In the past year, the global core shortage anxiety has evolved from key industries such as automobiles and electronic consumption into a “big flood” covering the upstream and downstream industry chains and affecting consumers around the world.

For areas that rely heavily on chips, 2021 will be a year of almost “no top” for supply cuts. The auto industry has seen production cuts, shut down some factories, and reduced shipments. Smartphone manufacturers are also stuck in a shortage of chips, and both product development and shipment speed have been affected.

As the foundry production capacity focuses on high-value, advanced process chips, the pressure of lack of cores is further transmitted to other industries.

Goldman Sachs research shows that as many as 169 industries around the world have been hit to some extent by chip shortages, including everything from steel products and concrete production to air-conditioning manufacturing and beer production. Some small and medium-sized science and technology enterprises in Shenzhen and Dongguan, such as TWS headset manufacturers and Bluetooth interconnection manufacturers, cannot withstand the pressure of chip shortages or skyrocketing prices, and many close down.

In 2021, the global core shortage has become a monstrous flood, and it will strike at a visible speed, affecting the entire society and everyone’s life.

As far as the country is concerned, the chaos caused by the lack of cores needs to be regulated.

Chips that are rare and expensive are beginning to attract the attention of criminals. In the United States, on October 29, 2021, Nvidia partner EVGA claimed that a shipment of EVGA GeForce RTX30 series graphics cards was stolen en route from San Francisco to a distribution center in Southern California. As early as August 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation of China announced that it would file an investigation into auto chip dealers suspected of price gouging, and investigate and punish illegal acts such as hoarding, price gouging, and collusion to raise prices.

At the same time, the prolonged economic recovery and changes in the situation due to the lack of cores also urgently require the participation and reform of national forces. For example, the South Korean semiconductor industry, which once rose due to the support of the United States, also has divergent interests. The “Korea Times” believes that South Korean chip companies are actually facing the “coercion” of the U.S. “Defense Production Act”; China’s “localized substitution” of chips will start slowly with the acceleration of new infrastructure and digital economy in 2021.

For individuals, chips are no longer just political topics and discussions such as “discontinued supply” and “entity list”. As the ultimate bearer of costs and the end user of chips, the impact of global chip shortages in 2021 will begin to really affect us. daily life.

Some consumers are unable to mention the car because the car manufacturer cannot produce it, and some have to accept the operation of reducing the distribution; the shipping speed of new mobile phones and the range of marketing discounts are much smaller, which reduces the mobile phone consumers’ interest. Desire to change phones; while the production capacity of MCU, power management chips, Wi-Fi chips, etc. has been squeezed, which has also led to more electronic functional products rising in price, and the cost increase in the chip industry chain has been transmitted to end consumers.

You may ask, since the core shortage has been going on for more than a year, has the world not found a solution until now?

Treating the core is like treating water.

The chip semiconductor industry, which has a strong periodicity, is also full of various entanglements and trade-offs just like the management of floods.

Too much water will lead to flooding, and too little water will lead to drought. In the chip field, production capacity often needs to be deployed in advance by foundries. Counter-cyclical construction means that there are many uncertain factors.

In 2021, fabs around the world are operating at almost full capacity. However, as TSMC Chairman Liu Deyin said, there are a large number of repeated orders, “28 nanometers seem to be in short supply now, but in fact global production capacity is still greater than demand.” If we blindly build new factories to expand production capacity, the production line will not be saturated in the future.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) believes that the chip supply will achieve a supply balance in mid-2022, and by 2023, there may be excess chip capacity, that is, oversupply.

Difficulties and obstacles, and the phenomenon of hurdles. The proposition of global lack of core, just like the “Han” (kǎn) hexagram, is full of low-lying dilemmas, hidden dangers, and layers of dangers.

The time of 2021 alone may not be enough to make earth-shaking changes in the world semiconductor structure, but what methods and ideas China needs to use to build bridges and build roads and resolve the chip crisis, 2021 has actually given us enough inspiration.

Year of the Flood: How big is the impact of missing cores?

