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Growth points

Speaking of growth points identified by the President, the focus should be on the ongoing situation in the market of microprocessors and consumer electronics. According to Reuters, based on a survey of a number of high-tech company executives and market analysts, the end of 2020 faced an increasing global shorfall of semiconductor chips.

This shortfall is attributable to both the pandemic impact, since world leaders of the consumer electronics market amidst initial signs of components shortage during the first wave started to increase orders for various parts in semiconductor factories, and the the U.S. Department of Commerce tough sanctions against Huawei, SMIC and other Chinese IT corporations. It should be noted that these reasons are of local and short-term nature and have not critically influenced the classic IT segment (computers, servers) for contracts here typically have long-term periods.

A separate reason for the shortfall is more systemic and long-lasting due to being associated with the start of a continued growth of smart cars and IoT markets. They are already experiencing a severe shortage of chips: first of all, process MCUs.

This turbulence in the consumer electronics market is a window of opportunity for new players, as Chinese companies will engage in wider search for alternatives. The experience of Huawei, which strives to launch its own microchip production in Shanghai in these conditions, demonstrates there is no need to implement an expensive technical process from 8 to 3 nanometers (nm) at the beginning. At the first stage, the planned workshop will manufacture a limited volume of 45-nm chips using at least a 15-year-old technology which, however, will constitute the first stage for developing independent semiconductor production in the field (5G and backbone network switches) which does not require achieving ultra-high density of transistors.

Similar planning and launch of the "first stage" may become for our instrument-making companies a new growth point under post-covid growth of digital economy and relevant infrastructure.