The Strategist

Chinese Tsinghua Unigroup to Lay Out $ 47 billion for Semiconductors

11/17/2015 - 12:59

Chinese conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup intends to invest about $ 47 billion in semiconductor manufacturing over the next five years. The company expects to consequently be able to enter the top three leaders of the global market.

Tsinghua Unigroup company intends to become the third largest world manufacturer of semiconductors. According to Reuters, the conglomerate’s leadership intends to spend around 300 billion yuan (approximately US $ 47 billion) over the next five years for investment and production.
Tsinghua Unigroup’s chairman Zhao Weiguo commented that the closest step towards the idea’s implementation should be purchase of a stake in some US company. Mr. Zhao did not elaborate what company he meant. However, he noted that the transaction should be closed by the end of this month. At the same time, it is out of the question that the deal will be either an acquisition or purchasing a majority stake. The US government has traditionally been very wary of foreign redemptions, aimed at companies that may be linked to national security.

The Chinese authorities have invested heavily in development of the microchips production, trying to get rid of dependence on the European and US suppliers. Tsinghua Unigroup is a subsidiary of investment holding Tsinghua Holdings, which just deals with investment of government funds in high-tech manufacturing. As for microchips, in China, the volume of their imports is now higher than in oil purchases.

Mr. Zhao also complained: "It is very difficult to develop your own business in the semiconductor industry if you are not one of the three largest manufacturers in the world." To elbow into this short list, Tsinghua Unigroup have to oust Trinity Qualcomm, Samsung or Intel. At this point, it is hardly possible to overtake the last two of them even with such a large investment. One of them, Intel, sells $ 50 billion chips per year. The Korean manufacturer is rapidly catching up with the world leader. Thus, it turns out that the only real purpose for Tsingua Unigroup is getting onto third place in the global market. It is quite possible, given that during the last two years the company has invested in its own production and purchase of foreign assets about $ 9.4 billion.

Currently, the largest chip manufacturers are Intel, Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm. Revenues of the first of these companies in 2014 amounted to about $ 50 billion, that is, slightly more than China wants to invest to create Intel’s rival.

The next five upcoming years will be crucial for development of the Chinese semiconductor industry. Meanwhile, Mr. Weiguo also told about Tsinghua’s negotiations with one of largest manufacturers of computer memory units. The question is referred to joint construction of a new factory for production of NAND flash chips worth 90 billion yuan ($ 14.1 billion). Name of the alleged partner was not disclosed.