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Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai

6/26/2012 06:01 AM EDT
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selinz
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
selinz   6/26/2012 7:16:58 PM
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At a recent conference, I spoke with a colleague who talked about the high engineer turnover in China and Asia in general with his American company. Essentially, they would become trained and then immediately leave and go to a indigenous competitor. Then ultimately, you don't get the business. Thus, it seems like someone like TI would be weary of such practice.

Brutus_II
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
Brutus_II   6/26/2012 8:54:57 PM
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Ahhh yes. I see this happening constantly. I guess the benefits are greater than the headaches......but for how long.

William.Hood
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
William.Hood   6/26/2012 9:59:25 PM
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Given China's lack of IP protection and , I'd be VERY uncomfortable with a design center located there.

mcgrathdylan
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
mcgrathdylan   6/27/2012 4:47:29 AM
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This is a good point. I imagine Western companies doing design in China are bending over backwards to do everything possible to protect their IP. Still, it seems risky...

junko.yoshida
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
junko.yoshida   6/27/2012 8:03:52 AM
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Good point, selinz. How to retain good local employees is always a challenge for multinationals. Would TI be weary? You bet. But I don't think they have much choice here.

junko.yoshida
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
junko.yoshida   6/27/2012 5:54:36 PM
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Here's what I've heard lately from a colleague of mine in Beijing: He wrote to me: "Actually, the job market of chip designers in China are still very strong. And engineers are easy to find another good salary job if they do not like the current salary, corporate culture or even the logo or slogan of a company."

goafrit
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
goafrit   6/26/2012 9:09:44 PM
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This has been the truth. From ADI to TI, the industry is going China which means they are building big teams in those countries. But do not be fooled, Americans visit those engineers monthly to help them.

WW Thinker
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
WW Thinker   6/26/2012 11:23:12 PM
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You are correct, engineers in China and Taiwan still lacks the disciplines of the west. Quite often, their bosses push for cost-effectiveness at the expense of the few important details.

nicolas.mokhoff
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
nicolas.mokhoff   6/26/2012 10:06:10 PM
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quote: TI is after in China is a smart metering device based on China’s state grid program. TI taped out the first product and is sampling it now, said Roller. “This is a huge opportunity for us.” -- you bet it's a huge opportunity to control costs and precious resources; see PiperJaffray's still useful industry report on those opportunities: http://www.strategicsiliconservices.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/MR-PJ-08162010.pdf

Sanjib.A
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
Sanjib.A   6/27/2012 1:07:47 AM
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Yeah...after going through the report you've shared it makes much sense.

Sanjib.A
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
Sanjib.A   6/27/2012 12:58:48 AM
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It is amazing to see that the local companies some time takes only six month from start of design to tape-out! Do they deliver the products with expected quality? Recently, there was a news about China government kicking off a program that aims to define a national processor architecture: http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4371529/China-mulls-national-IC-architecture-spec Does this move have any relation to that?

junko.yoshida
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
junko.yoshida   6/27/2012 1:04:40 AM
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No, Sanjig. Not directly. However, I think what gets lost in the West often is China's speed. Once they decide to do something, Chinese moves very fast. Do they cut corners? Some do, others don't. But the biggest challenge facing the multinationals is how to keep up with this China speed, in my humble opinion.

Simon7382
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
Simon7382   6/27/2012 6:09:19 AM
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In my experience the emphasis in China is on cost and speed. Quality, meeting specifications, test coverage, etc., not so much. And, keep in mind that it is pretty easy to tape out a spinoff product in 6 months, which is based on a family which took TI years to develop. Furthermore, a lot of those "quick" products developed in China by Chinese companies are knock-off second sources of US IC-s. While Chinese engineers are willing to work harder and longer hours than their US colleagues they have much less experience. In general I do not believe in miracles, like developing a significant new IC from scratch in 6 months.

junko.yoshida
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
junko.yoshida   6/27/2012 8:00:28 AM
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I do not believe in miracles, either. No doubt a new chip taped out must be a spin-off product...but then, what we can't lose sight of is that these spin-offs must come to the market, very quickly. Otherwise, you lose the window of opportunity in meeting particular needs of a particular customer. Again, we can discuss who is more experienced in or better at meeting the spec as much as we want, but if we don't have a product designed to meet the spec in the first place, we are not even participating in the market opportunity. Thus, I think TI is making a great move here by installing its MCU design center in Shanghai.

