China Nears Semiconductor Chip Self-sufficiency with ByteDance


Semiconductor TikTok owner ByteDance is exploring semiconductor chips-design for its use in specialized fields

China has been the world’s largest importer of foreign chips, which the country uses for producing electric vehicles (EVs), smartphones, and other consumer electronics. Many of those products are then exported to the rest of the world, including markets where a semiconductor originally came from. The country however has been making numerous attempts to become self-sufficient- a goal that many countries have been aiming for in the wake of the pandemic and frantic global supply chain.

China has even announced plans to invest US$1.4 trillion between 2020 and 2025 in advanced technologies including semiconductors. So far, its vigorous push toward technological self-sufficiency has led to the imports of integrated circuits (ICs) shrinking by 9.6% in volume in the first quarter this year from a year ago when volume stood at 33.6%.

TikTok owner ByteDance is looking into designing its chips, joining a slew of Chinese internet giants focused on semiconductors as Beijing tries to become more self-sufficient in critical technology. ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok and more recent gaming successes, is exploring chips-design for its use in specialized fields because it hasn’t been able to find suppliers that can meet its requirements, a spokesperson told CNBC.

Reports specify how these chips would be particularly customized to match the workload connected to the several business fields on ByteDance. The spokesperson concerned stated how these fields include entertainment and information applications, along with video platforms.

Notably, the Chinese tech giant will not take part in making chips for its sale to any other company. ByteDance noted how it has several job vacancies on its site for positions essentially connected to the design of these chips. Its focus on designing a conductor focuses on a couple of significant themes. These include the growing focus from firms to make chips for particular needs. Along with it, the government’s focus to pushing to emerge stronger in this field.


ByteDance is Not Alone

In the past few years, companies such as cloud titan and Alibaba, along with search giant Baidu have come up with their self-designed chips. This is despite them not having an essentially focused background in semiconductors. This is due to custom-designed chips being a way for companies to make particular products for what their work calls for. This is better than purchasing one off-the-shelf from another concerned firm.

Despite this, Chinese companies still need contract chipmakers, mainly foreign companies, to adequately make the specific parts for it. This appears rather identical to what Apple Inc does for its devices such as the iPhones. Semiconductors are pretty much necessary for various products from phones to automobiles. Hence, it is viewed as a significant battleground between China and the US in the middle of a wider tech war.

For years now, China has broadly invested in ramping up its domestic chip industry but struggling to keep up with its rivals. Though China still depends widely on foreign tech, it has recently stepped up its emphasis on self-sufficiency in semiconductors.