China's National Integrated Circuitry Investment Fund is approaching a close to the second fund in preparation for continuing the push for local chip production, according to recent reports. The fund itself has been started by the country's government in support of bringing an end to reliance on semiconductor-related imports. The second fund in question, meanwhile, is set to have raised as much as 120 billion yuan – or approximately $18.98 billion. According to unnamed individuals privy to the plans, that round is not anything near the end of the Chinese government's efforts in the segment. Amid stalling trade renegotiations with the U.S. and a series of sanctions and denouncements against companies such as Huawei and ZTE, the country's leadership is looking to shore up weaknesses in aspects of the chipset market at home.
The initial funding for the National Integrated Circuitry Investment Fund managed to raise approximately $22 billion and every individual fund will be handled by the China Development Bank via its CDB Capital Corp branch. Sources have claimed that the latest fund will be centered on the creation of memory chips, integrated circuit design and compound semiconductors such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride. That's hardly surprising since ZTE sources its chipsets from U.S.-based Qualcomm, or used to, at least. Investment in the chipset market will feasibly make many Chinese companies more autonomous. Huawei, for example, has been pursuing that goal on its own with its highly successful line of SoCs made by its subsidiary HiSilicon – including the Kirin 970 and the recently rumored Kirin 980. Its subsidiary brand Honor also has access to the chips and it makes sense that the Chinese government would want more local companies following suit, i.e. not relying on foreign silicon, whether it's coming from the U.S. or Taiwan, i.e. MediaTek.
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Integrated Circuitry Investment Fund have not confirmed any details about the funding, aside from revealing the second round was recently taking place. Previous funding rounds have seen investments go to more than 50 Chinese technology companies in the chips industry. Those are said to have included Hong Kong-listed Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp and Yangtze Memory Technologies, among others.