfolio purchased from Qi Mengda’s parent company in June 2015.
Zhu Yiming also emphasized that, in addition to the source of technology, through independent research and development, Changxin Storage has already owned 16,000 patent applications and a total of more than 15,000 wafers.
In 2019, Zhaoyi Innovation has agreed with Hefei production investment and Changxin storage to invest 300 million yuan in the project investment in the method of alternative replacement claims to explore the various cooperation methods of the sales, foundry, and production of both parties in DRAM products. By the end of 2020, Hefei Changxin’s 12 -inch memory wafer will complete the goal of 40,000 per month/monthly capacity. Its DRAM chip is also certified by multiple chips of mainstream chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Hisilicon, MediaTek, Zhanrui
In September 2019, Zhaoyi Innovation was determined to increase the DRAM chip project of 4.324 billion yuan. Its self -developed DRAM products will be launched in the first half of 2021. The first batch of products facing the market is mainly traditional consumer electronics, such as IPTV.
On May 14, 2021, some investors asked Zhaoyi’s own brand DRAM’s target gross profit about the target gross profit? Zhaoyi Innovation answers that its company is mainly based on the niche market in DRAM’s deployment. It is aimed at the high gross profit margin, which can reach 30%and 40%of gross profit markets.
A dream, two backbone, and 100,000 US dollars, Zhaoyi Innovation was born in such a “humble” environment. Hard technology, noble people, and financing, the start of Zhaoyi’s innovation is simply the beginning of a successful entrepreneurial story.
Zhaoyi Innovative Product Layout and Market Space, Source: Gartner, IDC, Guosheng Electronics Calculation, Guosheng Securities Research Institute
Looking back at Zhaoyi’s innovation history, it is not difficult to summarize the major elements of its success:
1. Clear self -positioning and market prediction
In the early days of entrepreneurship, Zhu Yiming had a clear understanding of the company’s development. He once said: “Now, if Chinese memory manufacturers want to defeat companies like Samsung, they only have to work hard in a completely different direction. For example, Samsung has invested a lot of money in existing technology and equipment. The factory is worth billions of dollars. Therefore, Samsung cannot easily change its own research and development direction. This is the so -called ship that is difficult to turn around. Therefore,
If you always follow it, then you can never beat it. You can only have the hope of winning in new materials, new strategies, and new markets. “
Since then, every important choice of Zhao Yi Innovation undoubtedly follows the differentiated route to avoid conflicting with the giant. It will step up step by step in the model of “picking sand by the golden mountain” and slowly walk into this Jinshan.
2. Technology is king, product -based
It is undeniable that every core product line of Zhaoyi Innovation has its unique advantages. At the same time, Zhaoyi Innovation also knows the market laws of the semiconductor industry. A explosive product is not enough to support the company’s long -term development, and multi -products and multi -category can meet the multiple needs of the market. Through self -research, mergers and acquisitions, Zhaoyi Innovation finally set up the three major business departments with storage, MCU, and sensors as its core.
3. Use resources to make up for a short board
Zhaoyi Innovation has insistence, and he also understands what his shortcomings. The company adopts Fabless (responsible for the circuit design and sales of the chip; outsourcing production, testing, packaging and other links) production models, although it can make full use of the domestic complete semiconductor electronic industry chain to avoid the investment of major assets, focus on the design and energy of the chip and the design of the chip and the design of the chip and the design and the design of the chip Development and flexibly cope with market competition.
But a model also means that the security of craftsmanship and supply chain will be subject to people.
Whether it is DRAM or NAND, it is advanced craftsmanship and scale. Observing the composition of the global memory industry, Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron and other IDM manufacturers have their own wafer manufacturers and seals and testing plants. The industrial layout is quite complete.
Zhaoyi Innovation must also add a security lock on the supply chain. To this end, Zhaoyi Innovation has acquired 11%of the equity of SMIC in major foundries. Nowadays, the cooperation with Changxin Storage has also taken the way of virtual IDM.
The growth of Zhaoyi innovation is closely related to the development of China’s electronic market and storage industry. Through Zhaoyi Innovation, we can see how Chinese private enterprises travel their own way in the almost blank Chinese storage chip market, and we can see that Chinese semiconductor people break through foreign monopolies and realize domestic storage self -reliance.
Today, Zhaoyi Innovation is opening the curtain of the DRAM battlefield, and began to open up a new market in the smart Internet of Things world with a combination of “memory+controller+sensor”. After that, how will it ride the waves? We wait and see.
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