US EDA software ban may impact China’s IC design: TrendForce

Global EDA software market size is estimated to grow from $8.1 billion to $13.6 billion from 2020 to 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 13.8 percent, TrendForce said.
Global EDA software market growth
At present, the EDA software market is oligopolistic, consisting of major players Synopsys, Cadence, and Siemens. Synopsys, Cadence, and Siemens account for 32 percent, 30 percent, and 13 percent of the market, respectively, in 2021, for a total 75 percent market share.

Before mentioning the recent EDA sanction, recall that the United States placed Huawei on its Entity List in 2019. At that time, American EDA companies including Synopsys and Cadence were affected by the Entity List ban and could not authorize the transfer EDA to Huawei’s HiSilicon. EDA departments and industry revenue as a whole have not experienced a direct impact and the ban has indeed dealt an effective blow to Huawei.

Empyrean Technology is the leader of China’s EDA industry but its technology, revenue scale, and overall influence still fall far behind the American EDA industry. Empyrean Technology’s analog circuit design EDA and flat panel display circuit design EDA are relatively mature while digital circuit design EDA and foundry EDA still lag significantly behind US-based EDA and have not yet touched upon GAA research and development.
EDA software market shareEven if China purchased a large amount of authorized EDA software before the current sanction takes effect, the software must connect to the developer for license updates before it can be used. This can be effectively controlled by the United States.

Though China’s IC design has no need for GAA EDA in the short term, it is necessary for developing advanced 3nm process design in 3~5 years. Without US-based EDA tools, Chinese IC design will experience developmental difficulties from initial chip design to back-end system design.

Chinese foundries also require the use of EDA and the constraints imposed by US-based equipment and software sanctions may affect the long-term development of China’s semiconductor industry, according to TrendForce.