For many industrial businesses, 2019 has been tough. Profits lower across the board – light and heavy industry, state-owned and private businesses. Labor costs rising while ex-factory prices are not. Access to debt restricted. The gap between high performers and laggards widened
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We know how big an investment goes into monetizing visual content for our phones, pads and TVs, through the likes of Warner Media, Disney and Netflix. Now there’s a big push into monetizing our ears, driven by Apple and others on the hardware side and Spotify and Liberty Media on the content side. The audio market is still much smaller but it’s growing fast. Apple’s AirPods are guessed to be the fastest growing of all its product lines and are expected to top $15B in sales next year. Spotify and others are aggressively expanding in streaming and also, interestingly, podcasts. Podcasts apparently have better economics than music for audio streaming services. These directions and more are encouraging further advances in connectivity to our ears. The Bluetooth SIG announced at this year’s CES their latest 5.2 advance to the core Bluetooth specification, and a new software framework on top of the standard called LE Audio. Together these offer higher quality at lower power in wireless earbuds, along with some amazing new possibilities. TWS I’ve written before on the topic of true wireless stereo (TWS) in earbuds. Pre 5.2, Bluetooth is a single-channel wireless connection. Left and right audio channels must be transmitted together through that one audio channel to one earbud, say the left. From there, the right audio channel is transmitted wirelessly to the right earbud. This runs batteries down faster and introduces a delay between L and R channels. Vendors have built proprietary solutions to overcome the latency problem but they’re a hack and obviously not shareable between different phone models. 5.2 adds isochronous communication channels over BLE so can transmit L and R simultaneously. Latency problem solved, no longer any need to run down earbud batteries in wireless forwarding and the solution is based on a standard so should be shareable between phone and earbud models. This goes further. An additional channel is supported for voice; you can speak at the same time you’re listening. Full duplex conversations through your earbuds! LE Audio The Bluetooth SIG has bigger ambitions still. LE Audio is a software framework on top the core standard; it is expected to be ratified some time in 2020. It adds a new LC3 codec, allowing for tuning between audio quality and power and enabling higher quality than the existing standard, when appropriate. LE Audio supports many-to-one and one-to many connections. You can connect to multiple sources: a music player, your phone and a TV, and be able to switch between these, even allowing all to be active simultaneously, one dominant and the others turned down. For one-to-many, you can share your audio stream with others. You’re listening to a great song and want your friends to hear it too? Just share the stream. Or you can all watch a video on a phone or laptop while each enjoying a direct audio stream to your own earbuds. Here's another cool thing you’ll be able to do. You’re at a sports bar, lots of screens showing lots of games, but all silently. It would be a mess if the audio from each was playing at the same time, right? You walk into the bar, see a game that interests you and grab the audio stream from that game. Now you can watch and listen. Or you’re in an airport departure lounge, trying to keep up to date on messages that might affect you flight. This is the reverse of the sport bar. Announcements in airports are all full volume, overlapping and competing for your attention. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to grab an audio stream for announcements just on your flight? And turn all those loudspeakers off? There’s good news also for hearing-aid users. With these kinds of capabilities, they should be able to better hear suitably-equipped speakers in presentations and in other noisy surroundings. CEVA is a broad-line supplier for Bluetooth solutions including Low Energy (supporting LE Audio) and Dual Mode (supporting Classic Audio and LE Audio). They also provide a wide range of related audio solutions: voice pickup, VAD, audio input and beamforming, AEC and ANC and speech recognition. And they provide solutions for gestures detection. taps, head movements. You can learn more about the Bluetooth platforms HERE and audio, voice and speech solutions HERE. [post_title] => A Bundle of Goodies in Bluetooth 5.2, LE Audio [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-bundle-of-goodies-in-bluetooth-5-2-le-audio [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-06 14:03:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-06 22:03:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=280996 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281066 [post_author] => 19 [post_date] => 2020-01-14 10:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-14 18:00:45 [post_content] =>This is the fifth and final part of the series For many industrial businesses, 2019 has been tough. Profits lower across the board – light and heavy industry, state-owned and private businesses. Labor costs rising while ex-factory prices are not. Access to debt restricted. The gap between high performers and laggards widened further, with leaders raising capital expenditures 20 percent plus over last year as they double down