In the Bible, there is a flood to destroy the world. In ancient China, Yu Yu controlled the flood. The flood is one of the large-scale disasters that human beings have long feared. In 2021, the “global chip shortage” that occurred in the digital world will engulf one industry after another like a flood, turning the whole world into a large anxiety scene. Once glamorous companies are under the threat of chip shortages and price increases into a brutal fight.

Today, the chip shortage has affected several industries. Among them, the auto industry, whose chip cost accounts for 4.7% of the industry’s GDP, bears the brunt.

The production of modern cars involves dozens of microcontrollers, and the number of electronic components and chips in the entire vehicle is very high. Jiang Jian, President of Bosch China, once shared that the current traditional internal combustion engine vehicles use about 100 to 200 semiconductor chips, and the chips used in new energy vehicles increase by 5 times compared with traditional fuel vehicles. And as long as one chip is out of supply, the vehicle cannot be manufactured.

Since the beginning of this year, many multinational auto giants such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, and Honda, as well as new car-making forces such as Weilai and Ideal, have been affected by the shortage of chips, resulting in suspension of production, reduction of distribution, and difficulty in picking up cars. An auto executive said on Weibo: “The show cars in the showroom are almost sold out, so we can only put models.”

According to data released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), in July and August this year, European new car registrations fell by 24% and 18% year-on-year, respectively, which was the largest two-month decline since the end of the euro zone economic crisis in 2013. . Auto sales in China in 2021 are also negative due to lower production.

Another particularly nervous, is the consumer electronics industry.

The sales of chips used in smartphones accounted for 26%, ranking first in the field of chip applications. With the popularization of 5G, the dependence of mobile phone performance on advanced manufacturing processes, and the development trend of SoC chips, the number of chips required and the process accuracy have increased, all of which have challenged the limited production capacity and directly affected smartphone manufacturers.

According to Digitimes, Apple planned to purchase 5G baseband chips from Qualcomm and Samsung, but was rejected by both. Samsung responded that the supply was insufficient.

没有高制程5G芯片,就意味着智能手机新品无法供货,市场面前只有对手。加上华为受限于5G芯片采购,相当于让出了一个巨大的高端手机市场份额,2021年大量手机厂商都开始未雨绸缪,出现了囤积芯片的现象。根据《日经亚洲》报道,小米2021年对供应商提出了采购高达2.4亿台手机对应配件的计划,而小米2020年全球出货量是1.46亿台,其他厂商也如法炮制,核心芯片的需求,挤占了代工厂的产能。

为了优先保证手机芯片的供应,又进一步影响了其他芯片,如电源管理芯片、驱动芯片、射频芯片等的生产,进而使得大量网通产品涨价或告急。高盛的研究报告认为,在芯片上的花费超过行业GDP1%的产业,都将受到芯片短缺的影响。

比如,因为高通将芯片产能分配给手机芯片,进而影响了一款Wi-Fi芯片的生产,导致许多国内无人机厂商开始缺芯;而被认为是低附加值的MCU微控制器,小到智能家电,大到智能制造设备、汽车保障系统,几乎都有MCU的身影,也“物以稀为贵”,价格增长了几十倍,从几毛钱炒到近10元,汽车MCU芯片则高达5美元左右,最终成本都将层层传递到终端消费市场,你我都是买单人。

祸事之因:谁制造了全球缺芯?

如果说“实体清单”还是出于情怀的义愤填膺,那么2021年全球缺芯导致的涨价伤钱就是每个人的切身之痛了。而前者还可以将美国政客作为罪魁祸首,但到了2021年,局面就变得非常复杂了。

全球缺芯,犹如大禹治水,要面对的是一个复杂的、充满了变数和不可控因素的庞大系统。

首先是天灾。

2021年,持续发生的自然灾害与疫情反复,都在延迟这芯片半导体的产能恢复。2021年年初,美国得克萨斯州遭遇冬季风暴袭击,三星电子、恩智浦和英飞凌等多家半导体在奥斯汀附近的工厂一度被迫停工;2月,日本发生7.3级地震,影响了两大硅晶圆Wafer厂信越和SUMCO厂房;3月,日本汽车芯片主力供应商瑞萨电子发生火灾,不得不停产一个月;5月富士康、立讯精密、三星电子等企业都关闭了位于越南的工厂;6月,全球50多家企业在马来西亚的分厂因疫情全部停工,当地封测产能占据全球封测产能的13%;8月,马来西亚新冠疫情反复,部分芯片工厂停工,给博世多个系统的芯片都造成了大量影响,特斯拉的车辆交付时间也因此延长……

