CHENGDU, China -- Providing a rare glimpse inside an IC design and R D center in China, Freescale Semiconductor Inc. revealed that it plans to expand its efforts amid booming demand in the nation.
In its Chengdu design center, Freescale is bolstering its efforts, as the site has become ''the front lines’’ in the development and customization in the networking-chip arena, said Joshua Leung (shown), senior manager of Software Research Development in the Networking and Multimedia Group in Asia-Pacific for Freescale (Austin, Texas).
What’s more, demand for its products is greater than supply in China, Leung said during a briefing and tour of its facility in Chengdu. In recent years, Chinese communications equipment companies like Huawei, ZTE and others have emerged. ''A lot of design activity is happening in China,’’ he said.
Freescale has five IC design centers in China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin. Each design center has a certain task or expertise. These centers work in conjunction with Freescale’s other worldwide IC design centers to complete a select project.
Three years ago, Freescale set up its design and R D center in Chengdu to capitalize on the local engineering talent in the region. It also serves as a sales and marketing base for Western China. Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province. Chengdu boasts a population of over 11 million people.
Within its Chengdu site, Freescale has two labs: One supports its efforts in networking chips, while the other involves its radio-frequency (RF) lines. Freescale did not disclose how many people work at the site.
Within the labs, there are four separate teams: RF, DSP, PowerQicc and QorIQ. In networking chips, Freescale’s Chengdu design unit is expanding and focusing on its previously-announced QorIQ line, a family of 45-nm, multicore embedded processors.
In the development of new versions of the chip, the Chengdu unit works in conjunction with other worldwide design centers at Freescale. But the Chengdu unit has also been given the charter to ''customize’’ versions of the QorIQ line for customers, Leung said. ''We are on the front lines for customer requirements,’’ he said.
Last year, Freescale began sampling its QorIQ P4080 multicore processor-- the flagship member of Freescale’s QorIQ product family. The QorIQ P4080 provides concurrent handling of control-plane, data-plane and application layer processing tasks. It is ideal for applications such as switches, enterprise and service provider routers, access and media gateways, base station controllers, radio network controllers (RNCs), and general-purpose embedded computing systems in the networking, telecom, industrial, military and aerospace markets.
The Chengdu site also supports its RF efforts. Freescale recently introduces two final-stage LDMOS RF power transistors, giving designers a choice between discrete and integrated circuit (IC) solutions. The new transistors are optimized for use in power amplifiers based on Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA), a third-generation wireless standard that is being widely deployed throughout China.
Freescale's Chengdu design center is located at the Chengdu Tianfu Software Park, reportedly the largest software park in China. Chengdu Tianfu Software Park Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Chengdu Hi-tech Investment Group, was founded under the leadership of the Administration Committee of Chengdu Hi-tech Zone in 2009 to operate Tianfu Software Park.
Tianfu Software Park has completed two phases, which consists of 1.1 million-square-meters. Two other phases are on the drawing board. As one of the 11 national software bases in China, Chengdu is said to have up to 1.65 million technicians, and 130 000 software practitioners, according to the Chengdu Tianfu Software Park.
Chengdu, a transportation and communication hub in Western China, seeks to become the next major base for the development of ICs, information technology (IT) and other sectors in the nation.
Intel Corp. owns and operates a giant IC-packaging facility in Chengdu. Semiconductor International Manufacturing Corp. (SMIC) operates a 200-mm fab in the area, but there are reports that Texas Instruments Inc. may soon take ownership of the facility.
Seeking to break out from the crowded IC-packaging pack, Malaysia’s Unisem Berhad here outlined its ambitious growth strategy amid robust demand and shortages in the market. As part of the program, IC-packaging and test specialist Unisem (Kuala Lumpur) plans to expand in Chengdu, develop an automotive expertise and look for acquisitions in the market.