Domestic EDA giant Huada Jiutian listed: what does it mean for Chinese chips?

EDA, Electronic design automation, translated as electronic design automation, refers to the design method of using computer-aided design software to complete the functional design, synthesis, verification, physical design and other processes of the chip.

The source of a chip’s birth comes from EDA software. Therefore, EDA is also known as the mother of chips. It is the most upstream and core link of the chip industry chain, and it is also the source of the neck of the chip industry chain.

At present, about 80% of the global EDA market is occupied by Synopsys, Cadence and Mentor Graphics, which are known as the “Big Three of EDA”.

Domestic EDA giant Huada Jiutian listed: what does it mean for Chinese chips?

These three companies, without exception, were founded in the United States, among which Mentor Graphics has been acquired by the European company Siemens (the picture above has been changed to Siemens EDA), but it still does not change its pure American ancestry.

Data source: Smart Things

Therefore, when participating in the US-led operation to cut off the supply of chips to China, EDA software was the “hardest hit”.

Since 2019, the three major EDA giants have successively cut off the supply of Huawei HiSilicon in accordance with the requirements of the United States. Although Huawei has purchased the current version of the product, the three giants still suspend the update of Huawei EDA software. In addition, they will no longer sell to Huawei. New EDA related products.

Huawei HiSilicon is the world’s leading chip design company, and its main business is to use EDA software to design chips. Therefore, for HiSilicon, without EDA software, it is no different from a painter without a brush.

In the process of localization of China’s chip industry chain, EDA software has become a core link that is most often mentioned and is as difficult as lithography.

But in fact, China’s first domestic EDA software has been developed as early as the 1980s. In 1986, under the background of the embargo on China’s integrated circuit, China began to invest in the research and development of EDA software system, and launched my country’s first EDA software in 1993, the name is very Chinese, called “Panda System”.

In 1998, “Panda”‘s next-generation product “Panda 2000” was born. This EDA software can meet the needs of sub-micron and deep sub-micron processes, and can handle millions of gates and support high-level designs.

Panda EDA software

The company behind “Panda” is a unit called China Huada Integrated Circuit Design Center.

In October 2003, China Electronics Information Industry Group Corporation and SDIC High-Tech Investment Co., Ltd., on the basis of the original China Huada Integrated Circuit Design Center, put seven “909 Projects” (in 1995, the Ministry of Electronics and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs Beijing jointly held a symposium of domestic and foreign experts to offer suggestions and suggestions to accelerate the development of my country’s integrated circuit industry. In November, the Ministry of Electronics made a special report to the State Council and decided to implement the 909 Project.) After the company was integrated, China Huada Integrated Circuit Design Group was established. Ltd.

In 2009, China Huada Integrated Circuit Design Group Co., Ltd. separated its EDA department and established a company specializing in EDA software development and services, called Huada Jiutian.

Huada Jiutian is the protagonist of our article today, the strongest EDA software company in China. It can be said that it has completely experienced the process of China’s EDA software from scratch, from being able to use it to carry the banner of EDA localization.

Liu Weiping, chairman of Huada Jiutian, joined the China Huada Integrated Circuit Design Center in 1989 after graduating as a graduate student to engage in EDA technology and product development. level person.

What is the current position of BGI Jiutian in the EDA field?

At present, in addition to the three giants, Chinese local companies occupy only about 10% of the domestic EDA market, and among the few remaining markets, Huada Jiutian can almost have more than half of the market, and is well-deserved domestic EDA boss.

China’s EDA market has a market size of about 6 billion around 2000.

The 20-year revenue of Huada Jiutian is only about 400 million. Therefore, it is an inevitable trend to consider domestic substitution in the future. Although the EDA market is not as broad as other semiconductor segments, there is still huge room for growth for Huada Jiutian, who is alone in the face of other domestic competitors.

Data source: Core Stuff

Then why can’t the domestic chip industry chain companies give all the orders to Huada Jiutian and directly help the brothers?

Let’s put it this way, even if HiSilicon was cut off so badly, it still needs to use the EDA software of the Big Three.

The bottom line is that in most of the current chip design fields, especially in the field of high-end chip design, there is no way to use the products of the three giants.

On the one hand, the reason is that domestic EDA tools cannot support high-end chips or can only be developed for chips in certain fields.

For example, BGI Jiutian can currently only provide about 1/3 of the EDA solutions required by the industry. Together with the products of other small domestic companies, domestic tools can provide about 1/2 of the full-process EDA solution. In addition, the tools of Huada Jiutian are still breaking through 14nm, and the tools of the Big Three have already been in actual combat at 5nm.

On the other hand, it is ecological construction. A set of mature EDA tools not only needs to be used by upstream chip design companies, but also need the support of downstream foundry and packaging and testing companies.

Regarding this point, Liu Weiping, chairman of Huada Jiutian, explained, “The link between design and technology is EDA. If the combination of EDA and technology is not good enough, it will be difficult to play a role as a link. In terms of combining with technology, the three major EDA companies They have natural advantages. They cooperate with wafer fabs in the new process development stage, so they have a good understanding of the process. In turn, they can better improve the tools to support advanced processes, while domestic EDA manufacturers can only use them after the process is developed. to some data.”

Therefore, if Huada Jiutian wants to become bigger and stronger in the field of EDA, it must get the support and cooperation of upstream and downstream companies in the domestic industry chain. After all, although EDA is important, in terms of the entire chip industry, the plate is a bit too small and does not require so many companies and tools.

The reason why the “Panda” was quickly defeated by the Big Three after it was established decades ago is also because the United States later lifted the ban on domestic integrated circuits. Once it can buy more advanced tools from abroad, in the highly competitive semiconductor field, Domestic enterprises will naturally choose more advanced products, so the “Panda” will never be seen again.

On the evening of June 21, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange officially accepted Huada Jiutian’s GEM IPO application.

According to the description of BGI Jiutian, the raised funds of this IPO project are 2.551 billion yuan, which are mainly used for circuit simulation and digital analysis optimization EDA tool upgrade projects, analog design and verification EDA tool upgrade projects, and EDA for specific types of chip designs. The research and development of EDA projects such as tool development projects, digital design synthesis and verification EDA tool development projects, and you must know that BGI Jiutian has invested less than 500 million yuan in nearly ten years from its establishment to 20 years. At this point, BGI Jiutian’s IPO not only demonstrated its determination to tackle the high-end EDA field, but also sounded the charge for the localization of chips.

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