on deploying robotics, IoT, blockchain, and other productivity enablers in their supply chain. Laggards are edging closer to bankruptcy. There are strong signs that we will see more bankruptcies in 2020. More banks will be allowed to fail beyond the four shuttered so far in 2019. The PBOC declared in its 2019 Financial Stability Report that it had closed 1000 P2P lenders in 2019 and that they evaluate close to 600 smaller banks (13 percent of the total) as “risky”. Their solution will have “Chinese characteristics”: failing banks will almost all be bailed out through merging with one of China’s larger banks. More property companies will find they are financially extended beyond the level at which black-market lenders will support them. Industry consolidation will be the main solution. Investors will see more dramatic falls in share prices for specific stressed listed companies in the mainland and Hong Kong, along the lines of the 90 percent plus falls at Kasen, ArtGo and Tibet Water in recent weeks. This is a positive, companies that had been clogging up their sectors are finally being cleared out. Business will need to be alert to the financial state of their customers and suppliers. High growth sectors in 2020 will be clustered in consumer facing services, many internet-enabled. Healthcare, education, travel, and leisure will all remain strong. Sectors where the Chinese government actively encourages investment have been clearly laid out– from semiconductor, to AI and smart cities, to manufacturing IoT, to biotech and advanced materials. Making money in these sectors directly in the short term may be tough, but making money out of supplying to these sectors can be very attractive.[post_title] => Even California Can't Save Hydrogen [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => even-california-cant-save-hydrogen [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-12 17:11:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-13 01:11:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281066 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281115 [post_author] => 28703 [post_date] => 2020-01-14 06:00:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-14 14:00:38 [post_content] => When describing the complexity of deep sub-micron systems on chip (SoCs), most engineers and their managers tend to refer to a combination of gate count, amount of embedded memory, and frequency of operation. If one's task is to assess the complexity of the physical design effort for a given SoC, then there are numerous additional factors that can create challenges far more significant than the sheer size or frequency of the design.An example of one such SoC is clearly illustrated by recent experience in performing the physical design work for a customer's SoC project. Traditionally focused its efforts on very large SoC designs, usually containing many millions of gates, megabits of memory distributed over hundreds of individual RAMs, and with frequencies of operation well over 200 MHz. In contrast, this customer's design had less than one million gates of logic. It had about 500 kilobits of embedded memory spread over 23 standard RAMs plus 6 megabits of memory in a single MoSys 1-T SRAM. Its primary frequencies of operation were 162 MHz and 81 MHz. From these statistics alone, most physical design engineers would not consider this SoC to be extremely challenging, yet when one looks into the next level of details the unique challenges become apparent. Small Chip, Big Constraints This specific SoC was the second chip of a two-chip set. This situation forced certain constraints upon the design that were non-negotiable. The biggest constraints were with respect to functional I/O locations, and specifically, the LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) interface. The LVDS interfaces on both chips and the board were designed such that the two chips' LVDS interfaces would basically abut. This constraint provided no latitude on where the LVDS I/O pads could be located. Being differential, these I/O pads were very wide and occupied the majority of one side of the chip. From a timing perspective, the first chip and board consumed the majority of the available timing budget for the LVDS interface. This imposed a very tight data valid window and, hence, an extremely tight clock skew requirement on the interface. Besides I/O location, minimum area was another major constraint of the design. While certainly a common constraint for most SoCs, this chip had a single memory that occupied half the active area. This essentially locked the dimension of the chip in both directions; the X direction was determined by the width of the MoSys RAM, the Y direction by the overall area limit for the design. This forced all other components into a very small, very dense fixed size region. This region had to include three mixed signal components, 23 embedded RAMS, and a CPU. The floorplanning options of this region were quite limited. The fixed positions of the I/O largely fixed placement of the associated mixed signal components. Additionally, the mixed signal components had a large "keep out" area where standard cells, macros, and routing were not allowed. The embedded RAMs needed to be placed such that the design was routable, while avoiding the mixed signal components and yet fitting into the available X and Y dimensions. Together these factors compressed the area available for the core logic and increased the already high utilization. In such situations designers need to quickly explore floorplan alternatives. The