SIA Week in Review -- Oct. 31, 2014

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The SIA Week in Review is a compilation of some of the week's top news clips related to the semiconductor industry. SIA distributes this email on Fridays. Information about subscribing/unsubscribing is included at the bottom of this e-mail.

SIA BLOG

SIA China IP Priorities Raised at Roundtable with China Intellectual Property Rights Center
By Devi Keller, Deputy Director, Global Policy

Last Friday, SIA and several other U.S. high tech industry association representatives participated in a roundtable dialogue with Director Zhao Tianwu and other officials from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Electronics Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center. The MIIT Electronics IPR Center is highly influential in shaping Chinese policy on matters such as the relationship between IPR and competition law, patents and standards setting, and IPR in the court system.

CHINA

Using Cash and Pressure, China Builds Its Chip Industry
New York Times

China churns out many of the world’s electronic devices: smartphones, computers, complicated networking equipment. Now the country is redoubling its efforts to design and produce the brains behind most of those electronics, the chip. China is playing catch-up with global rivals. Last year, the country imported $232 billion of semiconductor products, eclipsing even the amount spent on petroleum. To narrow the gap, Beijing is starting programs to increase investment by the state and to gain expertise from foreign chip companies. Experts say the chip industry is one focus of Chinese espionage efforts.

China Semiconductor Industry Output and Trade Statistics 2014 Q1-Q3
MIIT (translated summary below)

MIIT released statistics for Electronics and Information Industry in Q1 to Q3 2014, within which: IC production units was 75.54 billion, grew 9% Y/Y; O-S-D production units was 394.35 billion, grew 7.4% Y/Y; IC design industry sales revenue was 75.7 billion yuan, increased 20.7% Y/Y; IC industry profit margin was 5.4%; IC exports value was $45.6 billion, declined 35.6% Y/Y; IC imports value was $157.7 billion, declined 10.0% Y/Y.

China’s Global Tech Ambitions Spark Concerns In U.S. Buyers As Homegrown Options Fade
IBT

On the home front, China is making a big push into semiconductors. The country will spend $170 billion in the next five to 10 years to develop its domestic microchip industry, with an eye to becoming a global leader in chips, according to a McKinsey report. “Government stakeholders in China have been reconsidering the risk posed by the country’s heavy reliance on others for semiconductor components and capabilities,” the report said.

Researchers identify sophisticated Chinese cyberespionage group
Wash Post

A coalition of security researchers has identified a Chinese cyberespionage group that appears to be the most sophisticated of any publicly known Chinese hacker unit and targets not only U.S. and Western government agencies but also dissidents inside and outside China. News of the state-sponsored hacker group dubbed Axiom comes a week before Secretary of State John F. Kerry and two weeks before President Obama are due to arrive in Beijing for a series of high-level talks, including on the issue of cybersecurity.

Chinese firms ramp up R & D spending as they catch up with the West
Fortune

Chinese companies are still are dwarfed by American-based firms when it comes to the $647 billion spent on global research and development. The Americans, as they have traditionally done, are the biggest spenders at $256.9 billion followed by European-based companies at $193.8 billion and then Japan which is third at $116.7 billion. Still, the Chinese growth can’t be ignored. It has gone from almost negligible number in 2005 to $30 billion in 2014. Chinese firms increased their spending from a year ago by 46 percent.

BRITISH CHIP DESIGNER ARM ON HOW TO WIN IN CHINA
CKGSB Knowledge

With key foreign customers Apple and Samsung playing hardball in China, and newer customers in the domestic mobile device market like Huawei, ARM is ingraining itself in the very fabric of Chinaʼs mobile market, according to Allen Wu, Greater China President for ARM, which derived 26% of global revenue from the region last year. ARM lays claim to the architecture in 95% of the worldʼs mobile handsets, and according to IDC, the company will hold 13% of the PC chip market by 2015. Wu explains how his company achieves this and gives his thoughts on what mistakes foreign tech firms are making in China.

POLICY

U.S. warns China against dragging out technology trade deal
Reuters

China must move ahead with a global deal to eliminate duties on billions of dollars of technology products or risk upsetting other trade talks, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Thursday. The United States and Europe have blamed China, the world's biggest exporter of IT products, for derailing talks on a pact on technology trade by asking for too many exemptions. China is due to chair an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Nov. 10-11, and Froman said this was an opportunity for China to end a stalemate over updating the 16-year-old Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which eliminated duties on personal computers and telephones.

U.S. businesses urge action on fast-track trade authority
Reuters

Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Obama should send a signal about trade in the time between mid-term U.S. elections on Nov. 4 and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in China on Nov. 10-11. A bipartisan bill on so-called trade promotion authority (TPA), which allows lawmakers to set priorities for trade deals in return for a yes-or-no vote, was introduced in Congress in January but has not progressed to a vote.

