Localization of semiconductor devices in the medical electronics market

In recent years, China's medical electronics market has developed rapidly, especially the development and implementation of the national information service industry development strategy and broadband China policy, and has promoted the rapid development of medical informationization at the national level. Since 2012, the Ministry of Science and Technology has promulgated the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan for Medical Device Technology Industry”. Subsequently, the Ministry of Health issued the “Health China 2020 Strategy Research Report” and pointed out that by 2020, China’s total medical and health expenditure will account for GDP. From 6.5% to 7%, this means that the country will have about $1 trillion in funding in the health care sector. At present, the government's investment in the reform of the medical system has reached nearly one trillion yuan, and the country will continue to increase its investment in medical care in the next few years. Some market research institutions believe that in 2014, the development prospects of the medical industry will continue to grow steadily with double-digit growth rates.

The strong market demand of China Medical Electronics has brought huge business opportunities to global semiconductor manufacturers, especially with the outbreak of wearable devices and the gradual popularization of the Internet of Things, which has injected new impetus into the medical electronics industry. Looking ahead, wearable medical devices, telemedicine, mobile healthcare, and information intelligence platforms are all new growth points. The new industrial development trend will bring more opportunities to the industry and bring more challenges. Especially for Chinese semiconductor practitioners, it is not easy to buy cakes in the medical electronics market.

Localization of semiconductor devices in the medical electronics market

There is a giant roadblock

We know that semiconductor technology plays an important role in the field of medical device innovation, and semiconductor devices for medical devices are constantly pursuing improvements in reliability, accuracy, precision, ease of use, and portability, while at the same time, higher integration and miniaturization. Energy efficiency is also a major focus, and in these areas has always been the advantage of the global semiconductor giant. In recent years, the global representative companies such as semiconductors, hardware and software have frequently operated, and the planned investment in vertical integration, including Microsoft, Intel, Philips and other manufacturers, has begun to shift the focus to the medical electronics market.

First, Intel established the Digital Healthcare Division, and established a medical product division with Microchip, and then cooperated with medical device manufacturers to publish medical-related sensing chips and technologies. Texas Instruments also started its high-performance simulation business in early 2007. Established a medical/high reliability product line to focus on all related products for medical electronics; Philips established Asia Pacific's first medical diagnostic equipment learning center in Singapore to strengthen its investment in advanced healthcare in the Asia Pacific region; Samsung Seoul Hospital has widely applied the medical system developed by Samsung Electronics. In order to enter the medical market as soon as possible, Intel, Samsung Electronics, Texas Instruments, Panasonic, Motorola and Philips also have an open industry alliance ConTInuaHealthAlliance. The international giants have cut into the originally closed medical industry with high-tech and cost advantages, which has increased the resistance of local semiconductor manufacturers.

Technical barriers are difficult to break

The development of diversified products such as integrated circuits, sensors, data transmission chips, and programmable logic devices and their application in medical electronics has prompted the medical electronics industry to be at a high growth stage. The technological advancement of the semiconductor industry has become an important factor driving the rapid development of the medical electronics industry. However, the development of the semiconductor industry in China lags behind that of advanced countries, and mainland enterprises are mostly located in the middle and lower reaches of the global industrial chain.

Currently, semiconductor manufacturers focus on medical applications such as transplantation equipment (heart rhythm adjustment, nerve stimulation, drug supply and obesity treatment), portable devices (diagnostic imaging, oxygen therapy and patient monitoring), household equipment (physiological monitors, disease management, rehabilitation) , compliance with surveillance and medical information terminals) and security equipment (consumer identification and data privacy), as well as wireless technologies (such as Bluetooth and IrDA) and RFID. Sensors, power chips, data converters, etc. are the most demanding semiconductor devices for medical electronics; signal conditioning and processing, interfaces, and wireless technologies are the most promising aspects. Due to process, technology, patents, etc., these devices Most of the shares are occupied by major manufacturers such as Toshiba, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

There is a technical barrier to be considered here. The Chinese semiconductor industry is a link in the international industrial chain. The corporate form is based on foundry, the industrial structure is heavily packaged and tested, and the scale and market of domestic enterprises The share is relatively small, the product is single, the enterprise development and technical level are not mature enough and stable, and the industry is in the growth stage. This makes it difficult for domestic enterprises to break the existing technical barriers. However, in recent years, the development of IC design and manufacturing has been very rapid, and with the support of national policies, the overall ecological environment is improving.

High technical requirements

The medical electronics market has high requirements for safety. Once problems arise, it will take a lot of responsibility, and the cycle from product development to certification is very long, unlike toys and consumer electronics. Especially for some high-volume applications, high integration is necessary in order to achieve low cost and high reliability. In order to ensure that many medical products have better control over the safety and health of patients, high precision and product consistency are very important.

Of particular need to emphasize the importance of high precision. Because the human body signal received by medical electronic products is very weak, high-precision products are required for signal amplification and processing. From this perspective, the application of wireless technology in medical electronic equipment is not unlimited. Low-power, low-rate and narrow-band wireless technologies and broadband wireless technologies require manufacturers to understand the technology to a certain extent and have accumulated in technology accumulation. Precipitation can effectively respond to market demand.

New opportunities, new challenges

The increase in the demand for old-age care, the intensification of the contradiction between supply and demand of medical services, and the development of mobile Internet and big data technology have provided tremendous impetus for the rapid development of the mobile medical and health industry. According to statistics, in 2014, China's mobile medical health market will reach 2.84 billion yuan. It is expected to exceed 12.5 billion yuan in 2017, with a compound annual growth rate of over 70%. There are many new entrepreneurs and popular products in the field of mobile medical and mobile health in China. Although many mobile medical companies have not yet formed a relatively mature profit model, most mobile medical companies in China are still in the initial stage of user accumulation, but this Opportunities give opportunities for overturning in related industries, especially for the Chinese semiconductor industry, which is familiar with the local market. This is a big era where opportunities and challenges coexist.

Although the current domestic mobile health care industry is still in the initial stage of development, with the development of mobile Internet technology, the reform of public hospitals and the continuous opening of the concept of national medical treatment, mobile medical care will usher in explosive growth. And with the rise of wearable technology, the combination of software and hardware for mobile healthcare will bring explosive growth in the market. In the process of industry development, local semiconductor manufacturers will get a leap forward if they seize the opportunity.

Moreover, we can see from the country's anti-monopoly investigation of giants such as Qualcomm, the country is actively supporting domestic semiconductors, coupled with huge potential market prospects, which will also enable the rapid growth of the semiconductor device industry in the domestic medical electronics market.

   This article is selected from the special focus section of the "Electronic Medical Special Issue" in the electronic enthusiast network in September. Please indicate the source!

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