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Marching Power: How China’s Domestic Semiconductor Company is Challenging International Giants

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Marching Power, a company with genetics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has captured the interest of institutional investors once again. In recent developments, the company has announced the completion of a Series D financing round worth several hundred million yuan. This represents the seventh successful financing round for Marching Power since its establishment, with support from over 40 investment institutions.

Having been in operation for five years and successfully completing seven rounds of financing, Marching Power, a power semiconductor device manufacturer with strong ties to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is driving forward in the direction of domesticating power chips. It is currently focused on the areas of industrial control, variable-frequency household appliances, and new energy vehicles, striving to advance the nation’s capabilities in power chip development.

Starting from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Engaging in the Semiconductor Industry

Marching Power’s founder, Zhu Yangjun, earned his Ph.D. in “Microelectronics and Solid-State Electronics” from Shandong University in 2007, before joining the Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to continue his postdoctoral research and assistant research work.

From 2011, with the backing of the Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhu Yangjun endeavored to commercialize scientific research products while serving as an executive and deputy director of the Institute’s “IGBT” and “Testing and Reliability” project groups, as well as an academic leader. During this period, he directed the Power Electronics Device Research and Development Laboratory of the China IoT Research and Development Center, leading his team to develop China’s first 6500V IGBT chip and working on critical research projects such as national major science and technology projects and key projects of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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However, the transition from scientist to entrepreneur is challenging, requiring more than just changes in job responsibilities. Zhu Yangjun said, “To be honest, the transformation is very painful and difficult. Pure technical research has strong logic, but the research and development of market-oriented products is very erratic, coupled with the huge gap in identity from party A to party B. On this path, some colleagues have returned to research institutes. We chose to cut off the back road and focus on industrialization.”

In 2014, Zhu Yangjun left the Institute of Microelectronics to enter the power semiconductor device market. During this time, he led his team to make significant breakthroughs in IGBT devices with ultra-high voltage levels of 3300V and above, creating mature 650V, 1200V, and 1700V series products.

By March 2017, Zhu Yangjun officially entered the entrepreneurship scene and founded Guizhou Marching Power Technology Co., Ltd. Marching Power focuses on the development of new power semiconductor devices, with IGBT, Cool MOS, and Trench MOS as its primary products. Marching Power established subsidiaries in Nanjing, Beijing, Shandong, and other places, with its Guizhou company as the parent company. In October 2021, Marching Power made Nanjing its primary battlefield and became the company’s headquarters, officially renamed Jiangsu Marching Power Microelectronics Group Co., Ltd.

Billion-level Industrial Opportunities: Seizing the Sub-segment Track

According to research data from Marching Power, the global power semiconductor market size is over 260 billion yuan, with China’s market share accounting for approximately 40%. Thanks to the rising demand in downstream markets, China’s power semiconductor market is still expanding rapidly. Among them, automobiles are the most significant demand for power semiconductors, and new energy is the main driver of market growth. It is expected that by 2025, the domestic automobile power semiconductor market size will reach 27 billion yuan.

As a start-up company, Marching Power’s primary focus for the next 3-5 years is to establish a presence in three key areas. Firstly, the traditional main battlefield of power chips in industrial control; secondly, frequency conversion home appliances, mainly used for energy-saving frequency conversion technology; and thirdly, the new energy sector, including photovoltaics, wind energy, new energy generation, new energy vehicles, and energy storage.

Marching Power is currently one of the companies with the broadest coverage of mid-to-high-end power device products in China, with deep technical expertise. Its product and technical capabilities cover three main lines of IGBT series, MOSFET series, and module series, fully meeting the high-value-added industry application requirements of 650V-1700V.

In the industrial control field, Marching Power gradually replaced the fourth-generation product with the sixth-generation product in 2020. Its performance has lower losses, better switching characteristics, and a more cost-effective advantage, while also having the high reliability and robustness of the fourth-generation product.

In the field of new energy vehicles, Marching Power mainly promotes its seventh-generation product, which is currently being mass-produced in passenger cars with mainstream domestic manufacturers, and the product for commercial vehicles has already achieved full-scale production. Marching Power’s photovoltaic products have also entered multiple mainstream photovoltaic inverter manufacturers in China.

Marching Power has gradually entered critical scenarios such as new energy vehicles and solar photovoltaics. Its various MOS, IGBT, and SiC series products have been recognized by customers and have been shipped in bulk. In the second half of 2019, the company completed the construction of its mid-to-high-end module’s self-owned production line and has the ability to independently design and manufacture modules.

In addition, Marching Power has established in-depth business cooperation with multiple upstream and downstream partners in the industrial chain, which helps the company to accurately understand customer needs, iterate products quickly, lock in sufficient production capacity, and better serve customers. At the same time, the company hopes to bring the supplier’s output products into the high-end application field through its own technology and market capabilities, bringing stable high-end product demand to the supplier.

Seven Rounds Of Funding In Five Years, Highly Valued By Investors

Funding is the lifeline of semiconductor development, and since its inception, Marching Power has attracted attention from various investment institutions.

In just six months since its establishment, Marching Power completed a Pre-A financing round of 15 million yuan. Subsequently, it completed two rounds of financing in 2018 and maintained an annual financing pace of one round per year from 2019 to 2021, with a total financing amount of over 500 million yuan. At the beginning of this year, it completed a D-round financing of several hundred million yuan, with over 40 investment institutions behind it.

Additionally, Marching Power’s core technology team mainly comes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since 2008, it has been deeply involved in the development of the power chip series under the national major science and technology project (02 project), including multiple IGBT-related chip and process development tasks, as well as the SiC chip development task that began in 2014.

In the past decade, the research and development tasks under the 02 project have accumulated rich core technology and development experience across the entire chain, from design to process, packaging, and application, and the overall technical level is relatively advanced. As the process design of power chips varies among different companies, chip design companies need to combine process and design. Therefore, Marching Power can efficiently develop high-performance products.

In December 2022, Marching Power was named a “Chinese Potential Unicorn Enterprise” in the integrated circuit industry. Currently, the domestic power semiconductor device market is mainly monopolized by foreign giants, but domestic companies like Marching Power are gradually catching up with the level of international mainstream advanced enterprises.

With an unwavering march forward and a never-give-up spirit, China’s semiconductor industry is flourishing. Zhu Yangjun once said, “Our generation has a great mission, which is to break the monopoly of foreign countries and promote the localization of power semiconductor devices and chips comprehensively. I believe that with technological leadership and more cost-effective products, it is not a distant thing to push it to the world.”

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