Taiwan’s RichWave Electronics Company (RichWave), which is committed to the development and design of RF front-end chip devices and has been selected as the “Best RFIC Supplier” by Japan’s Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. for two consecutive years. Its founder, Dr. Wang Shiqi, won the award this year. Ranked 11th on the “Top 30 Female CEOs of Taiwan’s Best Listed Companies in 2023” list of the Traditional Chinese version of the world-renowned magazine “Harvard Business Review”, as well as the honor of an outstanding alumnus of Yang-Ming Jiaotong University. Faguang is honored to invite Dr. Wang Shiqi as a guest in this program to observe the development, opportunities and current challenges of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry from the perspective of the entrepreneurial journey of stand-up electronics.
FAGU: General Manager Wang Shiqi, please talk about the recent20After years of entrepreneurship, why do we choose RF chips as our main products??
The reason for selection is because radio frequency itself involves RF (Radio frequency)Like the signal, its forming device is also a semiconductor device. I think that the desire for technology: constructing radio frequency devices on semiconductor components was a big turning point at the time. Most of the radio frequency devices at that time were discrete devices. Plug-in boards, because everyone thinks they are complicated, are built on semiconductors to form higher integration and more complex signals, and then better performance will be improved. At the time, it was regarded as a very high-end product, and I I am very interested in things with high thresholds, and I have an extreme enthusiasm for overcoming things that everyone thinks are difficult. We chose this topic because, first, the whole world is moving toward wireless transmission (Wirless). We believe that wireless transmission itself is actually the last mile that will spread data to every corner. This is of course very touching and exciting! Second, RF construction on semiconductors is another challenge, because semiconductors have many distortion issues and limitations, but they are a widely used tool. So in fact, semiconductors should be used for radio frequency and more complex video systems, so we chose semiconductor devices for the radio frequency front-end, which can combine semi-physical and new communication trends, so we chose this topic.
Faguang:You just mentioned that the technical threshold for radio frequency chips is very high. Does Liji have competitors in Asia, such as China or South Korea?
Liji has competitors in Asia. Let me tell you, when we were first established, I think there were companies in Taiwan that were similar to ours. At that time, everyone might have thought it was quite interesting. I think there were about 10 to 20 companies. When I asked here and there, my friends all opened a company. . However, over the years, I feel that no matter whether its operation is very stable, or whether it feels that there is a lot of investment in this thing, there are many, many difficulties in recycling, and step by step, everyone is either not doing it, Either don’t succeed or quit. We also encountered many difficulties along the way, whether technical or sales, and we just overcame them. So (immediately) most of our competitors in Taiwan have withdrawn. I think it can be said that basically all of them have withdrawn. There are many in China. In recent years, I think China has had some overseas returnees, and there are such seeds. Later, some large American companies set up design centers in China, leaving some seeds. As for us Chinese, we are very interested in mathematics and physics. I feel that I am already very good at it, so of course China has it.
South Korea has been doing research and development of radio frequency devices for many years, but for some reasons, they have not seen the company come out. If we analyze it further, we will think that this thing is related to the nutrients of that region and its national character, and do you happen to have some industries like ours that can use a relatively broad combination of physics and mathematics? If people in (South Korea) don’t have such a flexible thinking to do things from a different perspective, it will be more difficult for such an industry to emerge. Therefore, I would say that South Korea should not be included.
Looking at China, yes, there are many new companies, but there are many, many potential problems, such as where its IP (intellectual property) comes from, and whether it has done basic research and development. Therefore, in the future, even if It can be seen in the near future that long-term development is a problem.
Japan is, I think, the best country. Its radio frequency devices were actually the world leader 10 or 20 years ago. However, maybe due to national characteristics or national policies, there are many good and big radio frequency companies, but Over the past decade or so, the products may have been very good, but the business has not done well. I think it has something to do with its business strategy, national character, and the entire system. It has gradually disappeared, so their The basic technology is still there, but there are few RF companies that are really active in the market or they have disappeared.
Faguang: Does Liji have any Japanese customers? Is there any technical cooperation?