floorplan in subsequent iterations could be easily modified , GDS Builder, can place objects relative to other objects or reference points (for instance, place macro2's lower left corner next to, or a certain distance from, macro1's lower right corner). GDS Builder was used to automate chip construction. GDS Builder automatically kicked off Synopsys AstroExpress place and route jobs, as well as timing, IR drop and electromigration analysis on the entire design overnight. Overnight full-chip builds enabled us to explore the multiple floorplanning alternatives using the production placer and router. In doing so we came up with the optimal floorplan that met all the constraints implied by the design. There was 100 percent timing and area correlation between these early floorplan explorations and the final taped out chip. Mountains and boulders Hard macros are a constant source of distress for physical design engineers for a variety of reasons. In very large SoC designs, there can be a good deal of flexibility where these macros are placed in order to create an optimal floorplan. In the case of this design, there were a large number of hard macros that needed to be placed in a very small area. The largest of these macros was the MoSys 1-T embedded memory that occupied half the active area of the chip. If the other embedded memories were considered to be boulders in the sea of standard cells, the MoSys memory would then be a mountain. Although signals between the I/O pads and standard cell core could be routed over the MoSys memory, it was too large a distance to go without buffering the signals. The only choice was to go around the MoSys memory, leaving narrow tracks along the top and the sides of the memory where GDS Builder's automated repeater insertion could place appropriate buffers along the way from the I/O pads to the standard cell core. Power distribution also proved to be a challenge with respect to the MoSys memory. Core power had to be routed from the top of the die over the MoSys to the standard cell core. Metal layers 5 and 6 were mostly available for this purpose, but with some irregularly placed obstructions. This forced us to construct a customer power cover cell that fed the standard cell core with adequate power. The adequacy of this power strategy with respect to IR drop and electromigration was then verified using Astro-Rail. One of the advantages from a system perspective of using MoSys memories is the high density and wide parallel data interface. From a physical design perspective, however, the wide interface also creates a significant amount of routing congestion near the data pins. To avoid this congestion, placement obstructions for standard cells had to be created. This, of course, required even higher utilization to be achieved in the standard cell core area. Placing the I/Os Our example SoC had only 246 total bond pads. This number is considered relatively small by today's standards, yet this pad ring proved to be one of the greatest challenges of the design. To begin with, there were four different I/O libraries utilized. The first library was chosen to minimize die size since it had low profile standard I/O cells with integrated bond pads. The second I/O library was required for the LVDS interface. It contained high profile and large width cells that did not include bond pads. To accommodate non-LVDS I/O adjacent to LVDS cells, a third library was required. This was a high profile library with narrow pitch and non-integrated bond pads. The fourth I/O library was for analog I/O and was also high profile. Cells from different libraries with differing heights were mixed on the same side of the chip. This forced the creation of special filler and corner cells to interface between the different height cells. Special consideration was required as to how the different height I/O power pads were to connect to the internal power grid. Figure 1 shows the transition from the low profile I/O cell to the high profile I/O cell through a custom filler cell. The special connections from the low profile I/O cell power pads to the core power ring are also visible. To further complicate matters, there were seven distinct power domains associated with the I/O ring. These domains were for the LVDS interface, the various analog domains, and the primary 3.3 volt and 1.8 volt power domains. The LVDS portion of the pad ring proved to be especially challenging. As these signals were the most timing sensitive in the design, it was decided to place LVDS related "edge logic" in the actual pad block that contained the LVDS I/O pads. This approach allowed us to meet a very restrictive timing budget required by the customer. Smaller is not always easier As you consider your next SoC project, it is important to look beyond the obvious metrics such as gate count and frequency when estimating the complexity, effort, and schedule required for physical design. Factors such as I/O complexity, the use of unique IP, and number of constraints imposed on the design can play a major role in determining the effort and schedule of a complicated SoC, whether it is considered to be a large or small design. [post_title] => Physical design team tackles challenging SoC [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => physical-design-team-tackles-challenging-soc [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-12 17:51:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-13 01:51:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281115 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281651 