It depend on whether this is their "National Will". If it is, then be it. China always surprises us. Not many people know that Alibaba is bigger than Amazon and eBay combined. I just leanrn UnionPay, which was almost non-existing 10 years ago, is as big as Visa and MasteCard put together.
The only thing can constrain China is technology, not other innovations which do not matter much. As long as they know the technology, they comoditise everything, which is good for consumers but not very good for employment.
What happen in the last few years is the production of most consumer electronics is shifted to China. The production thrives; the demand of design grows. ODM will then lead to innovated as there is enough capital to attract talents. China electronic market will continue thrive; so is the production. The only factor that will slow down the growth is economic factors.
I guess when you talking such large numbers, most of the volume falls into the relatively lower tech category. By 2018, I would even consider 28 nm as commodity. The cutting edge stuff where tech leadership is needed, probbaly does not account for a larger share of the market.
So if China is just seeting a numbers goal and not aiming for tech leadership in all major segment, it should be doable technically. Whether production can ramp up is another issue altogether. But as some else pointed out, China is good a large project execution.
@GSMD I agree, it is not far-fetched idea for China to attain No.1 position in product ownership but No.1 in technology leadership is another matter. This is not to say China is lagging far behind, but it has to change some things fundamentally to reach No.1 in technology leadership by 2020.
The Western economies recognized post WW-II the importance of getting good talent from all over the world. China on the otherhand nurtured home-grown talent and only in the last decade or so it has encouraged foreign professionals to work there. If this is ramped up, there is little doubt that it will reach No.1 in technology leadership!
@doc: Good point. China has a tech culture of being a great fast follower but has put less emphasis so far on being a breakthrough leader in new tech...or can someone show some examples to the contrary?
Not only does China have a booming electronics market, it also has a booming electronics export centre. Not only that, it has automation, labour, lesser costs and flexible man-machine hours. It will be number one sooner or later.
Dr. Jones article is, as usual, informative although it underestimates the total of smartphones. This is nothing new -- the US-centric market researchers consistently underestimate (by about 200M) the number of China's unbranded (whitebox) smartphones.
Another item worth pointing out is the tremendous volume of China's smartphones that are being exported globally to mostly developing regions.
One way or other - China will certainly succeed in building its strategically important IC industry and its infrastructure. One of the rarely mentioned impetus are spying programs of the US government
Interesting and not unexpected regarding the China IC push. Even more interesting will be how they attack the memory/storage market. As Government entities they don't really care about making money so I suppose they could license (or steal) the IP for 24 nm NAND and 25 nm DRAM but what would they do beyond that? Seems likely that memory oligopoly would would be loathe to license their leading edge planar and 3D IP so where are they going to get it? Possibly a run at an acquisition in the ReRAM, PRAM area? Would the US even allow that? I guess over the next few years we'll get to find out.