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China to catch up with South Korean design houses

Posted: 13 Mar 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile TV  processor  digital TV  DTV  IC design 

The 12th Annual International IC-China Conference & Exhibition (IIC-China) exhibited more than 20 local IC design houses, indicating the development of China in the IC design over the years. This achievement, however, paled compared to its Korean counterpart.

Although China's local IC design houses demonstrated many types of IC products, there were little innovation and breakthroughs presented. It also lacked products that could compete against foreign brands. Most products target mature applications although the market demands the replacement of foreign ICs.

In comparison, South Korean IC design houses showcased advanced chips for mobile TV, GPS navigation and multi-media applications. These vendors clearly target hot applications and came ready to compete with foreign, advanced-level chips in performance.

According to engineers from Pulsus Technologies, their AB class power amplifiers are pure analogue design while their D class power amplifiers are analogue in the front and digital at the back. This type of all-digital architecture will represent the future development trend for audio amplifiers, said the South Korean company.

Another company from South Korea, MagicEyes presented its updated MMSP2+ processor, which is targeted at in-car navigation systems, portable media players, mobile TVs and other portable devices. Meanwhile, Nexilion showcased its digital multi-media broadcasting SoCs. Its T-DMB SoC was reportedly only 6.5-by-6.5mm, in which the decoder, A/V decoder and up to 8Mbits of SDRAM were already integrated. According to Nexilion, they plan to release in July a chip with higher integration density to integrate an RF tuner.

However, several local design houses, including Analogix and C2 Microsystems, are developing innovative IC products for high-demand applications.

With the huge market demand in China and the return of overseas talents, China's IC design industry only needs time to intensify their innovation capabilities.

- Jimmy Zhou
EE Times-China

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