OPPO steps into the world’s deepest pit

Rumours broke that OPPO, which began a frenzied dig at semiconductor talent last year, had finally unveiled its plans for self-researching chips. On the evening of February 16, the OPPO CEO Special Assistant released an internal article, “Thinkings on Building Core Technologies,” which presented three major initiatives, including software development, cloud, and the “Mariana Plan” for chips.

The report mentions that last November OPPO mentioned the “Mariana Plan” in an internal document, which was officially announced last October to set up a chip TMG (Technical Committee) to guarantee technical input, headed by Chen Yan, a minister in the chip platform department who previously served as THE OPPO The head of the Institute’s Software Research Center, who was technical director at Qualcomm, joined Realme and OnePlus’s technicians earlier this year.

In response to media reports on chip research and development plans, OPPO said that the core strategy is to do a good job of products, any research and development investment is to enhance product competitiveness and enhance the user experience. At the same time, OPPO stressed that self-research chip work is by no means “short and smooth”, OPPO will not change the current relationship with partners.

It has to be said that OPPO is very much named, the Mariana Trench is the deepest known trench on Earth, OPPO used it to describe the self-research chip as a deep bottom of the “big pit.” But Rao was so, and OPPO jumped in willingly.

OPPO core-making has a track to follow

In order to get into the chip design, OPPO has been quietly laid out for two years.

As early as the end of 2017, OPPO was incorporated in Shanghai with a registered capital of RMB 3 million, 100% owned by OPPO Guangdong Mobile Communications Co., Ltd., and was a legal entity owned by OPPO Co., Ltd. Co., Ltd., Senior Vice President Jin Leli. into the “integrated circuit chip design and service.” Social security data show that The registration of The Communication is Xuhui District of Shanghai, the number of people insured has 146 people, the number of public patents has reached 47, mainly concentrated in images, audio, data processing and so on.

OPPO steps into the world's deepest pit

From Sky Eye Check

The entry chip business represents opPO’s efforts to increase research and development. At the first OPPO Future Technology Conference in late 2018, founder and CEO Chen Mingyong said, “OPPO will increase its investment in research and development next year from 4 billion to 10 billion, and will increase its investment year by year in the future.” “

In August 2019, Ji micronet reported that a number of chip industry headhunters, industry insiders revealed, “OPPO recently released a number of chip design engineers, they set up a company in Shanghai, from the exhibition, MediaTek dug up a group of grass-roots engineers.” “OPPO also has a small number of chip engineer positions for new students and requires applicants to have internships at chip companies.

“OpPO’s recruitment information is very clear about the signal to mobile phone chips, ” said a senior headhunter in the report. For example, the soC design engineer’s position requires the ability to complete SoC architecture definitions, functional design, and subsystem-level architectural designs, familiarity with THE ARM family CPU chips, proficiency in THE use of EDA, and, in some cases, design experience below 28nm. There are chip digital circuit design engineer, chip verification engineer, chip front-end design engineer and other positions, obviously is rushing to the mobile phone chip. “

In November 2019, Dutch technology media LetsGoDigital reported that the “OPPO M1” trademark has been approved by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), including chip integrated circuits, semiconductor chips, electronic chips for integrated circuit manufacturing, and smartphones.

OPPO steps into the world's deepest pit

For this chip, liu Chang, vice president of the OPPO Future Technology Conference at the end of 2019 and president of the Institute, said in an interview with the media that OPPO already has chip-level capabilities, and that the previously rumored M1 chip could be used in OPPO products in the future.

On research and development, Chen Mingyong said that in the next three years, OPPO’s total investment in technology will reach 50 billion: “OPPO will invest in the most core hardware underlying technology, and the ability of software engineering architecture, which will be broken down later.” “

At present, it seems that the majority of OPPO’s research and development investment is ready to hit the self-research chip this “bottomless hole.”

Although it was a pit, but had to step

Currently, only Huawei, Samsung and Apple are among the world’s top three mobile phone makers with the ability to self-develop chips, which are among the top three in global shipments. Simply put, the big business, the rich atmosphere is rich, only qualified to enter the chip research and development manufacturing.

OPPO steps into the world's deepest pit

From IDC

Chips are bottomless holes in the burning of money, and OPPO clearly understands this before naming the program after the Mariana Trench. Prior to the Ziguang Group Chairman Zhao Weiguo has publicly said: “To do integrated circuits, to enter the first group, we need large-scale capital investment, a year can not invest 10 billion U.S. dollars, is not able to enter the first group.” “

And in addition to money, it takes more time. Huawei’s K3V2 was launched in 2009, and the early experience was described as “disaster-grade” and therefore led to rumors that Ren Zhengfei had hit his phone on Yu Chengdong’s face. Over the past decade, Huawei has spent more than 480 billion yuan on research and development, giving Hyshes the opportunity to have a high-end market and Qualcomm’s wrists.

The chip is a deep pit, but manufacturers are scrambling to jump in and out.

From the product point of view, if you can go deep into the chip design, then the product’s soft and hard integration will greatly improve, while the product rhythm control of the initiative, will also be in their hands. The iPhone’s artificial intelligence, imagery, security and many other features can be traced back to the chip design, with self-researching chips, there is a moat, there is differentiation, in the AIoT era, self-research chips can also make their own ecology better integrated.

Of course, the more important moment to prepare for the “spare tire” strategy, the 2019 physical list storm, for all domestic enterprises sounded the alarm. Only by holding more cards in your hand can we deal with all kinds of unexpected situations.

OPPO and vivo have been the first tier in shipments, but both the outside world’s impression and the two companies’ perceptions of themselves, the “tech attribute” is clearly slightly inferior to the three giants mentioned above.

OPPO is apparently starting to change this, with 36kr reporting that, in addition to the “Mariana Project” on chips, OPPO has launched the “Pantanal Project” involving software engineering and supporting developers around the world, and the Amazon Program, which builds cloud services, which correspond to “software”, “services” and “hardware” categories, respectively.

Semiconductor enterprises are divided into design and manufacturing two categories, Apple, Huawei are design chips, delivery of TSMC contract, OPPO of course is also going this way, a mobile-side SOC mainly by CPU, GPU, ISP, DSP, baseband (now there are NPU, coprocessor, etc.) a number of parts, CPU, CPU, CPU, GPU and so on have public version, baseband can also purchase Qualcomm and other companies, to OPPO’s current layout and technical accumulation, the initial should still be mainly public version. But in order to differentiate, there is still to have its own unique design in, such as Sheng Sheng communications application for a variety of audio and video patents may be the direction.

For self-research chips, financial resources, strength and endurance is indispensable, in a short period of time it is difficult to see results, and this also needs to have enough profits to support the normal operation of enterprises, will not be dragged down by high research and development investment. OPPO’s corporate style is that the gross profit of OPPO is obviously not low, but there is still a gap between the volume and Huawei, Samsung and Apple, in such a competitive market, how to balance research and development investment and corporate profits, is the most important issue, in a short period of time, OPPO Will still focus on supply chain solutions.

The time for OPPO growth is over, global mobile phone shipments in 2019 have barely grown year-on-year, companies to high levels, naturally to find new growth points, and choose technology, it is bound to mean that the choice of a bad way, and in the short term can not see results.