2021年,这些发生在产业链关键环节与区域的天灾,直接加剧了全球缺芯的紧张状态。

其次是人祸。

如果说天灾是意外,那么动荡的政治局面和企业的哄抢行为,则是形势进一步严峻的推手。

一方面,受美国制裁的影响,手机厂商不得不加大囤芯力度,导致需求量大幅上升。此外,有些企业为了确保不断供,向两个或两个以上的工厂下相同的订单,又在一个工厂交付之后,取消另一家工厂的订单,也就是台积电所说的“重复订单”,直接影响了代工厂的排产计划,很难计算出订单积压总量,工厂于是优先将产能分配给高批量订单和利润更高的订单,比如高通在2021投资者大会宣布,全方位发力汽车领域。

半导体头部厂商纷纷发力汽车领域,又导致了小众芯片的缺货和涨价。

2021年8月,中国市场监管总局依法对上海锲特电子有限公司、上海诚胜实业有限公司、深圳市誉畅科技有限公司三家汽车芯片经销企业哄抬汽车芯片价格行为共处250万元罚款,就是因为这三家企业大幅加价销售部分汽车芯片,将进价不到10元的芯片,以400多元的高价销售,扰乱市场价格的同时,又进一步制造了紧张情绪,加剧恐慌性备货。

当然,除了骂老天爷、骂无良政客、骂市场掮客,我们还必须接受一个事实,那就是半导体的行业规律和市场供需规律,决定了芯片就是会涨价的。

数字经济以及线上生活,笔记本电脑、家用网络设备等电子产品的销量大幅增长,智能家居、IOT、智能指纹门、农业无人机、电子围栏等传统设备的联网化、智能化需求,元宇宙带动VR/AR等设备的流行,这些电子产品的规模扩大,会导致芯片需求成倍增长,产能有限的前提下价格自然会上涨。比如2021年,应用在中低端手机的500万像素和800万像素的CIS芯片,就出现了严重短缺。

与无限扩大的终端需求相比,半导体产能本身就灵活性较低。

无论是IDM(
IntegratedDeviceManufacture)还是Foundry(代工厂),其产能利用率的弹性都是相对有限的,一般会维持在80%以上,目前都已经达到100%。而扩大产能需要新建厂,投资动辄高达百亿,还需要1-2年的成熟运营期,做出扩张的决策并不容易,直接导致短期内无法跟上市场需求。

比如大部分汽车控制芯片、5G射频芯片、物联网设备芯片,都是采用8英寸晶圆制造的,但全球8英寸晶圆产线数量不断减少,新建晶圆厂往往会选择能生产先进制程的12英寸晶圆,这就导致成熟制程芯片产能本身就不足。因此,IDC认为由于成熟工艺技术的材料成本和机会成本,芯片价格还会继续上升。

(台积电2021年二季度各制程所占营收比例)

总的来说,前所未有的全球缺芯是多重因素叠加的结果,既有不可预测的天灾人祸,也是半导体产业链周期性、协作性导致的必然。

方舟之路:中国芯片的堤坝与桥梁

在浩浩汤汤的缺芯洪水面前,几乎所有半导体区位都在尝试筑起堤坝。

2021年6月,美国参议院通过《美国芯片法案》,要求美国政府提供数百亿美元支持半导体行业在美国的发展。9月末,美国又召开了全球芯片业峰会,英特尔、台积电、苹果、微软、三星电子和福特等企业代表参与了此次会议,寻求化解芯片短缺局面的方法。欧盟则在《数字罗盘计划》后,推出欧洲芯片法案,提高该区域芯片的自给自足能力。

中国在2021的十四五开局之年,提出了2025年产业规模目标,各地都制定了相关集成电路产业规划,国家大基金二期向晶圆制造企业投入资金超过400亿。在这么多动作面前,中国缺芯问题能缓解吗?

