Market Insights

China a Challenging but Important Market Place for Power Electronics

August 01, 2015 by Leo Lorenz

Also there is a slowdown in same market segments this year China remains the most dynamic, extremely competitive but also challenging marketplace for all

Also there is a slowdown in same market segments this year China remains the most dynamic, extremely competitive but also challenging marketplace for all power semiconductor devices and power electronic products in the world. The new Government is almost two years in office and there are clear signs that they focus very strong on Energy related topics e.g. wind power, solar power, energy transmission lines and storage units, extending the network of High Speed Trains and pushing for E-vehicles in the big Cities.

With the merger of CSR (China South Railway Coorp.) and CNR (China North Railway Coorp.) China will became an extremely strong and very competitive player for offering High Speed Rail Systems on the world market. To satisfy the fast growing economy the increasing demand of electrical energy to a great extend is coming by new build nuclear station. This enables China to develop advanced technologies in this field and hence elevate to a leading nation exporting nuclear power plants to the world market.

In several fields of applications covering power electronics such as High Speed Trains, Renewable Energy Technologies, Motor Control and Power Quality Control units as well as Power Supplies in all telecom and consumer equipment China elevated within one decade only to an extremely attractive country to become a key technology player around the world. Now this is attracting many SME’s and big companies from Europe, USA and Japan to provide their services and technologies with localized production capabilities. 

However there are still some key technologies lacking to satisfy the value added chain for all power electronics converter e.g. power semiconductor technologies. This was recognized by the NDRC  (National Development and Reform Commission) Ministry about 10 years and triggered a huge funding program by MOST (Ministry for Research) and MIIT (Ministry for Industry and Information Technology) to motivate Research Organizations (Universities & Research Centers) and Industries to direct research, developments in power devices (mainly IGBT’s) and build up appropriate production capabilities. Within the last 5 to 8 years this happened to a great extent that today there are several players on the market producing IGBT power modules and manufacture standard Si-IGBT Chips. Along with this activity CSR took over Dynex Cooperation UK- a leading UK company for high power IGBT dies - and established a high tech 8 inch production line for IGBT chips. This production facility is equipped with the newest processing equipment enabling CSR to produce state- of the Art IGBT chips and high power packages.

Due to the cooperation and technology transfers with leading players in USA , Europe and Japan, in many aspects, within 15 years only, China picked up to the top nations in some important technologies, e.g. Transportations Systems, Energy- , Communication- , and Consumer Technologies but also in Education e.g. Elite- Universities with excellent Infrastructure and dedicated Research Centers. While 15 years ago only 15% of the students had a reasonable skill the English language today, this is more than 80%.

However some cultural related issues are still very different between China and the western countries. Just to mention a very few: the decision making process, the problem handling capability, the people management hierarchical structure, logistic management and how to serve the customer are very different between these nations. For this reason still both mentalities have to learn a lot from each other to minimize the misunderstandings. But on the other side I hope this remains different to keep the attractivity of the individual cultures.

In 2015 the PCIM Asia took place from June 24th to 26th in Shanghai and attracted experts from Industry and Academia in the 14th year for a dedicated and highly recognized conference and exhibition in the field of Power Electronics. The PCIM in China is having a continuous, robust growth rate and in the meantime it belongs to the most important technical platforms for researchers, product development engineers as well as decision makers and marketing specialists to detect new business opportunities. This exhibition and conference has had an excellent developed over the years to become a prestigious forum to exchange information and create new business opportunities along the main stream of power electronic system development. The conference itself is supported by a dedicated Advisory Board Members consisting of distinguished Professors from Universities and Industries from China, Japan, Korea and Europe. 

The PCIM Asia this year addressed key development trends in advanced power converters, future power semiconductor devices, renewable energy technologies and E-Mobility. The 2 keynote presentations are “SiC Power Semiconductor Devices for environmental friendly E-Vehicles” by Dr. Kimimori Hamada (Toyota Motor- Cooperation, Japan) and “Driving Transport Electrification” by Prof. Chris Gerad (Univ. of Nottingham, UK) highlighted important future direction for improving our environment. A special industrial session on Power Devices for Transportation systems and Renewable Energy Technologies attracted many participants from Industries, Universities and Research Centers.

The recipients for the Best Paper Award this year where Keiichi Higuchi from Fuji Electric Japan on a “New Type of Power Module for E-Vehicle” (Sponsored by Mitsubishi) and Mukai Hao from China Electric Power Research Institute on “Electric Energy storage in Wave Power Integration” (Sponsored by Semikron), the Young Engineer Award was devoted to Dr. Hong Yao Long from University of Sheffield UK on “New Generation of Clustered IGBT with High Ruggedness” (Sponsored by LEM).

The PCIM Asia with 14 years history in China is a brilliant example of how to outperform in this high competitive Chinas Market. The PCIM 2016 is now open for setting up a comprehensive technical program for attracting experts from industry and academia around the globe. Try and come, you will benefit.