Yes, we have customers from Japan and South Korea. There is some cooperation, but technically speaking it is not because they work in one area and we work in another area. In Japan and South Korea, most of them are actually our customers, who are our downstream. We sell our radio frequency devices to them, and they form some modules or integrated things, and then put them in Some of their larger products are like some boxes: set-top boxes, routers or general quadrant modules. So now Japan and South Korea have more customers from us.
Faguang:In addition to radio frequency chips, Mr. Wang, who emphasizes the spirit of “brave innovation”, will promote what forward-looking products next?
Our company has two parts. One is the main revenue part, which is radio frequency components, including power amplifiers, the so-called radio frequency front-end. It is actually a device included in mobile phones and routers, gateways or the Internet of Things. The signal is transmitted from From the antenna end all the way to the front (input end) of the SOC (System on Chip), we think there are several very innovative opportunities in that area. The first thing is the high distortion itself. How do you make it achieve very small distortion in the radio frequency device, so it has very high linearity and low distortion? To achieve this to the extreme is what we have been doing in the innovation part. Something that is being worked on very actively.
The other piece, in fact, currently accounts for a relatively low proportion of revenue, but we are very optimistic about it and have invested in it for many years. It is our radar. The main investment chip was FM in the early years, and now it is radar sensor. Well, over there it combines signal analysis and antenna engineering, and it also combines a lot of things. This analogy itself can overcome the problem of noise. Here is a problem that we are optimistic about. It can change human life forms and create a lot of things in life. A product line that can be sensed at any time. So in these two areas, we feel that there are barriers that can be broken through in several specific areas. Once these barriers are broken through, this product will become very good, so this is what we most hope to create such an atmosphere and its results in the innovation part.
FAG: Can you give an example of this product line that you are optimistic about that can change our lives?
For example, in the area of radar sensing, there are actually many things we call sensing now, such as cameras, or when you hear some sounds, these are all so-called sensing. As for radar sensing itself, let me put it this way, when you have no eyes or ears, whether you can live and move is a concept, that is to say, it itself is a concept that tells you that as the surroundings around you Environment, then what, then what distance, what action, this is called sensing. So when changing our living environment, it should be like this. We humans can have a clear understanding of everything that happens among us and around us. This is the part where people are the main axis; and if the part where the environment is the main axis, It is something that is very cumbersome now, such as you have to turn on the lights in your home, or you have to constantly adjust the air volume of your air conditioner, or you have to look at the time to decide what you want to do. Once we adopt radar perception, it will help you do some boring or mechanical things in your daily life. For example, in your home life, it will automatically help you adjust your air conditioner, your air volume, or the processing of some electrical appliances in your home, so you don’t have to do these trivial things anymore, these things have perception to help you Once done, it detects, analyzes, and senses using our radar, and then your energy and quality of life can be focused on the things you like to do. Therefore, it can sense many, many human feelings or actions, so you can organize your time on meaningful things.
The other one is safety! We all have no sense of security now, so if this radar exists and is smart, I think our lives can become much safer. For example, if you are in a car or in a parking lot with few people around, you don’t have to worry about being robbed, right? Because radar perception will know very early that someone may have bad intentions, and then he can help you to deal with it safely. It seems that there are many school shootings in the United States now. With radar sensing, someone may have done something bad. If they know it early, the lives of these children can be saved. So I think radar perception is something that will make a lot of contributions to human beings, from the quality of life, the comfort of life to the safety of our daily lives, this is the part that concerns us.
