China’s LED driver ICs on the rise

Chinese manufacturers of power management ICs (PMICs) want to develop LED driver ICs that leverage mature technology. China’s LCD driver IC suppliers have technologically caught up with international players and thus improved their global competitiveness. With the global LED lighting manufacturing industry continuing to take root in China, the production value of LED driver ICs in China is likely to increase further accordingly.

According to LEDinside, the global LED display market was US$6.335 billion in 2019, with the Chinese market accounting for the highest proportion at 48.8%.

Luminous power semiconductor

Bright Power Semiconductor is a leading IC design company for analog and mixed-signal ICs. Its portfolios include LED driver ICs, motor driver ICs, and AC/DC and DC-DC PMICs. It leads Chinese peer enterprises in shipments of LED driver ICs, AC-DC charging components, and motor controller/driver ICs.

Bright Power focuses on the development of high current DC-DC PMIC for CPU/GPU applications. The company’s chairman, Liqiang Hu, pointed out that the DC-DC PMIC business area will be a future growth driver for the company. Hu said more related products will be released in the second half of 2022 and early 2023. The company will also strive to narrow the technology gap with international IDMs within 3 to 5 years.

The company recently announced its in-house developed 10-phase CNC PMIC, the BPD93010, targeting high computing chips such as CPU, GPU and AI chips. The BPD93010 can also be used for PCs, servers, data centers, base stations and self-driving applications.

International IDMs such as Infineon, TI, and MPS dominate the supply of high-current DC-DC power chips used in CPU/GPU applications in China. And Bright Power believes that the launch of its high-current DC-DC PMICs will help accelerate the development of the industry in China.

FM superchip

FM-Superchip is a specialist in PMICs, LED driver ICs and MOSFET (RF front-end) chips. Most of its LED driver ICs are for entry-level to mid-range and mid-range to high-end LED display applications, with a small proportion for LED lighting applications . Its main customers are Unilumin Technology, MLS Lighting Technology and BOE Technology.

FM-Superchip has also launched volume production of small-pitch LED, miniLED and micro LED driver ICs. These chips have entered the supply chains of some downstream branded LED fixture suppliers and are poised to bring more orders and revenue in the future.

In June 2019, the company raised an additional 1.05 billion yuan to expand its capacity of 5G RF chips, LED chips and PMICs. The expansion project, which is being implemented, aims to increase its combined capacity for RF, LED and PMIC chips by 3.8 billion units.

Foray into automotive electronics

Meanwhile, with the consumer electronics market becoming mature and price competition in the industry becoming fierce, many China-based PMIC manufacturers have made inroads into the automotive electronics market to help support the sales growth.

According to data released by Hisilicon Technologies in 2021, in the era of automotive smartization and electrification, automotive electronics will likely account for 50% of vehicle production cost in 2030. The trend of smartization will usher in the rapid development of central controllers, memory ICs, power chips, communication/interface chips and sensing products.

Overall, the application transformation of PMICs to high-end industrial and automotive markets from the former entry-level consumer electronics sector has become a mainstream trend in China.

Southchip Semiconductor has achieved its goal of meeting the needs of the automotive market. It has deepened its deployment in the automotive wireless charging segment which has proliferated due to the growing penetration of new energy vehicles and growing consumer demand for personalized, smart and automatic features.

Southchip has launched a series of automotive wireless charging chips, including SC8701Q, SC8001Q and SC5003Q, supporting 5W-50W wireless charging technology. These elements have received AEC-Q100 Grade 1 validations and have been adopted in a number of car models from automakers including Great Wall, BYD, Changan, Geely and Hyundai.

shanghai bell

Founded in 1988, Shanghai Belling specializes in analog and mixed-mode ICs and system solutions, with its product lines covering PMICs, smart meters, non-volatile memory devices, power components and ADC converters. (analogue-digital).

