China adopts RISC-V technology, moving away from x86 and ARM
August 31, 2023

China adopts RISC-V technology, moving away from x86 and ARM

The “RISC-V Working Committee” has been established today by the China Association for Standardization of Electronic Industry Technology. The committee will focus on developing this technology within China, indicating a shift away from x86 and ARM chip architectures and toward the development of its own RISC-V industry.

The committee has invited 26 academics, including representatives from Huawei Hisilicon, Alibaba Pingtouge, China Mobile, Beijing Open Source Chip Research Institute, Saifang Technology, Tsinghua University, National University of Defense Technology, Ziguang Zhanrui, Longsys, Kirin Software, Feiteng, etc.

According to Chinese portal MyDrivers, the working committee is “a national, industrial, non-profit social group voluntarily formed by relevant units and organizations engaged in the RISC-V industry.”

The committee’s main objectives include supporting the development of RISC-V industry standards, ensuring compliance with these standards, protecting intellectual property, talent training, research, and more. Essentially, the committee aims to promote China’s domestic industry.

The strategic committee is chaired by academician Ni Guangnan, who believes that the future of RISC-V architecture lies in China. He asserts that the semiconductor industry in China needs this open-source standard, which has gained popularity as the preferred chip architecture.

RISC-V, which stands for “RISC Five,” is a fifth-generation processor architecture based on a reduced instruction set (ISA). Unlike most other ISA standards, RISC-V does not require expensive licenses, making it a royalty-free open-source technology.

This Chinese effort is not surprising, considering its alignment with the open-source concept that incurs no fees. Moreover, China faces Western sanctions, particularly from the United States, that restrict its access to foreign products in this field.

The working committee is expected to receive strong support from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other government institutions, similar to the 30-year-old association in which the RISC-V committee was created.