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2020-01-13 10:00:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-13 18:00:39 [post_content] => The United States and allies' national cyber response may soon be tested with the latest escalating conflict in the middle east. The U.S. conducted an airstrike that killed a revered Iranian general while in Iraq. This was in retaliation to a number of attacks against U.S. personnel and most recently the U.S. embassy in Iraq that was purported to be orchestrated by Iran and specifically General Qassem Soleimani who was killed in the airstrike. Soleimani, also spelled Suleimani, was the top military official for Iran and a very powerful figure in the region. Iran has vowed to retaliate. Iran has significant resources, both traditional kinetic weapons as well as mature cyber warfare capabilities. Direct military attacks could draw both countries into an undesired war. Political condemnation is likely to be seen as insufficient by the Iranian leadership. The other play is to go down the route of cyberattacks. Cyber attacks, attributed to Iran, have taken place in the past but most were denied by the government and overall not too severe. Many in the cybersecurity community, including myself, believe that for years Iran has been conducting digital reconnaissance and spoiling attacks to gain footholds in western critical infrastructure that could be used at a later date as beachheads for large-scale attacks. This may now be the moment that Iran chooses to use their nation-state supported cyber warriors to directly target the United States government, economy, and critical infrastructure. Unlike the clandestineness and denials of the past, attacks would likely be openly attributed as retaliation by Teheran and intended to cause enough harm to show strength and be a deterrent for future acts. Here are my predictions for how Iran will respond with cyberattacks against the United States. These are the six potential attacks that Iran might choose to pursue. Most likely one of the following will occur or be attempted, in the coming weeks. Top 6 Likely Cyber Attacks by Iran:Fisita World Mobility Summit 2019 in Nagoya, Japan, brought together powerful perspectives on everything from vehicle architectures (Visteon), to open source software (Synopsys), mobility (METI), and connectivity (Bosch). The most enigmatic juxtaposition at the event, however, came in a panel discussion I moderated between General Motors’ Vice President, Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronic Hardware, Dan Nicholson, and Dr. Kazunari Sasaki, professor (hydrogen energy systems) and senior vice president, Kyushu University. These two executives stand at the fulcrum of vehicle propulsion facing tectonic forces tearing at the automotive industry. For Professor Sasaki, residing as he does in the energy desert of Japan, hydrogen is the future – promising a clean, energy independent path to future mobility. For Mr. Nicholson of GM, all roads lead away from proven profitable propulsion technologies such as diesel and internal combustion engines. The third slide Nicholson showed in his presentation was of a diesel-powered, extended-cab Chevrolet pick-up truck towing a massive trailer. His fifth slide was an artist’s rendering of GM’s new global electric vehicle platform. The existential crisis posed by these two perspectives is hard to ignore. For Sasaki, the choice of hydrogen is clear, clean, and rational if not downright essential. As noted by a Toyota Advanced Development (AD) executive, James Kuffner, in the closing presentation of the Fisita event: “Hydrogen has an energy density that is 3x higher than gasoline and an overall higher maximum efficiency. If you combine a hydrogen fuel cell with an electric motor, the efficiency is 2x or 3x more efficient than a conventional gas engine.” Sasaki was also quick to note that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and that the primary byproduct of the hydrogen energy cycle is water vapor. When put this way, opponents of hydrogen would appear to be either ignorant or foolish – or “fuelish” to borrow Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk’s disparaging assessment of hydrogen’s prospects. For Nicholson, GM is in the midst of a massive corporate pivot away from smaller passenger cars toward crossovers and SUVs, away from internal combustion engines to electric powertrains, and away from human-centric driving to autonomy. This is Clayton Christensen’s “creative destruction” on steroids threatening 40% of the legacy ICE supply chain and a good portion of the vehicle assembly workforce – painful for GM having just recently concluded a month-long UAW strike. Unfortunately for Nicholson the Fisita event occurred prior to GM’s latest earnings report and before the company announced plans for a new EV battery assembly plant (a joint venture with LG Chem) in Lordstown along with its intentions to build an EV pickup truck in Hamtramck by 2021. As a result, Nicholson was noncommittal as to the timing of GM’s wider deployment of EV technology. What is clear, though, is that the shift to EV technology, by Nicholson’s own description, has significant implications for the role of software and connectivity in future electrified vehicles. These implications are touching the entire architectural underpinnings of the vehicle – which was reflected in the domain consolidation strategy described by Markus Schupfner, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Visteon speaking at the Fisita Summit. As bleak (and promising) as the picture may be for a legacy ICE-oriented manufacturer like GM, the prospects for the promoters of hydrogen are more grim and hold important lessons for auto makers. The merits of hydrogen propulsion are both indisputable and debatable – and they are likely to be debated until that massive ball of hydrogen and helium in the sky implodes. The automotive poster child for hydrogen propulsion is Toyota’s Mirai. This vehicle offers an important example of both the lengths and limits to which an automobile company can stretch to promote a vehicle it desperately wants to be successful – in the face of massive consumer indifference. After four years, Toyota claims to have put 6,000 hydrogen-powered Mirai’s on the road in the U.S. These have been hard won sales with a range of consumer incentives including: · A complimentary fuel cell card worth $15,000 · $2,500 in loyalty cash · $7,500 in bonus cash · 1.9% financing for 72 months The incentives are necessary given the limits of the current network of fueling stations confined mainly to California. The limits of existing fueling options and the weakness of the current hydrogen infrastructure was made clear when a catastrophic fire and explosion occurred at an Air Products hydrogen plant in Santa Ana, California, in June of this year knocking out hydrogen supplies for Northern California for five months. The Air Products disaster forced owners of hydrogen-fueled vehicles to idle or trade them in. (The high cost of luxury car insurance was noted by some as a reason for turning their cars in. Toyota representatives said the company took on the lease or financing payments for some Mirai owners.) The developments in California could and should be seen by many as the end of the hydrogen car conversation in the U.S. Hydrogen may make sense for commercial vehicles and public transportation, but the vulnerability of an already fragile and fledgling charging network is likely to be too much for even the greenest of green-leaning car buyers to tolerate. There are two valuable takeaways here. First, California, like Japan, has geographic and geologic reasons for taking a regulatory interest in the automotive market. Both Japan and California are concerned about emissions. But Japan has an abiding interest in energy independence and California has a perpetual struggle with air quality. These circumstances of geography give both regions common cause to promote both electrification and hydrogen fuel technologies. California has been willing to put its thumb on the scale for electrification with stringent emissions and fuel efficiency standards – but neither Japan nor California have provided incentives for hydrogen-fueled vehicles. This has put companies like Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda in the awkward position of advertising, promoting, and selling hydrogen-powered cars that may be green but are complicated and expensive to operate from a cost, charging, and insurance standpoint. The array of incentives offered by Toyota on the Mirai represent a case study in how a car company tries to sell a car against the headwinds of consumer indifference. It is instructional to compare the enthusiastic funding of charging and the range of discounts and discounted financing Toyota is offering for the Mirai against the lack of aggressive promotional activity by BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and other auto makers for their electric vehicles. I can remember visiting local Chevrolet dealers in the earliest days of the Volt extended range electric vehicle and finding the car being offered at a premium price with dealers claiming ignorance of a well-documented low-cost lease option. The Volt met its demise in early 2019 and GM expects to sell a measly 20,000 Bolt EVS annually. It’s hard to get excited about a car when you lose money on every one you sell. It’s clear that the Bolt is being allocated sparse marketing dollars. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a television advertisement or a dealer-advertised incentive offer for a Bolt. The vehicle is increasingly looking like a gig-economy fleet offering for the foreseeable future. Comparing the promotional effort applied to the Mirai by Toyota and the paucity of promotion allotted by the legacy ICE-based vehicle makers for EVs, it is easy to see why Tesla has scampered away with the lion’s share of the EV market and is threatening the sales leadership of traditional ICE-based luxury cars. Car companies are refusing to back up their nascent EV efforts with muscular marketing campaigns. The latest losers (in the estimation of automotive journalists and some analysts) have been Audi’s E-tron and Jaguar’s I-pace – both posting a few thousand vehicle sales in their first months on the U.S. market in the face of more than 111,000 Tesla Model 3 sales. Alternative propulsion technologies, whether electric or hydrogen-based, remain an awkward talking point for auto makers. Key takeaways are that car buying decisions remain emotional – not rational. The biggest challenge isn’t making the cars that people want, it is making people want the cars that have been made. Alone among EV auto makers, Tesla appears to be making the cars that people want. It remains one of the few car makers if not the only one struggling to keep pace with advance orders. The real challenge for Tesla’s EV rivals like General Motors may not be the electrical architecture of their vehicles. It will be rewiring their marketing and dealer networks to support and promote EV-based vehicles.