To further enhance its competitiveness in the PMIC segment, Shanghai Bellin acquired a 100% stake in Nanjing Micro One Electronics (Microne) in August 2020. Microne is a large-scale analog IC supplier, focusing on the product line AC (primary), DC product line (secondary) and MCU products (mixed mode). The Nanjing-based IC supplier has also developed lithium battery charge management ICs and lithium battery protection chips.

Shanghai Belling has also strengthened its deployments in the automotive sector. In 2020, some of its DC-DC and LDO (Low Dropout Regulator) PMICs received automotive-grade product certifications, paving the way for the company to begin shipments of LDO products in the first half of 2021.

Shanghai Bellin has deployed many automotive PMICs and power components for automotive electronics, such as automotive IGBT ignition and air conditioning IGBT chips used in vehicles.

Shanghai Bellin’s IC product sales reached CNY 1.42 billion in 2021, with more than 50% targeting industrial applications. The proportion for automotive applications was relatively low but is increasing rapidly.

According to Omida, the global and Chinese power semiconductor markets reached US$46.2 billion and US$1.82 billion respectively in 2021. The corresponding figures are expected to grow by a CAGR of 5.92% and 4.55% to reach US$54.8 billion and US$19.5 billion, respectively, in 2025.

Power ICs, IGBTs, MOSFETs, and diodes are the four most widely used power semiconductors. Among them, IGBT parts can work with wide frequency and power ranges and are ideal for applications in railway transportation, photovoltaic power generation and automotive electronics. This advantage has made IGBT the core technology for new energy vehicles, prompting PMIC manufacturers to deepen their deployments in power semiconductors for automotive applications.

BYD semiconductor

With the support of BYD Auto, BYD Semiconductor has become the largest domestic automotive-grade IGBT developer and the only group in China with a complete IGBT supply chain.

Since its establishment in October 2004, BYD Semiconductor has focused on the development of power semiconductors and achieved mass production for IGBTs, SiC devices, intelligent power modules (IPMs), MCUs, CMOS image sensors, electromagnetic sensors, LED light sources and display products.

Before BYD Semiconductor launched its first IGBT chips in 2009, Infineon had long been China’s leading IGBT supplier, accounting for over 50% of the market share during that time.

Data from Omdia showed that between 2019 and 2020, BYD Semiconductor was the second among all suppliers of IGBT modules for motor drive controllers used in new energy passenger vehicles in China and the first among national suppliers, with a market share of 19%.

BYD Semiconductor migrated its IGBT production process to IGBT 6.0 in May 2021, from IGBT 4.0 developed in 2018. The new process applies its in-house developed next-generation high-density trench gate technology, which achieved breakthroughs in product reliability and performance. comparable to international rankings. It is also the first IGBT manufacturer to achieve mass production of triple-phase bridge SiC power modules for motor drive controllers.

Meanwhile, recent shortages of IGBT chips around the world have prompted China-based IC manufacturers to step up efforts to develop automotive-grade SiC power chips, and some products have been adopted by new energy vehicles. . For example, BYD Auto’s flagship Han EV series includes BYD Semiconductor’s SiC power modules.

BASiC semiconductor

Shenzhen-based BASiC Semiconductor is also an emerging star for SiC power components. It has successively obtained strategic investments from Wingtech Technology and Bosch Group in recent years, and its SiC power devices are widely applied in the field of new energy, electric vehicle, smart grid, railway transportation and industrial control.

Founded in 2016, BASiC has led other companies to pass its SiC MOSFET chips through the industrial-grade reliability test in China, paving the way for mass production of related chips three years ago.

To take advantage of the emerging demand for SiC parts from the new energy vehicle industry, BASiC launched full-voltage SiC Schottky diodes, 1200V SiC MOSFETs and automotive-grade SiC power modules. Meanwhile, a 650V SiC Schottky diode has received AEC-Q101 validation.

Editor’s note:

In addition to the China IC Design Series, DIGTIMES Asia also selected China’s Top 10 Listed IC Design Companies based on their 2020 Revenue, Net Profit Margin and Revenue. company business per employee. DIGTIMES Asia discusses their development and outlines its path to success in the report.

About Octavia A. Dorr

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