In an effort to impede China’s access to cutting-edge chipsets and semiconductor equipment, President Joe Biden and U.S. officials have devised two strategic initiatives. This move aims to curtail Beijing’s technological advancement while simultaneously bolstering domestic chip manufacturing. The focal point of this new global tech rivalry is advanced semiconductor packaging, an aspect that experts argue has been neglected for too long.
The U.S. government is directing substantial attention and subsidies toward attracting chip manufacturers to the country. Representative Jay Obernolte, a California Republican and one of the vice-chairs of the Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, emphasized the critical importance of semiconductor packaging, stating that the semiconductor ecosystem’s growth is contingent on giving packaging due prominence. Obernolte cautioned against in-house packaging development, emphasizing that it would yield no positive impact.
Traditionally considered back-end manufacturing, Packaging, Assembly, and Testing (PAT) have historically received less focus, innovation, and productivity compared to front-end chip manufacturing. However, the landscape is evolving rapidly as new technologies facilitate the stacking and combining of chips, marking an industry inflexion point.While advanced packaging alone may not enable China to compete with the U.S. semiconductor growth, experts believe it can assist the U.S. in crafting faster, cost-effective computing systems by closely integrating various chips. This strategy could allow China to preserve its high-priced, limited-quantity chip technology.
China, under the Made in China program announced by Premier Xi Jinping in 2015, has prioritized the development of semiconductor packaging technology. Although China trails the U.S. and Taiwan in advanced semiconductor packaging, it is making significant strides in wafer processing on a large scale.
China possesses a substantial volume of back-end facilities and is home to the world’s third-largest Assembly, Testing, Marking, and Packaging (ATMP) firm, JCET Group, following Taiwan’s ASE Group and the U.S.’s Amkor Technology in profit ranking. Chinese firms are aggressively increasing market share, with JCET’s recent acquisition of a cutting-edge production facility in Singapore and the establishment of a state-of-the-art packaging unit in Jiangyin.