China’s growing demand for semiconductors used in electric vehicles, high-end servers in data centres and artificial intelligence applications provides a vast opportunity for RISC-V processors to flourish, according to a proponent of the open-source, royalty-free chip design, even as integrated circuits (ICs) built on proprietary Arm and x86 architectures continue to dominate the global market.
That assessment was made by Peng Jianying, chief executive of Shanghai-based RISC-V intellectual property (IP) vendor Nuclei System Technology Co, before an audience of custom auto chip designers at a RISC-V semiconductor event in Beijing on Wednesday.
RISC-V is an open-standard instruction set architecture (ISA), based on established reduced instruction set computer principles, that represents the fifth generation of cooperative projects done by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Their research on this ISA design was published in 2010.
This architecture has since gained rapid popularity across the global semiconductor industry after its ISA specifications were made available to developers in 2015 under the non-profit RISC-V International, which promotes its development. Adoption in China has experienced fast growth since 2018, the same year when Nuclei – the country’s first RISC-V IP vendor – was founded, Peng said.