如果将缺芯看作是大禹治水,那么疏通河道的方向主要有三个。

1.自研。

要从根本上解决缺芯问题,只能走上芯片自研自立之路。

以特斯拉为例,之所以能够在2021年全球缺芯的大背景下,依然能够取得不错的市场成绩,没有被芯片耽误,正是因为其具备自研芯片的能力,从而快速响应市场变化,而不是被动等待供应商的配合。

2021年,我们可以看到许多车企和手机厂商都开始选择自研。上汽与英飞凌联手成立上汽英飞凌,主攻车规级IGBT芯片;理想和蔚来也搭建了自动驾驶团队,开始自动驾驶芯片自研进程。手机厂商中,小米、OPPO、vivo等也相继公布了自研芯片。百度昆仑2宣布量产,字节跳动入股多家半导体公司。与行业需求和特质相结合的中国造芯之路,已经迈出了坚实的一步。

2.合作。

中国半导体终要走上独自行走的道路,但必须承认的是,半导体产业链已经在事实上全球同呼吸、共命运,很多关键环节在短时间内无法替代。法国半导体材料大厂Soitec的首席执行官保罗·布尔德就认为,即使欧洲有能力建立一个重要的、具有自主权的芯片供应系统,但它不一定能运作起来,需要在世界其他地区同样得到支持才行。

目前,中国半导体产业在整体设计、高制程制造等方面还与头部有着相当的差距,比如5纳米制程的SoC芯片、存储芯片的规模化量产,必须通过头部代工厂完成,光刻机等重要设备、材料的攻克也非一朝一夕。就算有一天解决了本土的产能危机,芯片作为强周期产品,未来如果本地市场无法消化多余产能,同样会让本土半导体企业面临风险,所以中国半导体不可能、也不应该闭门造车,需要联合全球上下游产业一起缓解缺芯问题。

如何确保中国企业能够快速了解供应链变化,这就要求提升谈判能力,确保优先供应与价格稳定。有业内人士曾告诉我们,这一方面要求中国半导体行业集中精力办大事,在某些关键产业环节上也能做到“卡别人脖子”,培育出拥有谈判权的头部公司;此外,中国庞大的市场规模也能吸引海外相关企业作为同盟,共同创新、合作共赢。

3.另辟蹊径。

之所以中国芯片并不悲观,正是因为芯片产业链的全球性与规模效应,只要有足够大的市场和良性的商业循环,总有一天能够追平甚至引领全球半导体产业发展。

而具体到商业机遇上,资金投入必须有的放矢,尽快形成中国半导体产业的核心优势与“拳头产品”,跻身世界半导体格局的重要一席。那么,哪些市场会是中国的机遇呢?

1.AI计算。目前,与AI计算相关的芯片产品极度短缺,比如被犯罪分子盯上的GPU就适用于AI训练和推理。此外,中国产业智能化的转型升级也带来了大量AI芯片的需求,清华大学的魏少军教授曾提出,未来AI芯片需要一个通用的、高效能的深度学习引擎来驱动,芯片架构的创新在于软件定义芯片,或者称粗粒度可重构架构(CGRA),要同时兼顾硬件可编程性和软件可编程性。这恰好可以充分发挥中国在AI领域的领先优势,弥补硬件基础层的短板。

2.工业互联网。中国千行百业的数智化转型,其中工业互联网是核心场景之一,存在大量的芯片需求,尤其是一些低成本、成熟制程的工业芯片。比如德州仪器的模拟芯片就有十几万的SKU,其中一些长尾类的小众芯片,经过中国市场的规模放大,足以支撑起可观利润,中国半导体产业链的能力完全可以做到,也更熟悉本土企业的个性化、差异化需求,从而持续打开市场空间与商业价值,形成良性循环。

中国人认为《坎卦》的解决之道,是“维心亨,行有尚”,意思是内心不畏艰险,用坚定刚毅的行为突破重重险难。在缺芯这场“洪水”中,每一个人、每一个企业、每一个国家都无法独善其身,也都能够参与到“自救”当中。

中国半导体的2021,是在为未来造桥修路;而你我的每一次选择,也是在为中国芯片的堤坝添砖加瓦。或许在不远的将来,我们就能够突破重重险阻,看到芯片供需的水旱从人,数字经济的沃野千里。

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