Integrated Circuit Design

"China will catch up in about 4 years’ time ... There is nothing that moves fast enough in most IC design spaces that is so unique that it can't be overcome, as long as you have enough money to pour into it."
―EVP Engineering, U.S. Fabless Semiconductor Company

China's electronics industry is quickly transforming itself from a primary assembler of foreign-made goods to becoming an emerging stakeholder in semiconductor manufacturing and design.

Survey Highlights

Based on survey responses from 68 U.S. IC design experts and 83 Chinese IC design experts,
  • 67 percent of U.S. experts rate U.S. innovation in IC design as high.
  • 65 percent of Chinese experts rate Chinese innovation in IC design as low.
  • Chinese IC design experts state that China will catch up to the United States in an average of 4‒5 years. However, 21 percent of Chinese IC design experts believe China will never catch up to the global technological frontier.
  • The three largest obstacles for innovation in leading-edge U.S. IC design teams are venture capital finance, shortage of qualified talent, and foreign competition.
  • The three largest obstacles for innovation in leading-edge Chinese IC design teams are lack of high-quality intellectual property, weak intellectual property protection, and shortage of qualified talent.

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Figure 1. Months to Reach Global Technological Frontier: Most Innovative Chinese IC Design Teams. Click to enlarge

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Figure 2. Obstacles to Innovation in Leading-edge IC Design Teams in the United States and China. Click to enlarge

IC Design Survey Documents

STI Policy Brief No. 14: Measuring the U.S.-China Innovation Gap: Initial Findings 
IC Design Topline Survey Results [pdf]
IC Design Questionnaire (English) [pdf]
IC Design Questionnaire (Chinese)