FD-SOI Opportunities in China

Authors: Zhongli Liu, Kai Zhao, Jiajun Luo, Fang Yu, Tianchun Ye (IMECAS)

The Chinese IC industry is facing a real opportunity, and Chinese IC developers are looking for points of entry to best leverage this important moment.

The CTO of a large Chinese IC supplier is looking for system solutions for their SOC chips, in order to obtain the advantages of ultra-low power consumption and ultra-high electrical performance. It is expected that the establishment of a national R&D center for the Internet of Things will be announced soon.  Smart chips based on RF technology will be one of the main solutions to the Internet of Things.

Not long ago, the Chinese government issued 4G licenses. It is believed that in the next three years fierce competition will happen in the Chinese communications market. In addition, for the general chips like CPU/DSP/FPGA, it is very difficult to catch up or surpass the international leaders without the introduction of disruptive technologies. According to IBS forecasts [1], as shown in the following figure, the Chinese IC market will be increased from $100 billion in 2013 to about $200 billion in 2018. And all the above will contribute to this remarkable growth.

IC Market by Geographic Region (012814)

 (Source and courtesy of: International Business Strategies, Inc.)

Every time, when the world is in controversy over different advanced technologies, China is always willing to be independent and make our own choices, as we’ve seen recently in the Chinese communications market with the TD-LTE and FDD-LTE options [2]. Therefore, new ideas such as advanced FD-SOI platform technology are needed to be able to help Chinese IC developers to fully realize the potential of this golden opportunity.

The Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMECAS) is one of the main promoters of SOI technology in China. (For an overview of IMECAS, click here.) Mass memory chips based on SOI technology have already begun shipping to end customers. The 300K system-gate FPGA chip [3] based on FD-SOI technology has also completed the final test, and eighty percent of the static power consumption is reduced compared with the same type of FPGA on a bulk substrate. In addition, IMECAS is planning to set up a new platform based on an advanced FD-SOI technology to design reconfigurable SOC chips, and lay the foundation for the new era of IC industry in China.


In order to promote FD-SOI development in China, research institutes, technology providers and chip design companies are needed to form a tight alliance, to promote international cooperation, and jointly to create a suitable eco-environment for this advanced technology to thrive. [4]



[1] Interactive presentation on key trends for advanced technologies and role of SOI, by Handel Jones from IBS, http://www.soiconsortium.org/fully-depleted-soi/presentations/october-2013/.

[2] TD-LTE: gearing up to cover 2.7bn people in Asia by 2013, Global Technology Equity Research by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., at 2011.

[3] A Low Power and Radiation Tolerant FPGA Implemented in FD SOI Process, Lihua Wu et al., Proceedings of IEEE S3S Conference, Oct. 2013.

[4] FDSOI Applications and Opportunity in China, by Zhongli Liu from IMECAS, http://www.soiconsortium.org/fully-depleted-soi/presentations/october-2013/.


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