The AB side of domestic semiconductor development, Xiaomi goes to the left, Ali goes to the right

The AB side of domestic semiconductor development, Xiaomi goes to the left, Ali goes to the right

Ali and Xiaomi, an e-commerce giant and a mobile phone giant, were originally two parallel lines that never crossed until they broke into the user’s room.

A small smart speaker made it difficult for Ali and Xiaomi, who had few intersections, to fight. The reason is that both parties value the market behind smart speakers.

There is no doubt that with the development of the Internet, smart speakers, like mobile phones, have become an important center of people’s smart homes, which represent the giants’ scramble for the entrance of smart homes.

Xiaomi’s bumpy road to core

Whether it is the Internet or the Internet of Things, chips are always the cornerstone of the survival of these industries. Without chips, everything is a flower in the mirror and the moon in the water. On the road of chip independence, the two giants have chosen different paths.

Xiaomi’s original intention was to make its own cores. At the beginning, it cooperated with Leadcore, a subsidiary of Datang, to jointly develop chips. Later, the R&D team of Xiaomi’s first chip, the Surging S1, basically came from Leadcore.

The appearance of the Surging S1 is not glamorous, but what is ushered in is that consumers do not buy it, and it is quickly hidden by Xiaomi. Although Huami Technology, a subsidiary of Xiaomi, released the first artificial intelligence chip “Huangshan No. 1” in the global smart wearable field, the closely watched Surging S2 failed to appear in everyone’s sight, just when everyone thought Xiaomi When giving up chips, Xiaomi laid out the chip industry in another way.

Xiaomi’s circle of friends

In the investment circle, Lei Jun is undoubtedly a successful investor. According to Lei Jun’s own revelations, one-third of the projects he invested were ultimately successful. He once admitted that the most basic principle as an investor is not to invest in unfamiliar fields.

In 2017, Xiaomi established the Changjiang Xiaomi Industry Fund with a scale of 12 billion. The fund will be used to support the business expansion of Xiaomi and Xiaomi ecological chain enterprises, mainly to invest in related industries such as semiconductors and intelligent manufacturing.

According to public data, in the past three years, the Changjiang Xiaomi Industrial Fund has invested in 34 companies, covering radio frequency, Wi-Fi 6 routing chips, fast charging chips, audio and Display-related chips, and batteries, etc. many fields.

The AB side of domestic semiconductor development, Xiaomi goes to the left, Ali goes to the right

Global semiconductor Observation and Arrangement

Two magic weapons for Xiaomi’s investment

It can be seen from Xiaomi’s investment that it has always followed two dark lines. The first and always stand with the most knowledgeable group of people in the industry. Xiaomi, GAC, and Gree invested in Guanyu Battery. Since GAC is a car company, Gree and Zhuhai Yinlong have various connections that are constantly arguing and chaotic, so it is safer to choose Guanyu Battery with these two companies.

In the field of Display panels, BOE and Visionox are undoubtedly the industry authorities. BOE is already a leader in the domestic Panel industry, while Visionox is a dark horse. It relies on flexible screens to break into the supply chain of Huawei and Xiaomi, and has become a domestic panel industry that cannot be ignored. important power.

The AB side of domestic semiconductor development, Xiaomi goes to the left, Ali goes to the right

Yunyinggu Technology is mainly engaged in the research and development of display technology, IP authorization, and the production and sales of display driver chips/circuit boards. It is one of the few companies in China that has mastered core patents. With the endorsement of BOE and Visionox, Xiaomi invests in cloud computing. The risks posed by Ingoal Technology are minimized.

Lingming Electronics is a leading domestic company that develops and manufactures high-performance photoelectric sensor chips, and OFILM is the absolute leader in the global camera module industry. Xiaomi follows industry leaders like OFILM to invest in Lingming Electronics, and naturally there will be no big mistakes.

Another line of Xiaomi’s investment is to follow industrial synergies.

Long before the establishment of the Changjiang Xiaomi Industry Fund, Xiaomi has invested in many semiconductor companies, such as Espressif Technology, Jingchen Semiconductor, and VeriSilicon Microelectronics listed on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, all of which have received investment from Xiaomi.

Investing in these companies has obvious industrial synergies for Xiaomi.

First of all, Espressif is the main chip supplier of Xiaomi IoT devices; Jingchen Semiconductor mainly develops multimedia processing chips for IP set-top boxes, smart TVs and smart home products; VeriSilicon is used in wearable devices, smart home and automotive electronics, etc. A variety of terminal applications have related service support, and the products and technologies of these companies are urgently needed by Xiaomi’s entire IoT industry chain.

