Tsinghua Unigroup

Tsinghua Unigroup is a Chinese semiconductor manufacturer that also supplies digital infrastructure and services to domestic and global markets. Based in Beijing, it is among the country’s largest technology conglomerates; subsidiaries include UNISOC, China’s largest mobile phone chip designer.[1] Other core subsidies design and manufacture network equipment and server and storage products, and produce system integration, network security and software applications.

OverviewEdit

Tsinghua Unigroup has five main subsidiaries: Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC), New H3C Technologies, UNISOC Communications Co, Guoxin Micro, and UniCloud Technology Co. Other subsidiaries include Unisplendour Corp Ltd. and France-based Linxens, a design and manufacturing company of microconnectors for smart cards, RFID antennas and inlays.[2] The company designs and manufactures 64-layer flash memory chips via its subsidiary YMTC.[citation needed]

U.S. technology company Intel owns a 20 percent stake in Tsinghua Unigroup’s UNISOC subsidiary—a consolidation of Tsinghua Unigroup acquisitions of Spreadtrum Communications, a fabless semiconductor company, and semiconductor components manufacturer RDA Microelectronics.[3][4][5] Tsinghua Unigroup operates a joint venture with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), as H3C Technologies Co, created after Tsinghua Unigroup purchased a 51 percent stake.[6][7]

HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

Tsinghua Unigroup was founded in 1988 by Tsinghua Holdings, a wholly owned business unit of Tsinghua University, a major research university in Beijing. The company was founded as Tsinghua University Sci-Tech General Company,[8] then renamed Tsinghua Unigroup in 1993.[9] Tsinghua Unigroup is a fabless semiconductor company that is 51 percent owned by Tsinghua Holdings and 49 percent owned by Beijing Jiankun Investment Group; the latter is led by Tsinghua Unigroup chairman and CEO Zhao Weiguo.[8][10] Zhao, a graduate of Tsinghua University, was also appointed CEO of Tsinghua Unigroup in 2009, then made board chairman in 2013.[11] He chaired several of Tsinghua Unigroup’s subsidiaries, including Unisplendour and Unigroup Guoxin Micro, until 2018.[12] Zhao remains CEO and chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup and Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC).[13]

21st centuryEdit

In 2013 and 2014, Tsinghua Unigroup acquired, first, Spreadtrum Communications, now Unisoc, a fabless semiconductor company that develops mobile chipset platforms, then RDA Microelectronics, a semiconductor component manufacturer.[14] In 2014, Tsinghua Unigroup consolidated Spreadtrum and RDA to create UniSpreadtrum RDA, later Unisoc,[14] in which Intel Corp. agreed to invest $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake.[15][5]

In May 2015, Tsinghua Unigroup acquired a 51 percent stake in Hewlett-Packard’s H3C Technologies, a China-based data-networking company, for approximately $2.3 billion.[6][7] In September 2015, Western Digital announced that Unisplendour would make a US$3.775 billion equity investment to purchase its newly issued common stock, for about a 15 percent stake in the U.S. firm. Western Digital stated, in February 2016, that Unisplendour would not move forward with its offer following a decision by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to investigate the deal.[16][17] In 2016, Tsinghua Unigroup partnered with Western Digital to establish a big data storage joint venture, Unis WDC Storage Co. in Nanjing[18]

In 2016, Tsinghua Unigroup founded Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC), its IDM memory subsidiary. In 2017, Tsinghua Unigroup announced plans to build two new memory-chip factories, in Nanjing and Chengdu.[19] Other investments include about a six percent stake in Portland, Oregon-based Lattice Semiconductor, acquired in 2017.[20]

In June 2018, Tsinghua Unigroup acquired French smart chip components maker Linxens for a reported $2.6 billion.[6][21]A restructuring proposal that would have Guoxin Micro acquire Unic Linxens (formerly Unigroup Liansheng) was rejected by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) in June 2020.[22] In 2018, Tsinghua Unigroup also announced the construction of a $1.9 billion Linxens plant in the Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area in Tianjin, China.[23] The company broke ground in September 2019, and construction of a main factory building was completed in July 2020.[24]

BankruptcyEdit

On November 16, 2020 Tsinghua Unigroup defaulted on $198M in bonds, resulting in a credit downgrading from AA to BBB and triggering cross-defaults.[10][25][26]

It emerged on July 11th 2021, that one of the creditors of Tsinghua Unigroup - Hong King-listed Huishang Bank - has requested that the company go into bankruptcy. Defaults at that time amounted to $3.6 billion for several onshore and offshore bonds. According to analysts, assets of barely $8 billion are surmounted by $30 billion in debt.[27][28][29]

SubsidiariesEdit

Guoxin MicroEdit

Guoxin Micro designs microelectronic products, including integrated circuits, smart card chips and memory chips.[30] Founded in 2001, Unigroup Guoxin Micro was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2005 (002049.SZ). In 2016, Tsinghua Unigroup became a controlling shareholder in Guoxin Micro.[31]

UnicloudEdit

Unicloud Technology Co., Ltd. is an industrial intelligent manufacturer that develops urban and industry cloud platforms for the construction and operation of smart cities in China.[32]

UnisocEdit

UNISOC (Shanghai) Technologies Co. Ltd is a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Shanghai. It produces mobile and other kinds of communication, computing, and control chips. In 2014, Tsinghua Unigroup consolidated Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics, creating Unisoc,[14] in which Intel Corp. agreed to invest $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake.[14][15] Unisoc released 5G technology platform Makalu 1.0 and 5G baseband chip V510 in February 2019, then, a year later, launched T7520, a 5G SoC initiating the use of 6nm EUV advanced process technology.[33]

Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC)Edit

YMTC is an IDM memory company that designs, produces, and sells 3D NAND flash memory.[34] The company is headquartered in Wuhan and has 6,000 employees.[35] Tsinghua Unigroup founded YMTC in July 2016, together with Hubei provincial government and the Chinese national "Big Fund" China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund with a total investment of $24 billion.[36]

LinxensEdit

Linxens is a smart chips components maker specializing in security and identification, such as flexible connectors used in smart cards and RFID antennas and inlays.[37] In 2018, Tsinghua Unigroup, through its subsidiary Unigroup Liansheng, acquired Linxens for about $2.6 billion.[6][24] Founded in 1979, Linxens is headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France and, as of 2018, employs over 3,200 staff at nine production sites worldwide. It also has offices in China, Singapore and Thailand, and operates six R&D centers.[38] In June 2019, Guoxin Micro announced a plan to acquire Unigroup Liansheng, including its main asset, Linxens;[39] the deal was rejected by the Chinese securities regulator the following year.[40]

Unisplendour (UNIS)Edit

Unisplendour Corporation Ltd. (UNIS) is a technology company that primarily provides information technology (IT) infrastructure product services. Founded in 1999 and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (000938.SZ), UNIS is headquartered in Beijing, China.[41] It operates as the holding company for H3C Technologies Co.[42] In 2016, it also established a joint venture with Western Digital Corp to market and sell Western Digital’s current data storage systems in China.[43]

ReferencesEdit

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