- Cyber attacks disrupting U.S. regional electrical power grids. The goal would be a shut-down for several hours to a few days, in a major urban center.
- Cyber attacks against North American telecommunications and Internet services, to disrupt the availability for several days across a modest region of the country.
- Damaging attacks to U.S. government servers, data, and digital services. Likely targets would be the Pentagon facilities and other Department of Defense (DoD) bases around the world. The objective would be to disrupt intelligence, logistics, communications, planning, and operations.
- Digital attacks against the U.S. Executive branch, including the White House or Embassies around the world. Also with a goal of disrupting communications, logistics, services, and operations.
- Cyber attacks against the financial sectors to temporarily impact the economy. Specific targets might include one or more of the U.S. exchanges, major banking services, and Federal Reserve. Perhaps taking down the stock markets, federal lending functions, disrupting inter-banking transfers, or interfering with financial services (ATMs, deposits, withdraws, bill-payments, etc.) in a limited way for a few days would send shockwaves throughout the public.
- Cyber attacks against U.S. oil production, refining, and distribution capabilities. This has a two-fold impact. It raises the price of global oil and it may force the U.S. to once again rely externally on other nations for petroleum, bringing relevance back to the Persian Gulf and the power that Iran has to control the Strait of Hormuz.
Anti-MonopolyThe State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) will be more active in 2020 in tackling anti-trust, anti-monopolistic behaviors. Their investigations will have teeth. Fines can be as much as 10 percent of prior year revenue. Inquiries are already underway. — 15 courier companies are under investigation for their alleged anti-monopolistic practices based on complaints from customers about coordinated price increases and selective willingness to bid for business. Companies should recognize that inquiries will often be triggered by their customers, whether with legitimate complaints or simply a grudge. Ensuring that government affairs teams have a well-established relationship with local SAMR officials is a sensible preparatory step. — 20 e-commerce enterprises are under investigation for requiring exclusive listings on their sites, which is prohibited by e-commerce law and anti-monopoly law. Sellers on these sites should check their contracts to ensure they are not enabling behaviors that SAMR may find problematic. Businesses will be challenged by SAMR on whether they have sufficient insight and control over behavior by front-line employees to prevent collusion taking place locally. The best Chinese companies’ internal control teams deploy up to 100 people on this, and they act against hundreds of often small-scale breaches every year. Multinationals tend to have fewer resources, which may expose them to criticism.
