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Thread: Comments on Lattice Chinese Buyout Being Blocked?

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    Comments on Lattice Chinese Buyout Being Blocked?

    With Altera and Xilinx leading in FPGAs is the Lattice deal really that critical? Would it be a major stepping stone for Chinese incursions into this space? Is it really that critical to national security with the FPGAs being widely available? Does Lattice make special application chips others don't? Any thoughts, comments or even speculation on this area and Chinese expansion into semis would be appreciated. With TSM and others building fabs in China, is this even relevant? The Chinese are advancing their original tech at an ever increasing rate, how much of this is related to theft and acquisition or truly original research. I have never been to China or dealt directly with them, so my knowledge is limited in this area.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/02/trum...hip-maker.html

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    Last edited by Arthur Hanson; 09-15-2017 at 12:37 PM.
     

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    Blogger Daniel Payne's Avatar
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    I live in Oregon where Lattice is located and have delivered Verilog training courses to their engineers, plus I have several former co-workers that are at Lattice. Blocking the Chinese government from buying Lattice makes sense, because from a security viewpoint we really don't want the Chinese military to be using American technology to further their military strength and questionable military sales to un-friendly countries.

    Using an FPGA part is quite different than owning the FGPA technology itself.

    Lattice has tried to differentiate itself from the much larger Xilinx and Altera (Intel) by offering up smaller array sizes, more IO choices, and lower costs.

    China is on a rampage to acquire as much semi technology as possible to play catch-up with the rest of the world, because they don't want to import so much semiconductor content from other nations.

    China has very little IP protection, and I simply don't trust the communist government because it is incompatible with the precepts of democracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Hanson View Post
    With Altera and Xilinx leading in FPGAs is the Lattice deal really that critical? Would it be a major stepping stone for Chinese incursions into this space? Is it really that critical to national security with the FPGAs being widely available? Does Lattice my special application chips others don't? Any thoughts, comments or even speculation on this area and Chinese expansion into semis would be appreciated. With TSM and others building fabs in China, is this even relevant? The Chinese are advancing their original tech at an ever increasing rate, how much of this is related to theft and acquisition or truly original research. I have never been to China or dealt directly with them, so my knowledge is limited in this area.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/02/trum...hip-maker.html
    I really don't think insiders will be surprised by this at all. In fact most of us were expecting it. This does change the face of semiconductor M&A. Without the Chinese Government running up prices we may see much more activity, at least I hope so. Imagination Technologies for example, Canyon Ventures is running the price up causing the EDA companies to step aside (my opinion). The funny part is that the American face of Canyon Ventures is former Cadence CEO Ray Bingham. Ray was recently tossed from the Cypress Semiconductor BoD due to his Chinese connection so there is quite a backstory here...

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    Blogger Daniel Payne's Avatar
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    Other blocked Chinese acquisitions include:

    • Micron, July 2015
    • Fairchild Semi, December 2015
    • Lumiled, March 2015
    • Western Digital, September 2015
    • GCS, March 2016
    • Aixtron, May 2016


    Source: Quartz Media

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    If a rampant outsourcing of high-tech jobs and corporate financial transactions (in a pursuit of maximizing corporate profits), and practically all semiconductor (and other) manufacturing from USA to Asia is not a threat to the US national economy and security - I don't know how such a threat might look like.

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    Blogger Bernard Murphy's Avatar
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    Would this have been as much of an issue if Trump weren't president? Perhaps, perhaps not. Difficult not to feel there is an element of negotiation in this - another bargaining chip on the table with the Chinese. That seems to be his MO.

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    The US government (and the military) will only use semiconductors built in the USA. On the leading edge that means Intel or GF Fab 8 (in New York). When I was at GOMAC earlier this year, this was one of the big topics being discussed. I never thought of it before attending that conference, but I would be surprised if the Intel acquisition of Altera (which used to manufacture in Taiwan) was orchestrated in some way by this, although the datacenter offload thing is pretty compelling anyway. I suspect that there was worry that if Lattice was bought by the Chinese, they would move manufacturing there (to SMIC maybe?).

    Military volumes are too low for a lot of SoC design, so FPGAs are really important. Market leader Xilinx manufactures in Taiwan, so is off-limits. Altera is safe inside Intel, presumably, but is mainly high end big arrays. If Lattice was moved to China there would be no accessible low complexity arrays.

    If you want to know more about PCAST and CFIUS (and if you don't even know these acronyms, for sure you need to know more) then read my post from SEMICON West
    The Four Ts: Trade, Tax, Talent and Technology Funding - Breakfast Bytes - Cadence Blogs - Cadence Community

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard Murphy View Post
    Would this have been as much of an issue if Trump weren't president? Perhaps, perhaps not. Difficult not to feel there is an element of negotiation in this - another bargaining chip on the table with the Chinese. That seems to be his MO.
    FYI - even the Obama administration blocked the sale of the US business for German semiconductor company Aixtron SE to Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund LP by executive order back in December 2016.

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    Expert Paul McLellan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard Murphy View Post
    Would this have been as much of an issue if Trump weren't president? Perhaps, perhaps not. Difficult not to feel there is an element of negotiation in this - another bargaining chip on the table with the Chinese. That seems to be his MO.
    PCAST was an Obama administration committee. Their results were published this year, literally in the final weeks of the adminstration before Trump's inauguration.

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