With the establishment of the Changjiang Xiaomi Industry Fund, Xiaomi, together with VeriSilicon Microelectronics and Jingchen, invested in Xinlai Technology. This company is mainly committed to the development of processor core IP of the RISC-V architecture and its wide application in the AIoT era. .

Xiaomi, its Zimi and OPPO jointly invested in Nanxin Semiconductor. This company focuses on the fields of charging, protection and power management related to lithium batteries. The annual shipment of chips has reached hundreds of millions, and it has currently supplied Xiaomi and Huawei. , Xinwangda and other manufacturers.

Xiaomi meets Huawei and Ali

In addition, Huawei and Ali were also found in Xiaomi’s investment enterprises. The intersection between Xiaomi and Huawei mainly focuses on RF chips and CIS image sensors. The two giants jointly invested in Smartway, a local CIS image sensor company that has made great achievements in the field of security monitoring applications in recent years, and has its own Unique technical advantages.

In the field of radio frequency, Onray Micro and Haoda Electronics have also won the favor of Xiaomi and Huawei. Angrun Micro is mainly a supplier of RF front-end chips and RF SoC chips, with an annual shipment of 700 million chips. Haoda Electronics is a filter manufacturer whose products are widely used in mobile phones, communication base stations, automotive electronics and other the field of radio frequency communication.

There are two cross-investment projects between Xiaomi and Ali. One is Hengxuan Technology, which is a company mainly focusing on smart audio SoC chips. It ranks among the top three in the field of smart voice headset chips. The outbreak made Xiaomi and Ali both optimistic about this company.

Image source: Hengxuan Technology official website

Aojie Technology was founded in 2015 by Dai Baojia. Dai Baojia founded RDA before that, and then sold it to Ziguang, so the main competitors are Ziguang Zhanrui. Aojie Technology is a mobile intelligent communication terminal SoC, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, satellite navigation and other consumer electronics chip platform companies.

Ali’s investment logic

Like Xiaomi, Ali is also preparing for the arrival of the Internet of Things early. Unlike Xiaomi’s pure investment, Ali focuses on both investment and self-research on the chip road.

Image source: Global Semiconductor Observatory

In terms of investing in chips, Ali has not cast a wide net like Xiaomi. In recent years, there have been fewer than 10 related companies, and they are mainly in artificial intelligence. Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud service provider in China. The third place in the world, and on this road, it needs to be autonomous and controllable, and naturally it needs the blessing of related companies.

From the perspective of Alibaba’s investment companies, Barefoot focuses on network communications, Cambrian focuses on server and mobile phone business, Shenjian Technology and Kneron focus on smart home and smart security, and Aojie Technology focuses on smart terminals. These companies It can help Ali to open up the industrial chain of IOT from cloud to terminal, so as to realize the integration of terminal and cloud.

Another way for Ali in the chip industry is self-research. Since 2015, Ali has carried out in-depth cooperation with Zhongtian Micro, and later directly acquired Zhongtian Micro’s self-developed Ali-NPU, and then integrated Zhongtian Micro and Dharma Institute to establish Pingtou Ge Semiconductor.

What Pingtou Semiconductor wants to build is an intelligent networking chip platform for automobiles, home appliances, industry and many other industries. At present, it mainly develops two types of chips: one is the MPU (microprocessor) for neural networks, and the other is is an embedded chip.

Image source: Pingtouge Semiconductor official website

In the more than two years since its establishment, Pingtou has launched the Xuantie series, Hanguang 800, and Wujian SoC platforms, and the prototype of the device-cloud integrated full-stack chip product family has already appeared.

The AB side of domestic semiconductor development

Xiaomi and Ali attach so much importance to the layout of the chip industry. The core point is that they want to take the initiative of the Internet of Things in their own hands.

However, as a hardware manufacturer, Xiaomi’s layout focuses more on hardware, and has attracted many partners to invest together to build an ecosystem. Alibaba focuses on the cloud, mainly because it needs to serve its core business – e-commerce business, and “Alibaba Cloud” has become the “cornerstone” of Alibaba’s business empire.

From the two companies of Xiaomi and Ali, we can also see the development of domestic semiconductors. Xiaomi represents a benign investment in domestic semiconductors. Following the leading companies in the industry, it invests in excellent entrepreneurial teams in subdivided industries, which greatly reduces the risk of failure, and can use funds where it is most needed. The advantages of the chain support entrepreneurial teams, form upstream and downstream synergies, and allow domestic cores to thrive.

Starting from its own actual needs, Ali does not build cores for the sake of cores. All investments serve its core business. On the other hand, while investing, it also lays out the chip design industry in person, and firmly controls the core technology in its own hands. , accumulating strength for the arrival of the next industrial revolution.

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