Analysts at the Chinese company Jiwei, which studies local production chains, consider the success of the semiconductor-related business in China to be very limited so far. Jiwei said Oppo pledged to spend more than $7 billion on its own chips in 2019, but has since launched only an image signal processor (ISP) and a Bluetooth audio processing chip.
According to analysts, the developers still have to organize mass production – it is unlikely that the chips will be used in many Oppo models, since the novelties are not “mature” enough compared to the finished products that Oppo can freely buy.
Analysts believe Oppo won’t be able to make modems for its smartphones anytime soon, and while local alternatives like Huawei’s solutions are of some interest, Chinese companies still need to buy in bulk overseas to meet demand to satisfy. The same problem applies to Xiaomi, for example. Additionally, no Chinese processors and chipsets are expected to ship any time soon, which is certainly good news for companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek, which dominate the mobile semiconductor market.
Of course, the Chinese manufacturers are aware of their dependence on foreign suppliers. US sanctions on China have shown that it is literally impossible to buy some components in significant quantities unless Washington so desires, which can only worry the Chinese economy. By manufacturing your own chips, the risks of geopolitical influence on the relevant economic sectors are reduced.
So far, however, Oppo has managed to launch just two types of semiconductors in two years, which is clearly not enough – even they won’t be available in significant quantities until a certain period in 2023, and won’t be widely available after that either . In other words, the project doesn’t seem to have been particularly successful so far.
The company says Oppo’s own solutions will initially be applied as the company’s “distinctive” solutions. The plan could bear fruit if global economic growth recovers and buyers start showing more interest in premium products. When that happens, Oppo will have a ready-made solution to meet the growing demand – if by then the chips are mature enough to be used in more models. If the long-term game of Chinese manufacturers really succeeds, Qualcomm and MediaTek could actually have some problems, at least in China.