Obviously, these reports are misleading, let Xiaobian take you to know about Huawei's optical chip factory.
What does the optical chip factory produce?
First of all, it must be clear that according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics Association (WSTS), the global semiconductor industry is divided into four sub-areas, namely integrated circuits, optoelectronics, discrete devices and sensors, in which optoelectronics are followed by integrated circuits. In the second largest segment, the market size accounts for 7% to 10% of the total semiconductor industry.
In other words, optoelectronics really belongs to the important branch of the semiconductor industry, but the chips we refer to generally refer to integrated circuits, including CPUs and GPUs with high attention.Mobile phoneDigital and analog chips such as processors. therefore,Huawei's optical chip factory in the UK is not going to grab the market of TSMC or SMIC, nor can it produce the Hess Kirin processor.
Next, let's take a look at this light film factory in the UK. In early January, British media reported that Huawei spent 37.5 million pounds (about 330 million yuan), from the US biotechnology company NWBio bought a piece of land in Sawston, South Cambridge, England, covering 550 acres (about 223 hectares, 2.23 million Square meters), to build a new UK R&D center. As part of the transaction, NWBio will lease back an area of approximately 8,700 square meters to Huawei for a period of 20 years.
However, although Huawei has just bought 550 acres of land in the UK, about 100 acres can be used to build new parks in addition to the undevelopable farmland.
In an interview with the BBC, Ren Zhengfei said: "In the UK, we have a total of 1,500 employees, and there are 7,500 jobs created directly and indirectly.We have established research centers in Edinburgh, Bristol and Lipswich, UK, and recently we are building a production center for optical chips in Cambridge.And a training center was established in Birmingham..”
Optical chips are the core products of optoelectronic technology, and there are specific optical chip requirements in different fields. The optical chip mentioned by Ren Zhengfei obviously refers to an optical communication chip. The optical communication chip is a highly integrated component including a laser, a modulator, a coupler, a beam splitter, a wavelength division multiplexer, a detector, and the like.
“Our factory in the UK is an optical switch chip.” Ren Zhengfei also revealed the types of chips that will be produced by Huawei's optical chip factory in the UK.As for the details of the optical switch chips of Huawei's UK optical chip market, it is necessary to wait for more news exposure.
Why is it built in the UK?
When you see this, many people should be confused.Why should Huawei build a light chip factory in the UK? We look for answers to this question from three perspectives.Ren Zhengfei accepted the BBC interview. After launching a series of attacks on Huawei in the United States, in addition to commercial aspects, under the pressure of the United States, many American and British elite universities such as Stanford and Oxford canceled the contact with Huawei and refused to accept Huawei funding.
Therefore in an interviewRen Zhengfei said: "We build factories in order to export to many countries in the future. Our UK factory can be monitored by the UK, and the UK-monitored chips are sold to Western countries. China also produces chips, which may only be sold to China and some related can be accepted. s country."
Ren Zhengfei also mentioned that Europe is leading the world in optics, photons and quantum exchange on optical chips.Europe's lead in optical chips and Huawei's early optimism about the optical chip market is another reason.As early as 2012, Huawei acquired the British Integrated Optoelectronics Corporation (CIP) from the East England Economic Development Agency (EEDA), a leading global optoelectronics research laboratory. This is considered part of Huawei's plan to strengthen its R&D resources in the UK by establishing research centers. According to an official statement, this will greatly enhance Huawei's capabilities in optical research and development.
In 2013, Huawei acquired the Caliopa, which is mainly engaged in the development of optical modules for silicon photonics technology for the data communication and telecommunications market in Ghent, Belgium. According to the official website at the time, Caliopa emphasized that its optical modules are smaller and lower power consumption.
There is another reason that cannot be ignored. Huawei has achieved success in the European market and its success in the UK is even more dazzling.In 2001, Huawei opened an office in the UK. According to a survey released by the Oxford Economic Research Institute in the United Kingdom, Huawei added 7,386 jobs in the UK through three channels. The company procured products and services in 15 regions of the UK. The distributors are all over the UK and are typical British “big customers” and “big employers”.
At the end of 2017, Huawei has invested 2 billion pounds (about 2.34 billion US dollars) in the UK and plans to invest another 3 billion pounds (about 3.96 billion US dollars) in the next five years. Huawei claims to have hired 1,500 employees in the UK and supports 7,500 employees through its supply chain.
Optical chip is one of the keys to winning in Huawei's 5G era
At this point, there is another very critical question. Why did Huawei start to lay out and invest in optical chips very early? According to the "China Optoelectronic Device Industry Technology Development Roadmap (2018-2022)" issued by the China Electronic Components Industry Association, domestic enterprises currently only have lasers, detectors, modulator chips and PLCs with a rate of 10 Gb/s and below. The manufacturing process of the AWG chip and the design, sealing and testing capabilities of the supporting IC.There is still a big gap between the overall level and international benchmarking companies, especially the high-end chip capability is more than 1-2 generations behind the developed countries. In terms of manufacturing, China's optoelectronic chip chip processing relies heavily on the United States, Singapore, Canada and other countries.
It can be seen that compared with developed countries, China's optoelectronics industry generally presents a structure of “strong application, weak technology, thick market and thin profit”. High-end chips rely heavily on Broadcom, Mitsubishi and other US and Japanese companies. inrouterIn the core construction cost of optical networks such as base stations, transmission systems, and access networks, the cost of optical components accounts for as much as 60-80%. Therefore, in addition to Huawei, Bonfire, ZTE, and Datang, they are already actively deploying optical communication chips.
Of course, the strength of Chinese companies in the field of optical communication chips is not only to achieve self-control, but the arrival of 5G also makes the value of optical chips more prominent. According to the report of Changjiang Securities, the large-scale construction of 5G base stations may bring over 2 billion US dollars of optical chip market space, which is 2.8 times that of 4G era. In addition, the data center market demand continues to blow out, and the future growth of optical chips in the consumer electronics market is also worth looking forward to.
Since the optical module is the most important part of the 5G, in the long run, for the optical module or related optical chip company, if you want to obtain excess profits in the 5G era, or the valuation premium, you must layout the upstream chip and core device. And extending, constantly building barriers to competition.
From this, we can understand why Huawei has laid out optical chips very early, and Ren Zhengfei is also very confident about Huawei's 5G technology. In an interview, he said: "In fact, we have a lot of technology far ahead of Western companies, not only 5G optical switching, optical chips... These huge quantities are very very complicated and difficult technology, and their peers will be clearer. ""
In December last year, Huawei officially stated that it has made significant progress in researching optical transmission chips. Gao Tao, president of Huawei's Ethernet and telecom Ethernet product line, said: "With the joint efforts of upstream and downstream manufacturers in the industry chain, 50G PAM4 technology has matured. Huawei's related products based on 50G PAM4 technology have been officially released. 50GE is the top three in China. The 5G bearer network pilot has been deployed on a scale. The overseas operators have generally recognized the 50GE technology. Currently, Huawei has obtained more than ten commercial contracts, and the future market space is worth looking forward to. "
Huawei said that the upstream and downstream partners of the industry chain in the forum have expressed their confidence in the prospect of the 50G PAM4 industry, and said that the 50G PAM4 productization is ready, which can lay a solid industrial foundation for 5G bearer scale commercialization.
At a time when the attention of the chip continues to increase, we still need to remember that the development process of the chip is extremely complicated, not only requires technical accumulation, but also requires a large investment, and the R&D and production cycle are also long, especially for high-end chips. The outside world needs to maintain a rational and objective attitude, and capital needs to be patient.