As the Sino-US trade dispute escalated into a technological war around 5G mobile communications, Intel and Ziguang Zhanrui announced the end of their 5G chip cooperation in China, according to Businesskorea. Since the World Mobile Communication Congress announced the establishment of partnership in 2018, the cooperation between the two sides has been put on hold for less than a year.
As for Samsung's targeting of the 5G market, especially smartphones, semiconductors and telecommunications equipment, this may be an opportunity.
Intel and Ziguang Zhanrui have jointly decided to end their cooperation on 5G baseband chips, which is entirely a commercial decision. But some semiconductor industry analysts say Intel made the decision with the Trump administration in mind.
“Intel has long feared that its close contacts with Chinese companies in the chip business could infuriate the U.S. government.”Nikkei Asia Review quoted anonymous officials as saying. In 2014, Intel bought a 20% stake in Ziguang Zhanrui for $1.5 billion. It is for this reason that Ziguang Zhanrui is considered to have survived the Sino-US trade dispute, but ultimately failed to avoid the aftermath of the Sino-US trade war.
Although Ziguang Zhanrui released its first self-developed 5G communication technology platform on MWC2019, Macaru and its first 5G baseband chip, Ivy 510. But a researcher at China Market Research Corp. Xinnuo said Intel could work with other Chinese corporate customers to enter the Chinese market, but Zhanrui missed a good opportunity to learn from Intel.
Semiconductor industry analysts say that China is facing a difficult battle in promoting the development of the semiconductor industry. The United States has imposed restrictions on the export of equipment, components and technology to China's chip manufacturer, Fujian Jinhua, and has begun to control China in terms of 5G baseband chips.
Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, Intel and MediaCorp are the only companies to launch 5G baseband chips. However, apart from Samsung and Huawei using their own 5G chips, most smartphone manufacturers use Qualcomm's 5G chips. This means that Intel and Zhanrui have little influence on Samsung.
This decision will also enable Samsung to compete equally with Qualcomm and Huawei in the Chinese market. An antitrust case between Apple and Qualcomm shows that Samsung's 5G baseband chip technology is advanced, so Apple is considering using the baseband of MediaCorp and Intel as well as Samsung's 5G baseband on the iPhone.
The decision is also good news for Samsung's agent business. This department produces Qualcomm and Samsung 5G mobile chips. The more 5G chips produced by the two companies, the higher the sales of the OEM department will be. Samsung and Qualcomm's 5G baseband chips will be manufactured by Samsung's OEM through a 7Nm process, while Huawei's chips will be manufactured by TSMC.