Chinese IC manufacturer Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corporation ("HLMC") gave a presentation on its outlook for the Internet of Things (IoT) market and the wide application of its specialty technology at the 2014 China Semiconductor Industry Association IC Design Branch Annual Conference ("ICCAD"), which was recently held at Hong Kong Science Park.
As a keynote speaker at the event, Henry Liu, senior director of marketing at HLMC, said, "With the development of smart automotive, smart grid, smart home and smart medical services, among other sectors, coupled with the pursuit among the general population of a simpler lifestyle and more efficient management of one’s day to day affairs, IoT has become the new hot topic of the market. The development of the market is set to further promote the prosperity of the semiconductor industry as semiconductor components are the basic core and data gateway of IoT equipment."
According to Cisco IBSG, IoT connections worldwide are expected to reach 50 billion units, a milestone that is expected to have a profound impact on both consumers and vendors around the world. Currently, many of the world’s leading IC producers are accelerating expansion into the IoT sector in preparation for building their own ecosystem.
As one of the most advanced 12-inch wafer foundries in mainland China, HLMC’s technology starts from 55nm technology node and mainly covers 55nm LP, 40nm LP and 28nm LP as well as 55nm HV, 55nm eFlash and specialty technology. HLMC provides customers with low-cost wafer foundry solutions. During the annual event, Chris Shao, senior director of Technology Development Division 1 at HLMC, shared features of the 55nm embedded flash technology with attendees. The 55nm embedded flash technology, one of the company’s core process platforms, provides the following advantages:
- Core device: 1.2V; IO device: 2.5V or 5V; low working voltage and power consumption
- Embedded SONOS technology based on standard COMS process without any need to change features and model of standard device
- Complete retention of 55nm low power logic process-based IP bank
- Only three additional layers of photomask are required for application of SONOS technology based on standard CMOS process, compared with 9-12 layers when using others processes, lowering manufacturing costs
- Continuous downscaling to more advanced process nodes
Looking back at the year of 2014, the IC manufacturing industry has made several great achievements: the industry's sub-sector wafer foundry is on track to have a record year in terms of output value, as a result of the introduction of new mobile communication products and demands for special manufacturing processes used for IoT devices. The semiconductor facilities benefitting from IoT are expected to grow more rapidly than the overall semiconductor industry. Cisco IBSG estimates that 50 billion IoT products will be in existence by 2020, generating an output value of USD 14.4 trillion. Henry Liu stressed that HLMC is optimistic about the future of IoT and expressed confidence that the Company's excellent manufacturing abilities and reliable quality management will serve to assure that it will be able to provide Chinese IC designers as well as customers worldwide with low-cost wafer foundry solutions for the IoT applications sector, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, set-top boxes, banking cards and automotive electronics.