The recent car arena has made waves again. A few days ago, Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Holding Group, revealed in an interview that the central control chip independently developed by Geely will be assembled and put on the car in 2023. In addition to Geely, traditional car companies such as BAIC and BYD are also trying to take the autonomy of chip supply into their own hands. New car manufacturers such as Leapmotor and Weilai have also accelerated the pace of self-developed chips. “Traditional giants” and “upstarts” have embarked on the road of self-developed chips at the same time. What are the considerations? Will the automotive chip supply chain usher in new changes?
Car companies compete to create “core”
Whether it is a traditional car company or a new car-making force, they are eager to have a “core” that beats at their own rhythm, so the wind of self-developed chips has always been blowing violently in the automotive arena. A few days ago, the words of Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Holding Group, made the automotive chip circle once again uneasy. He revealed that the central control chip independently developed by Geely will be assembled and put on the car in 2023. Li Shufu said that in terms of batteries and chips for new energy smart vehicles, Geely insists on a self-research system and has strong alliances with leading companies.
In addition to Geely Automobile, the representative of traditional car companies, many traditional car companies have previously shown their intention to compete for the track of self-developed chips. In May last year, BAIC and Imagination signed an agreement to jointly establish Hexinda Technology Co., Ltd., focusing on the research and development of application processors for autonomous driving and voice interaction chips for smart cockpits. Since the beginning of this year, SAIC Group announced to join hands with the chip manufacturer Horizon, using SAIC passenger cars as the carrier to enter the chip industry and embark on the road of self-developed chips; GAC Research Institute and GAC Capital respectively signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Horizon, jointly Released the GAC version of the Journey 3 chip; the cooperation between FAW’s brand Hongqi and Horizon focuses on advanced assisted driving (ADAS), high-level automatic driving and intelligent cockpit, and the cooperative products are firstly applied to Hongqi brand cars; It also invested in Horizon to help Horizon complete the C3 round of financing of US$350 million.
As the most representative IDM company among traditional car companies, BYD has a deep relationship with automotive chips and has already established a layout in the field of automotive semiconductors. At the end of last year, BYD’s board of directors agreed to the company’s holding subsidiary BYD semiconductor to plan for a spin-off and listing; at the beginning of this year, the official website of the Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau showed that BYD Semiconductor had been counseled and filed on January 8, and was counseled by CICC, and planned an initial public offering. shares and listed on the domestic stock exchange. Behind the planning for the spin-off of the semiconductor business is BYD’s impressive chip research and development strength. As the only domestic car company with a complete IGBT industry chain, BYD has advantages in the research and development of battery management chips, battery system chips and some MCU chips, and is a typical representative of traditional car companies’ self-developed chips.
In line with the pace of traditional car companies, new car manufacturers are also actively seizing the high ground for self-developed chips: at the end of last year, Leap Motor released a car-grade AI intelligent driving chip with completely independent intellectual property rights; Driven by NIO, NIO is expected to launch its self-developed self-driving computing chip.
The pattern of “free entry for idlers” has been broken
Car companies have ended up building “cores”, most likely because they have taken a fancy to the dividends. Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the National Passenger Car Market Information Joint Association, told the China Electronics News that self-developed chips enable car companies to customize the development of chips and produce products that meet their own performance and functional needs.
In addition, the shortage of chip supply that has plagued the industry for a long time may be the main reason for many car companies to develop their own chips.
It must be hard for Karl Benz to imagine that 140 years after he invented the world’s first car, a small chip has caused countless autobots to make trouble. Today, the supply shortage of automotive chips still shows no sign of easing. What makes the industry uneasy is that the problem is very likely to become a normal phenomenon, adding a touch of uncertainty to the development of the entire industry. Where there is adversity, there is awakening, and the dilemma of tight supply of automotive chips has also made the industry determined to seek change.
What kind of changes will the lack of “core” tide bring to the automotive industry? When interviewing Zheng Li, CEO of Changdian Technology, a reporter from China Electronics News got the answer to this question.
“The automotive chip supply chain will undergo earth-shaking changes.” Zheng Li said. He told reporters that car factories have always followed a “top-down” operation mode, that is, layout operations according to production capacity. Specifically, the previous model was that automakers “commanded” semiconductor manufacturers, put forward demands on semiconductor manufacturers, and then semiconductor manufacturers produced products to meet the needs of automakers. But now, with a tight supply of automotive chips, that model appears to have failed.
In Zheng Li’s view, at this stage, the resources of semiconductor manufacturers cannot be allocated according to the wishes of car companies. The phenomenon of “one and the other” has occurred in the power of resource allocation in the automobile manufacturing industry and the semiconductor manufacturing industry. a “rebalanced” relationship. This situation will undoubtedly cause huge crustal changes in the entire automobile industry chain, which in turn will bring great changes to the entire automobile industry chain.
In other words, the automobile industry in the past was an industry with a very strong vertical system, and the barriers between various links in the industrial chain were relatively strict. With the tide of goods, the pattern of “free entry for idlers” in the automobile industry has gradually been broken. At present, the choice of self-developed chips by car companies is one of the most important dramas in this change.
“It’s a ‘take the world’s worst’ for the car factory to cut off the line. This time, a large area of car factories are short of cores. From January to March, the world produced 670,000 vehicles less, and the annual production of 4.5 million vehicles was short. However, the car factory did not Instead of taking measures such as fines, we are very patient and humble to sink into the chip (industry), and discuss with everyone how we should tide over the difficulties together.” Zheng Li said.
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