Automobiles have become the “new battlefield” for analog chips, and Wenxian Micro has entered the game to develop intelligent high-side switches.
Electronic Enthusiast Network reports (Text/Liu Jing) As the demand for consumer electronics gradually peaks, the growth momentum of the automotive market has become increasingly prominent, and it has become a new battlefield for domestic and foreign analog IC design companies to compete. Many market research institutions predict that the analog chip market in the automotive field will grow by double digits in the next two years, becoming one of the fastest growing directions for automotive semiconductors.
Suddenly, domestic manufacturers are competing to expand into the automotive application market. In the past year, more than ten analog chip manufacturers including Runshi Technology, Nanocore, Jiehuat, Nanxin, Awinic Electronics, Shanghai Belling, Chipsea Technology, and Meixinsheng have also ushered in the automotive field. A big breakthrough. Recently, electronic enthusiasts interviewed Wenxian Microelectronics, one of the layout players in the field of automotive analog chips, and discussed with them its main business and automotive market layout.
12Years of technology accumulation, facing the "stuck neck" problem head-on
Wenxian Microelectronics is not a start-up analog design company. Looking back on its development history, it has been established for more than 20 years. "Since 2012, our founder has established a R&D team with keen market insight and ambition, and embarked on the road to solve the problem of core shortage." Wenxian Micro brand manager Sun Qianchao said in an interview with Electronic Enthusiasts.
Sun Qianchao, Brand Manager of Wenxian Microelectronics
In 2012, Wenxian Microelectronics established its first analog chip R&D center in Xi'an. In 2013, it established school-enterprise strategic cooperation with Xi'an University of Electronic Science and Technology and Xi'an University of Posts and Telecommunications, and established an "industry-university-research base" and a "master's internship base". Mr. Sun Qianchao said, "Industry, academia and research are a stable and important talent training and delivery channel for the company, providing us with many high-quality talents, allowing us to engage in high-threshold chip research and development."
Wenxianwei's team is "small but sophisticated, with strong combat effectiveness". More than 60% are R&D personnel, and R&D investment accounts for more than 20%. The investigation found that many members of Wenxianwei's R&D team have backgrounds in large manufacturers. Among them, Mr. Song Lijun, who serves as general manager, has worked for major manufacturers such as STMicroelectronics and Diodes. The director of analog R&D has also served as senior R&D manager of STMicroelectronics. , technical platform director, has worked for Huawei HiSilicon, ZTE Microelectronics, etc.
It is understood that Wenxian Microelectronics initially targeted the LED driver chip market, and after achieving good market results, it further challenged the more difficult self-developed chip market. Lay out multiple product lines such as power devices, DC-DC, AC-DC conversion, battery management chips, and automotive chips. Chip products cover automotive electronics, industrial power supplies, high-end consumer electronics and other fields, and have been recognized by the industry and customers in application scenarios such as automotive load protection, servers, 5G base stations, high-power lighting, video power supplies, PCs, mobile phones, and smart wearables.
At present, Wenxianwei's battery protection chips have made a name for themselves in the field of consumer electronics. "In the field of consumer electronics, our TWS headset lithium battery protection chip accounts for more than 30% of the market and has won unanimous praise from customers." Mr. Sun Qianchao said. The difficulty in designing battery protection chips applied in the field of consumer electronics mainly lies in the miniaturization, high integration and stability of the product. Wenxian Micro's battery protection chip has three main advantages: first, extremely small packaging. According to Mr. Sun Qianchao, its minimum package size has reached 1mm*1mm*0.2mm; second, high integration, Wenxian Micro's battery protection chip integrates all the protection functions required by the battery, which can save more than 5 components for the PCB layout and truly achieve "zero peripherals"; the third is the shipping mode. The product has a shipping signal feedback function, which can ensure 100 %Enter shipping mode.
In the field of consumer electronics, Wenxianwei's TWS headphone protection chip has reached the domestic advanced level. It is understood that Wenxianwei's battery protection chips have entered OPPO, vivo, realme, Meizu, Transsion, Edifier, Shengkuo, FIIL, Baseus, Sound Intelligence, Bull, Tmall Elf, Core Vision, Nothing, JLab, etc. Terminal brand.
Cars have become the "new battlefield" for analog chips, Wenxian Micro 2019quietly entered the game
After occupying a place in the field of consumer electronics with battery protection chips, Wenxian Micro has further reserved its strength to explore the field of automotive electronics applications. In 2019, Wenxianwei established its first automotive electronics innovation center in Wuxi and established an automotive R&D team. It is said that its automotive marketing director once served as a research and development engineer for BYD Automobile and was also responsible for the automotive electronics distribution business at Avnet Group. The process R&D director introduced by Wenxian Micro also has rich experience in automotive grade process development. Wenxianwei develops the automotive application market in an orderly manner from three major aspects: product research and development, vehicle regulation verification, and marketing.
"We are different from start-up companies that make automotive analog chips. We have profound technology accumulation and virtual IMD capabilities with TSMC as the background. We are very confident in the automotive market." Sun Qianchao said.
Wenxianwei has built a virtual IDM capability and laid out two strategic automotive supply chains: one is the wafer factory. It is reported that Wenxianwei introduced the world's most advanced 8-inch in 2017. Automotive grade wafer fab. Tianyancha shows that World Advanced has become one of the strategic shareholders of Wenxian Microelectronics. Wenxian Microelectronics has also introduced "Dingtai Craftsmanship", a 12-inch automotive-grade wafer foundry owned by Wingtech Technology. The second is packaging and testing, introducing Changdian Technology, the world’s third largest packaging and testing factory. It is understood that Changdian Technology’s mass-produced car-standard packaging products have covered many fields such as smart cockpits, ADAS, sensors and power devices.
The first automotive product developed by Wenxianwei was power MOS. "We started doing it in 2019. We were also the first batch of companies to start doing this. We have already supplied it in batches to car companies on multiple platforms." Sun Mr. Qian Chao introduced. It takes at least two to three years for automotive chips to go from design to implementation to market supply. In 2023, when market demand is relatively weak, Wenxian Micro's operating income can maintain a year-on-year growth of more than 30%. Revenue in the fields of consumer electronics and industrial control continues to grow steadily, supporting Wenxian Micro's continued research and development of automotive analog chips.
In addition to power MOS, Wenxian Micro is also developing intelligent high-side switch products for automobiles. This product is used to protect various loads in the car, such as car wipers, electric seats, electric hand doors, interior ambient lights, etc. "This high-side switch will be the main chip in 2024, used to replace the high-side products of Infineon and ST. It has not been officially released yet. We plan to hold a product launch conference in mid-March next year. At the same time, we also E-fuse smart fuses and micromotor driver chips have been laid out," Sun Qianchao revealed.
It is understood that the E-fuse smart fuse was first proposed by Tesla and can replace the traditional blowing fuse. But so far, no domestic new energy vehicle company has put it into use. At present, it seems that Wenxianwei has mastered the first-mover advantage of this product, but will domestic new energy vehicles change their minds in the future and be willing to provide E-fuse smart fuses? Paying the bill remains to be tested by time and the market.
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