- A veteran software executive from Siemens EDA, a U.S. unit of German industrial giant Siemens AG, founded a startup in Hangzhou, China called SEIDA to sell microchip design software using Optical Proximity Correction (OPC).
- Challenges the U.S. efforts to restrain China’s access to sensitive microchip design tools. China is expected to play an autonomous role in this industry.
An experienced Silicon Valley professional is shaking things up in China with SEIDA, a hot new startup on a mission to change the game in microchip design software, taking on Western titans to break through their monopoly in semiconductor industry. The founder, from Siemens’ U.S. arm, is turning heads, making it tricky for the U.S. to hold back China’s access to key chip tools. SEIDA’s launch is more than a startup story; it is a showdown in the world of chip technology and geopolitics.
The launch of groundbreaking SEIDA is shattering western dominance in chip technology
A seasoned Silicon Valley software executive took the helm of a startup named SEIDA in his native China last year, company records show. The startup told potential investors it would sell microchip design software that is mostly available from just a handful of large Western companies.
The coveted and highly specialized software tool, known by its initials of OPC, is used in the design of many microchips and is crucial to the design of advanced chips.
The software will be offered in early 2024, with plans to break the monopoly of big Western companies in the field and help China become autonomous in chip technology.
U.S. found it increasingly challenging to curb China’s chip industry
Washington is trying to curb China’s access to advanced microchip design tools. The production of chips is one of the most contentious technological struggles now dividing the United States and China as they are vying for economic and military supremacy.
At present, however, a new era is approaching.
SEIDA’s founders hail from the U.S. subsidiary of the German industrial giant Siemens, including individuals who previously held dominant positions in technological sectors in the Chinese market. The company’s plans have attracted powerful Chinese investors, such as the investment arm of China’s leading chip manufacturer, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC).
The U.S. government, through export controls and other restrictive measures, is attempting to thwart China’s acquisition of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools to prevent it from catching up with the progress made by the U.S. and its allies in the microchip sector. However, Siemens EDA, in a statement, said it already considers SEIDA “a potential competitor”. Beijing is also rushing to boost domestic development, attract expert expatriates to come home and overcome its lag in the sector.
SEIDA’s launch reflects a trend where Chinese companies leverage foreign expertise.
“SEIDA adheres to U.S. and Chinese rules,” Peilun “Allen” Chang, SEIDA’s chief operating officer, added, “it has a stringent vetting process…ensuring no infringement upon the intellectual property of others.”