19. Oktober 2020, 08:06 Uhr | Iris Stroh
Dr. Sailesh Chittipeddi, Renesas Electronics: »Despite COVID-19 our growth drivers are largely intact. In some markets, demand has even increased, which will have a positive effect on IIBU sales.«
Renesas Electronics manages the turnaround in a difficult market environment of all things. The IIBU (IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit) makes a decisive contribution.
Markt & Technik spoke with Dr. Sailesh Chittipeddi, currently Executive Vice President and General Manager for IIBU at Renesas Electronics, and formerly EVP, Global Operations and CTO of Integrated Device Technology who set the important course for today's success.
Markt&Technik: 50 percent of Renesas' sales come from IIBU, and the business unit is even better in terms of profits. COVID-19 has hit Renesas' ABU (Automotive Solution Business Unit) hard, like the entire automotive industry. What is the situation with the IIBU?
Dr. Sailesh Chittipeddi: The megatrends described at the beginning of the year, which drive growth in the IIBU, are still valid, and COVID-19 has not changed that.
What are these megatrends about?
Put simply, all of these trends are about data. The first trend is the increasing disaggregation of data centers, with the hardware and software being broken up into memory clusters and processing clusters, which makes the role of the interconnect critical. Then there is the 5G ramp-up and the last trend is that more and more intelligence is migrating to the endpoints. These three trends are still valid today.
In data centers, we at Renesas are not talking about memory or the processors, but about interconnect components for the data flow between memory and CPU, i.e. memory interface products. These components account for a large share of our sales in the infrastructure sector, plus components for Digital Power, Timing and Optical Components. IDT has always been strong when it comes to timing and optical components, although optical component sales for us will only become really interesting when migrating to 200/400 Gigabit Ethernet.
The 5G ramp-up currently only refers to sub-6 GHz, but for this we have RF, timing and optical components. In addition, this year we will be launching ICs geared towards 5G power applications.
And when it comes to AI in the edge and endpoint, our MCUs and MPUs are core to this segment of the business. We have realigned our MCU/MPU roadmap. At the end of last year, for example, we launched ARM-based microcontrollers from the RA family. In addition, there are MPUs with which we can cover everything from motor control to graphics and surveillance camera applications. The RZ family, especially the RZ/V2M, is primarily used in video applications, where these products are characterized by the lowest power consumption. This means the developer gets a product with GPU-level processing power, but at a fraction of the cost and with a fraction of the power consumption.
What is the current share of sales in the different application areas of the IIBU?
The industry segment is still the largest revenue segment for the IIBU with a 40 percent share, IoT already contributes 35 percent and the infrastructure segment accounts for 25 percent.
But the infrastructure sector is already characterized by significantly higher growth rates, so the share will change in favor of this segment. We expect to grow faster than the market average in this area in the future, driven by new products that allow us to increase content in this area. In the industrial and IoT market, our growth should be in line with the market average.
Is much of the infrastructure business based on ex-IDT business?
Ex-IDT and Ex-Intersil, with a part also based on Renesas products such as low-latency and high-bandwidth memory products and ASICs.
ASICs are currently experiencing a renaissance, Renesas used to be a big player in this field, but then like almost everyone else, it withdrew from the business. How do you assess the ASIC business today?
In the past, we did every ASIC business, no matter what margins were involved. This previously had led to an unhealthy culture. I am convinced that there are definitely good opportunities for ASICs, but you have to do the right projects.
True, the ASIC business is currently experiencing a revival and the times when ASIC prices were at rock bottom are definitely over. In selected areas we have unique competencies - and here we will also realize ASICs, but only those that make economic sense. By the way, we already make 7 nm ASICs for security customers today. I am sure that similar complex designs will follow.
I would like to point out that in the industrial sector, for example, the trend is more towards standard components. In the past, we developed many ASICs for this market, but today we are increasingly moving to an MPU-driven model.
MCUs/MPUs are part of Renesas' core business. How do you rate the 8-bit MCU market for Renesas?
We believe that we can address a part of the high-end 8-bit market with our low-cost 16-bit controllers. Accordingly, we are no longer investing much money in the 8-bit segment, although we will of course continue to serve the existing market.