Foreign Investment and National Security Review (NSR)New foreign investment laws come into effect in January 2020 with elements favorable to foreign companies, solidifying announced market openings and reducing inconsistency in policy enforcement. Policies to support business should in future apply equally to both domestic and foreign enterprises. Foreign enterprises should also have equal access to government procurement and to domestic standards setting processes. There will be no distinction in how policy is applied to different vehicles for foreign investment (WFOE, EJV, CJV). Great intent, follow implementation closely. Areas of concern exist. The law details how indirect investment by foreigners will be treated, but does not detail the specific structures or ownership levels that will trigger review and registration. This is another area to watch, especially for financial investors. Perhaps the most important change is the revised national security review of foreign investment. Reviews are required for any foreign investment in national defense security (control not required) and any foreign investment in companies engaged in key industries that are somehow related to national security where the foreign investor has effective control. The second category is more relevant for most enterprises. Industries that fall into its scope range from agriculture to energy, infrastructure, technology, culture and the internet. While 50 percent ownership will certainly be seen as a trigger of effective control, a company could be deemed to have effective control at a much lower equity stake if the foreign investor is seen to be driving management decisions in areas such as strategy and HR. NDRC coordinates inputs from multiple ministries and other government stakeholders, convening an Inter-Ministerial Joint Committee to make decisions. If they do not reach consensus, decisions are pushed up to the State Council as final decision maker. Businesses should expect high profile decisions to be driven by geopolitics not just economics.
Data ProtectionMulti Level Protection Systems or MLPS 2.0 have been front of mind for chief information officers in China for much of 2019 as they prepared for the launch of new data protection standards. Large foreign companies seem more aware and better prepared for these changes that their Chinese peers. All businesses are required to self-assess the data they collect and their protection of this data. Anyone processing data above a certain level of sensitivity must report to their Public Security Bureau. All data breaches or attempted breaches must also be reported. Use of Chinese hardware and China based cloud services is strongly encouraged as part of protection protocols. Government inspectors from the Public Security Bureau will have unrestricted access to data stored in and passing through corporate servers to ensure that companies have registered themselves and implemented protections appropriately. This oversight of compliance is not theoretical. In Jiangsu province alone, around eight cases per day have been processed and 140 enterprises have been deprived of their business licence over the last two years.
BlockchainThe government is determined not to fall as far behind in regulating emerging blockchain based industries as it did in the early years of the Internet. The strategy of just launching a business and begging forgiveness later will not be tolerated. Regulatory priorities are not to enable unfettered innovation, rather they are to ensure social stability and centralized control. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) recently announced that it had shut down over 170 crypto platforms in 2019. Specific priorities include: — Ensure Chinese leadership in AI and IoT – an echo of Made in China 2025 priorities. — Apply blockchain at scale in supply chain and quality control to dramatically reduce cost. — Enhance food and drug safety – a broad middle-class priority which the government has struggled with for years. — Accelerate the shift away from physical money, to reduce risk in the financial system and direct money to places that it wants it to go. — Avoid dependence on the US for any aspect of blockchain technologies. President Xi’s recent speech on blockchain closed with two reminders. One to government officials to get on top of regulating this area, and one to innovators to focus their innovation on approved areas. In 2020, the most visible outcome of the speech will likely be local governments setting up funds to invest in local blockchain businesses. [post_title] => China in 2020: Navigating the new policy landscape [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => china-in-2020-navigating-the-new-policy-landscape [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-15 19:17:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-16 03:17:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281106 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281384 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2020-01-10 10:00:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-10 18:00:12 [post_content] =>
- Is ASML first clandestine shot in US war on China chips?
- Will the action extend further to other chip equip cos?
- China chip cold conflict warming up?
