Why can a small charging IC stump Apple, Huawei, Samsung?

Just recently, a Chinese semiconductor manufacturer named NuVolta (Voda) launched the world's first single-chip charge pump fast charging chip that supports 100W power, which has aroused the industry's attention to domestic charging chip technology for a while.

Once a small power management chip, Apple had to spend $600 million to acquire British Dialog to realize its self-research and make the production of Huawei's high-end mobile phone chargers once troubled. The battery accident of Samsung Note7 was also related to the power management chip. The omissions in related technologies are inextricably linked.

As we all know, chips are divided into two categories: analog chips and digital chips, and power management chips, although they look inconspicuous and even "edge", are actually one of the largest market segments for analog chips.

In simple terms, almost all devices that use electricity to work need such chips, from household appliances to mobile computers, from communication base stations to smart cars.

According to the prediction of Founder Securities, the global power management chip market scale may reach 55 billion US dollars in 2026, which is more than 350 billion yuan. Behind this huge potential market, on the one hand, European, American, Japanese and Korean manufacturers occupy more than 80% of the current market; on the other hand, Chinese manufacturers are also accelerating their rise.

Under the three aspects of technology, products, and the market to catch up, the power management chip is likely to become the next key breakthrough in the field of China's analog chip technology.

1. The annual shipment of 64 billion pieces, "live" things can not run

Before digging into the power management chip industry, we must first figure out what a power management chip is, because its name is actually very complicated.

As domestic smart phones are developing towards "100-watt fast charging", various charging terms have also jumped into the market. Charge pump chips, fast charging chips, charging ICs, and power supply ICs sound diverse, but in fact, they are all A certain type of power management chip is even just a different customary name for the same type of chip.

To understand it simply, it is related to "tube power" and "charging", and "charged" can basically be called a power management chip. The usual function of this type of chip is to distribute electricity to different electrical devices in the device. No matter what product, as long as electricity is used, this chip is needed.

Because of this, there are many types of power management chips. For example, all kinds of AD-DC converters that convert the alternating current in the wire into the direct current used by the mobile phone computer, and all kinds of DC-DC converters that regulate the direct current inside the mobile phone computer, all belong to the category of power management chips.

In the second half of last year, new technologies for fast charging of 120W and 125W domestic mobile phones were intensively released, and the charge pump chip became a real hit. Some time ago, NuVolta released a charge pump chip, which is also a type of power management chip.

There is also a type of chip called PMIC, which is actually a multi-channel power management chip. Simply put, it is a chip that integrates multiple power management functions in a single chip, such as mobile phone chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm, MediaTek, and HiSilicon. Generally, PMIC products will be the main products, and they will be sold in conjunction with the SoC master.

In addition, our common LED screen lamp beads and vibration motors in mobile phones require specific power management chips to drive them to work.

It can be said that from flying in the sky to running on the ground, to transportation such as airplanes and trains, to all kinds of consumer electronic products, power management chips will be used.

According to IC Insights data, power management analog devices accounted for approximately 21% of the total chip market shipments in 2019, ranking first among all chip types, and even exceeding the combined shipments of second and third categories of chips. Shipments are approximately 63.969 billion units.

64 billion, what concept? On average, every person on the planet uses 10 power management chips every year. It can be said with certainty that power management chips are the largest market segment in the analog chip industry

2. What is the concept that a company has 125,000 kinds of products to eat 80% of the markets in Europe and America?

But the power management chip market is such a piece of fat, but it is basically eaten by European, American, Japanese and Korean companies. Only European and American companies occupy more than 70% of the global market.

In the field of chip design, which is the core of power management chips, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, ADI, Maxim of the United States, and Infineon of Germany have all become undisputed giants.

Texas Instruments is a company that occupies 21% of the global power management chip market, and the technical indicators of its products are in a leading position in the industry. In the first quarter of this year, Texas Instruments’ analog product revenue was US$3.28 billion, accounting for 76% of total revenue, and power management chips accounted for one of the largest proportions of its analog products.

In the domestic power management chip market, European and American companies even account for more than 80% of the market. Of course, many domestic manufacturers are also actively deploying, such as Shengbang Microelectronics, Nanxin Semiconductor, Yutai Semiconductor, Chippen Micro, Jiehuate, etc., but domestic manufacturers currently have a low market share and customers are also focusing on domestic related products. enterprise.

On the chip foundry side, products such as power management chips do not have high requirements for chip process technology. Therefore, in addition to TSMC, manufacturers such as East Korea Hi-Tech, SMIC, and China Resources Microelectronics all have part of the market.

The power management chip market has its own distinctive characteristics. Due to the numerous industries involved, the market has a large number of product categories. The more product categories they master, the more manufacturers have the opportunity to occupy more markets. Simply put, it means "the more categories of enterprises, the stronger the competitiveness of the industry."

At present, the industry leader, Texas Instruments, has approximately 125,000 power management products, and ADI, which ranks third, has more than 40,000 products.

For domestic companies, Shengbang Microelectronics, as a leading company in the field of analog chips in China, has more than 1,400 kinds of signal chain and power management products; Weir shares have more than 950 kinds, and Lixin Micro, Fuman Electronics and other manufacturers The types of products are between 400-500.

125,000 types compared to 1,400 types, the product category richness gap during this period is no longer on the same order of magnitude. This is also the core manifestation of the gap between companies in the power management chip industry.

To put it simply, foreign top manufacturers have a complete range of products, cover many areas, and are highly competitive; while domestic manufacturers have fewer products, so they can only have a certain degree of competitiveness in subdivisions.