Faguang: Under U.S. sanctions, China’s development of high-end chips has been hindered, especially for Taiwan’s semiconductors.ICIf we are able to lead in design and manufacturing, how will Taiwan cope with maintaining its advantages once the relationship between the United States and China improves?In other words, whether the United States and China engage in a technology war will not have much impact on Taiwan’s semiconductor companies.⋯⋯
From my more old-school point of view, I honestly don’t think it has that big of an impact, because you still have to look at your own strength. Of course there is a technology war now, and some equipment cannot be purchased in China. Well, the first one is that if I represent our company, this actually has little to do with our company. Why? Because the semiconductor devices we make do not use processes that require advanced equipment at all. The process we use, the so-called process we use, is actually made by ordinary machines, so it is completely within the process itself. For a structural design in chemistry and physics, we do not need advanced equipment, so it actually has nothing to do with us. Whether China can buy advanced equipment has nothing to do with Liji, so what we compare with China or any strong rival is Do you know how to design? Can you fully grasp the performance of this component, and then design the best aspects of it according to the radio frequency requirements, and then overcome all problems, including thermal problems, interference problems, and electrical problems? Problems, distortion problems, many, many. So we actually have nothing to do with this comparison.
As for the impact of China and the United States on Taiwan, I think Taiwan still relies on its own strength, and you cannot rely on China and the United States. For example, why is the “Sacred Mountain that Protects the Country” we know today so stable? That’s because its technological achievements are unparalleled. If many design companies don’t do it there, they won’t have the place to produce the wafers they need and the production capacity they need. So I think it’s still Taiwan. itself. For China and the United States, I think the psychological aspect is that it is an interference, so this interference may not be regarded as a long-term thing. If you really look at all the successful companies and countries in the past, they all have some excellent (characteristics) entities. This entity may rely on technology, or it may rely on some of its (creativity) Creativity. Really Successful things all rely on having some very good qualities. Only when these qualities are better than others can it survive for a long time.
Of course, the so-called sacred mountain that protects the country is that one. Over the years, it has not done anything but one thing, which is its main business of semiconductor manufacturing. It is a big tree that never branches. A tree, but all its energy is concentrated on it, and it can make things the best. I think this is the path Taiwan itself should stick to. Make your things the best, and don’t have this kind of B+ or A- We Taiwanese are very flexible and can sell things cheaply. Don’t have such a mentality. You have to be willing to do it well. Therefore, I often tell people in our company that since you are going through this journey in life, you should make the best of your products. Don’t just think about selling them today. We have to see what happens in three or five years. It’s not always the best. We think there are one or two companies in Taiwan that can do it, and they are very stable now. Although the industry seems to be a mature industry, it is because it has this mentality. It knows that doing the best is the best way to protect yourself. What’s more, besides China, other countries can also do it, right? We have to ask why South Korea’s semiconductors still can’t beat Taiwan today. We have to ask ourselves this. From this we can see that it doesn’t matter who it is, but it depends on whether your own strength is useful in the right place. That’s probably it. Son. Therefore, I think Taiwan is in semiconductor technology and process manufacturing. Of course, our industrial chain in Taiwan is sufficient, as well as crystal pillars, wafers and global crystals, as well as IC design. Well, what we do is small IC RF front-end, and there are also big ICs. I think everyone must have this mentality. Don’t worry about how the other side will come out. What matters is whether you have made it the best for your industry. Okay, actually this is fine.
At the end of the interview, it also touched on how to recruit talents? Wang Shiqi said that this is a question that requires careful consideration. Rather than fighting for talents, it is better to think about how to cultivate talents. Therefore, Liji’s approach is to cultivate talents with the company’s ideas and spirit to promote the team’s growth. In addition, it also It should be more open to the integration of international talents and attract the best minds.
As for whether the risk of war under the Taiwan Strait crisis will affect the company’s future strategic layout? For example, how about expanding overseas? She replied that Liji is a Design House and does not have a factory, so it is relatively less troublesome. Therefore, the key point is whether you can have a brand with the spirit and energy to be the best. Other things will depend on the situation.
Regardless of gender, becoming an outstanding “female” engineer and company leader is no accident!
Wang Shiqi mentioned that from the time she studied electronics at university until she entered the workplace, she had always been in an environment where women were in the minority. However, she did not feel any differential treatment or obstacles because of this, and she was very used to this situation. She also said that when studying and working in the United States, Chinese were also a minority group. In such a diverse environment, gender would not be the focus of attention, and she could adapt well.
Along the way in his entrepreneurial life, Wang Shiqi always looks at and solves problems with a clear mind when faced with various challenges. This kind of focus and persistence is impressive!