Hong Kong and businessHong Kong entered a recession driven by the downturn in tourists (nearly 1 million fewer travelers through Hong Kong airport last month with 20 percent fewer arrivals from mainland China) and by locals pulling back on spending. More than 50 conferences and exhibitions have been postponed or moved elsewhere. Popular hotels and restaurants have utilization down below 40 percent, even with 40-60 percent discounts, and are putting staff on unpaid leave. Retailers from clothing to jewelry have sales down as much as 50 percent from last year. Businesses clustered in industries in and around the financial markets have been less impacted. Financial markets have not closed and IPOs are still happening. But changes are being considered. While they won’t make overnight changes to a successful operating model, many are now starting to think through the what ifs and could act on them in 2020. For some multinationals, asking the basic question of why a large regional headquarters is in Hong Kong and why it is of the scale that it is can return slightly uncomfortable answers. For a good number, the answer is little more than it has always been like that – a location decision that was made rationally 20 or 30 years ago had not been challenged since then. Plus their senior executives like the low tax rates on offer in Hong Kong. For China focused businesses, more regional activity could be undertaken in the mainland, without material additional cost. Asean and North Asian businesses may have grown to the scale to justify their own regional hubs. With mainland visitor numbers to Hong Kong looking unlikely to recover soon, luxury brand businesses are questioning just how many outlets they should retain in Hong Kong. If clients from the mainland now prefer to meet in Shenzhen, it is straightforward to upgrade a Shenzhen office, to accommodate more permanent staff. Shenzhen or other local governments may even offer GBA policy incentives to do so. Looking forward into 2020, business leaders in Hong Kong face tough organizational challenges such as sustaining a culture in which mainland and local staff work effectively, and persuading Hong Kong staff to continue to take opportunities in the mainland. Few corporate leaders in Hong Kong are well prepared for these fundamental people challenges. There will likely be public instances where they fall short in 2020.
Closing2020 is the final year in China’s decade long challenge to double its GDP. The government will be able to declare success (potentially with a little support from statistical revisions). US tariffs will continue to have minor impact on Chinese growth. Domestic consumption and investment will remain the key economic drivers, and China will deploy targeted stimuli to maintain momentum. Many businesses will find 2020 a challenging, stressful year in China – more bankruptcies, more regulation, more unpredictable risks to reputation, and more selective consumer consumption. Yet China will only grow in importance to the majority of global businesses – as a source of global demand, of innovation, of capital, and of newly emerged world class competition. In spite of external pressure to deglobalize, global businesses will evolve their supply chain, their operating model, and even their ownership structure if needed to remain relevant in China.
You know that a technology is becoming a trend to watch when the Economist writes a piece on the topic. We know how big an investment goes into monetizing visual content for our phones, pads and TVs, through the likes of Warner Media, Disney and Netflix. Now there’s a big push into monetizing our ears, driven by Apple and others on the… Read More
Fisita World Mobility Summit 2019 in Nagoya, Japan, brought together powerful perspectives on everything from vehicle architectures (Visteon), to open source software (Synopsys), mobility (METI), and connectivity (Bosch). The most enigmatic juxtaposition at the event, however, came in a panel discussion I moderated
When describing the complexity of deep sub-micron systems on chip (SoCs), most engineers and their managers tend to refer to a combination of gate count, amount of embedded memory, and frequency of operation. If one’s task is to assess the complexity of the physical design effort for a given SoC, then there are numerous additional… Read More
The United States and allies’ national cyber response may soon be tested with the latest escalating conflict in the middle east. The U.S. conducted an airstrike that killed a revered Iranian general while in Iraq. This was in retaliation to a number of attacks against U.S. personnel and most recently the U.S. embassy in… Read More
Happy New Year to everyone.. lets hope 2020 is a great year.. The indicators are all pointing in the right direction but it will not take much to derail it if external factors change. Here is my weekly summary of all the important news from the semiconductor industry around the world.
2020 is starting very differently from 2019 with… Read More
After years of travel and computing remotely while on the road I have found that there are two magical experiences for the business traveler. One of those experiences is the hotline support I get from my preferred airline – United. The other is the live remote assistance I periodically receive from my company’s in-house IT department… Read More
Many companies saw 2019 as a year when more and more regulations piled on to them. CEOs who were the legal representative for their company in China got increasingly nervous as legal teams updated them on their personal responsibility under new regulations. Unfortunately for them, 2020 will… Read More
- Is ASML first clandestine shot in US war on China chips?
- Will the action extend further to other chip equip cos?
- China chip cold conflict warming up?
It would appear from a Reuters report yesterday that a behind the scenes “cold war” between the US and China in the chip business has just been exposed and has the potential… Read More
CES 2020 is being held this week in Las Vegas with over 4,500 exhibiting companies and over 175,000 attendees. The show includes a broader industry than just electronics, which led to it being renamed CES (previously the Consumer Electronics Show) and the sponsoring organization changing its name from the Consumer Electronics… Read More