TPP Ministers Set Nov. 8 Meeting At APEC; Leaders' Summit Still Undecided
Inside U.S. Trade (log-in required)

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade ministers are set to meet again on Nov. 8 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing, largely to review progress made by their negotiators and determine whether their leaders should hold a summit in the following days, according to informed sources.

Froman says Asia-Pacific trade deal still under construction
The Hill

The nation’s top trade official said Thursday that a final agreement on a massive Asia-Pacific deal won't be in the offing next month. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman confirmed that, as expected, a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement won't be announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next month in Beijing.

The labyrinth of corporate tax reform
The Hill (column by John W. Diamond)

These issues underscore the need for Congress and President Obama to tackle corporate tax reform when the next Congress convenes in January. But what form should corporate income tax reform take? Fortunately, the Tax Reform Act of 2014 (TRA 2014) and the analysis of that reform provide a useful framework. TRA 2014 was structured as a base-broadening, rate-reducing (BBRR) corporate (and individual) income tax reform, as well as a reform of the treatment of international income.

MEMBER NEWS

Freescale CEO: 'IoT Isn't Just Buzz'
EE Times

Rejuvenating Freescale in recent quarters, according to Lowe, have been two factors: an "explosion of connected devices" also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and "cars so aware of their surroundings that they can't get into accidents."

Everspin deal with Global Foundries may push MRAM chips to production faster
PC World

Everspin has signed up chip maker Global Foundries as a manufacturing partner for its next-generation MRAM (Magnetoresistive RAM) memory chips, in a development that should help the promising technology move toward mass production. MRAM is an emerging memory technology that offers the speed of fast memory technologies like SRAM and can hold its contents for long periods like flash memory. This best-of-both-worlds ability has some in the memory chip industry excited about future use of the technology, but mass production is only just beginning.

IBM, Twitter to partner on business data analytics
Reuters

International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) on Wednesday announced a partnership with Twitter (TWTR.N) to help shape business decisions using data collected from tweets worldwide. IBM will help businesses predict trends in the marketplace and consumer sentiment about products and brands and will train 10,000 employees to consult businesses on the best use of Twitter data.

Intel Turns to Wearables, Big Data to Fight Parkinson's
CIO

Medical researchers today have only a rudimentary understanding of how Parkinson's disease progresses in patients. In collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Intel is helping researchers use wearable devices, the Internet of Things and big data technologies to collect and analyze patient data.

Invention lets newborns in incubators feel mom's heartbeat
CNET

Intel "Make it Wearable" finalist Team Babybe created a wearable that lets preemies or other babies in incubators feel their parents' heartbeat while separated.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Microchip Technology says dip in semiconductor demand to be 'very mild'
Reuters

Microchip Technology Inc , which three weeks ago forecast a broad downturn in semiconductor demand, said on Thursday that the worst was over and the dip would be minor. Shares of Microchip rose 4 percent in extended trade after the company forecast earnings per share for fiscal third quarter, which ends in December, in line with analysts' expectations. Chief Executive Officer Steve Sanghi told analysts on a conference call he expects weak business activity in China that hurt the company in the September quarter to have recovered by the end of March.

In glow of Apple, NXP pitches tap-to-pay technology to car makers
Reuters

NXP Semiconductors is taking advantage of the recent excitement around Apple Inc's new mobile payment system with the tap-to-pay technology built into the newest iPhones by pitching it to car makers. Apple's inclusion of near-field-communications, or NFC, in its latest smartphones and its Apple Pay system unveiled last month has given a long-awaited seal of approval to the technology.

Renesas to shed 1,800 jobs in new round of early retirements
Japan Times

Struggling chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp. has said it will shed around 1,800 employees through early retirement at the end of next January as it executes its consolidation plan. The company will amalgamate its 11 semiconductor design and development centers in six prefectures into four facilities in stages from February 2015. The new centers will be in Tokyo and in Gunma and Aichi prefectures.

RESEARCH/TECHNOLOGY

MIT shows off a programming tool for error-prone chips
Gigom

On Thursday, MIT showed off a new system that will help make adapting code to run on these new chips easier. The system, called Chisel, analyzes code and tells the programmer where they can make tweaks to operate with more errors. In simulations, the resulting power savings ranged from 9 to 19 percent.

Why Focus Solely on CPU & GPU When Reducing SoC Power?
EE Times

The SoC interconnect is one area in which efforts to reduce power consumption need be re-evaluated. In computational units such as the GPU or CPU, clock-gating is one of several measures commonly applied to reduce power consumption, but in other areas of the chip, this may have been overlooked.

Google Developing a Pill That Would Detect Cancer and Other Diseases
Wired

According to Conrad, the company is fashioning nanoparticles—particles about one billionth of a meter in width—that combine a magnetic material with antibodies or proteins that can attach to and detect other molecules inside the body. The idea is that patients will swallow a pill that contains these particles, and after they enter the bloodstream—attempting to identify molecules that would indicate certain health problems—a wearable device could use their magnetic cores to gather them back together and read what they’ve found.

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