VNP
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
VNP   6/29/2012 7:37:48 AM
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Simon, I think so. 6 month for taping out is reasonable if you use some reference design and want to modify it. Just modify.

rkadam
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
rkadam   6/27/2012 4:25:29 AM
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How is this trend going to affect the Low cost design centers situated in India? India does not seem to be a good market for manufacturing products, sales i am not so sure compared to China, but my guess is China probably is better.

mcgrathdylan
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
mcgrathdylan   6/27/2012 4:51:37 AM
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I don't think there is any question that TI wants to do MCU design in China so that it can be tune with the Chinese customers building products. India, I believe, has a great deal of design talent, but TI wants to be as close as possible to customers in China.

elPresidente
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
elPresidente   6/28/2012 10:11:07 AM
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In tune with, as a]close as possible to, the Chinese customers? You can't be serious? TI, like everyone else has a ton of offshore deferred-taxes cash it does not want to return to the US to get taxed. They could care less about where it's designed or for what reason or even about IP protection...a microcontroller is a microcontroller that an APPS TEAM is in tune with he customer on requirements with. The IP protections are a non issue for execs who only care about keeping that offshored cash from coming back and paying for our jobs, roads, schools, retirement, and wars.

docdivakar
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
docdivakar   7/1/2012 12:23:44 AM
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India's design talent used to have an edge over China's but I am afraid the margin has shrunk. Access to fab for post-Silicon characterization and design iterations give a huge advantage (while India is busy putting out press releases on its fab plans about once every six months!). MP Divakar

junko.yoshida
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
junko.yoshida   6/27/2012 8:01:48 AM
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TI, for one, has its own MCU design center in India. TI's new China MCU design center won't replace it.

Peter Clarke
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
Peter Clarke   6/27/2012 12:52:58 PM
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on the other hand it has to be recognized that China and Taiwan have massive contract manufacturing operations at the system level that TI wants its MCU designs to be tuned into India not so much.

junko.yoshida
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
junko.yoshida   6/27/2012 2:49:55 PM
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True, Peter. It is that "ecosystem" that's making China even stronger than ever before.

docdivakar
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
docdivakar   7/1/2012 12:15:37 AM
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Junko, to your point, TI has invested in India starting in the late 80's when many similar businesses were running as far away from it. The initial years for TI in India were loss leaders but TI believed that the market there took longer than in other countries. Overall, investing in India has paid off to TI. I have a hard time believing the design cycles move much faster in China for MCU's. It can certainly be replicated here in the US and in other places like India. MP Divakar

GREAT-Terry
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
GREAT-Terry   6/27/2012 4:11:33 PM
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I think it is smart to have the design center located locally, even just for a spin off product of a product family. But the key is how to keep talents an the IP.

yellow1986
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
yellow1986   6/27/2012 4:29:48 PM
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shit~!copy IP is not easy since the cycle time and differenr process

sroller
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
sroller   6/27/2012 11:10:50 PM
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The risks mentioned in the comments above around employee retention and IP protection are very real, but in the end the risk of not being in China is far greater. The needs of local Chinese customers (and other emerging markets) are simply different than what is required in most of the western world today. Product lines based in China will have the best ability to translate those needs into device specs and execute on them.

ruserious
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
ruserious   6/27/2012 11:55:32 PM
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I'm glad you're aware that your IP is in danger. I'm curious how you calculate that the risk of not having a design center in China is higher than the risk of losing your IP portfolio. TI has a fantastic legal department, but that has very little impact in China.

cp_hust
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
cp_hust   6/28/2012 9:19:27 AM
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How 'IP is in danger' for a digital IP of a MCU? Unless an employee leak out all the rtl and custom block designs, it's really hard for any company to produce a compatible IP product in a short time. And the market won't wait for anyone to do so. That's why the Chinese won't simply copy a complex MCU or SoC product. Analog IPs, on the other hand, needs more protection.

elPresidente
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
elPresidente   6/28/2012 10:13:43 AM
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The IP for an MCU fits on a USB thumb drive. You're right, no Chinese PhD making $800/month would take that to his next job for better pay or because his government needs it for a weapons program.

Greg.Dee
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
Greg.Dee   6/29/2012 6:33:32 AM
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Well everyone here is pretty well correct but what isn't right is that "crazy" photo of Scott Roller! Photographer is doing him no favours!! :))

parity
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
parity   7/2/2012 12:56:47 AM
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Check out Scott Roller's Linkedin profile - that explains his smile and the demise of TI's management proficiency. I just spoke to a friend at TI about how they were doing and he mentioned that China was eating their lunch in analog products. Seems China hired several contractors from the US a while ago (unemployed no doubt), paid them handsomely, and they solved their analog process problems within ~3 weeks. Now China is dialed in. No more field advantage for the US. Like we found with Russian nuclear engineers, unemployed US semiconductor engineers can be a loose cannon for hire.

collin0
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re: Why TI does MCU designs in Shanghai
collin0   5/5/2013 8:15:05 AM
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It is a win-win decision to establish design center for TI in Shanghai. On one hand, TI could sell more chips to the most market China in globle and get big profit by closing to the demand market. On the other hand, more Chinese engineer have chance to enter into TI to learn knowledge and accumulate experience.

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