In the late autumn of this year, the investment trend of a national integrated circuit industry investment fund (hereinafter referred to as the big fund) has caused waves in the IC industry. On September 21, Shengke Network (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Shengke) announced the completion of a new round of strategic financing with a total financing of 310 million yuan. This round of investment was led by the big fund, and China Electronics Innovation Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as CEC) under the CLP Innovation Fund and investment.
Why has the Shengke network, which has always been low-key, win the favor of big funds and CEC? Why did Shengke Network, a private enterprise, become a member of the "national team"?Filling the gap of China's network switch chip technology
â€œSuddenly? I feel very natural.â€ The reporter asked about the financing incident, an industry expert who knows the operation of the big fund, said. In his view, every time a big fund is shot, it has two reasons, one is the industry in which the target company is located, and the other is its product itself.
According to this idea, we may first analyze the field of network switching chips in which Shengke is located. In recent years, the importance of network information security has been deeply rooted in the national strategic level, but from the hardware level, the most core network switching chip has been relying on imports, and has not been able to achieve localization.
Specifically, the network switching equipment is the foundation and core component of the network information system, and is widely used in cloud computing, data centers, communication carrier networks, and enterprise networks, and is deployed at each node of the above network information system to control the entire network data. Interaction and flow. The network switching chip is a key core component of the network switching device, which mainly implements the processing and forwarding of network data, and determines the function and performance of the network switching device to the greatest extent. Including the SDN technology that has been hot in recent years, it is inseparable from the support of the underlying network switching equipment.
Established in 2005, Shengke Network has been focusing on the core Ethernet switch chip and the network switching product customization solution based on this, which is very suitable for the strategic investment direction of the big fund.
Let's take a look at Shengke's products. In February 2015, the China Electronics Society organized a scientific and technological achievement appraisal meeting for the third-generation product of Shengke Network, "High-performance Gigabit Ethernet Switch Chip Supporting Software Defined Network (SDN)". The appraisal committee, including academicians, "nuclear high-base" experts, and telecommunications experts, highly valued the product results. "The chip has broad application prospects in the fields of network security, cloud computing, virtualization, etc., and the chip has reached the international advanced level. In the NVGRE, N-Flow technology to achieve international leading level, improve the development capabilities of China's network core chips, with significant social benefits." This is a high recognition of Shengke Network's long-term independent innovation and development, and outstanding achievements in the development of high-performance network switching chips and SDN.
In July this year, Shengke officially announced that its 10G core chip CTC8096, which was released in early 2015, will achieve mass production. This is the first domestically-produced independent network switching chip with the same grade. The successful layout of CTC8096 allows Shengke to have a rich product portfolio from 1GE to 10GE, 40GE and 100GE.
From this point of view, Shengke has made up for China's technical gap in this field, breaking the long-term monopoly of international giants, providing a solid guarantee for China's construction of network security, and it is reasonable to be favored by big funds.Drive the rise of autonomous security network switch industry
Shengke Network is controlled by CEC China Zhenhua and China Power Innovation Fund. Founded in 1989, CEC is a state-owned key enterprise under the central government. It is the largest state-owned comprehensive IT enterprise group in China with the main business of providing electronic information technology products and services. In 2015, CEC realized operating income of 198.19 billion yuan, total assets of 247.78 billion yuan, ranked among the top 100 electronic companies, and was selected as the Fortune Global 500 for contiguous six years, ranking 329th.
Why did you acquire Shengke in the year? Chong, the deputy general manager of CEC, said the original intention of the layout of Shengke at that time: With the development of national economy information, everyone pays more attention to the computer field and pays attention to the field of computing platforms. But in fact, in the development of informatization, no single device is used alone, and they are all connected through the network. More importantly, the network is inseparable from the switch and cannot be separated from the switch chip. In the past, the exchange chip monopoly in the hands of two American companies, Cisco and Broadcom, formed a highly oligopolistic competition. From this point of view, China is very passive in strategy.
Qi Hongrong said that CEC, as the national team of cybersecurity and information technology industry, is primarily a political attribute, and then an economic attribute. Therefore, maintaining national security, especially network security, is the social responsibility of CEC as a central enterprise. In order to form the information security of the whole industry chain and build the industrial foundation, China must make breakthroughs at key nodes, especially to break the bottleneck of network switching chips.
To this end, CEC found the Shengke network. The founder of Shengke comes from the Thousand Talents Program, which aims to introduce high-end talents. The company team is a dynamic entrepreneurial team with the same level of technology and international level, all of which are independent intellectual property rights, which coincides with the direction of CEC layout. . â€œWe have decisively carried out asset restructuring and promoted Shengke's continuous improvement in product research and development, forming a series of high, medium and low-end products. Now CEC has adopted Shengke's series of chips as the strategic layout of the entire group's information security industry. The fulcrum.â€ Yan Hongrong spoke highly of Shengke. â€œWith Shengkeâ€™s chips, there is an autonomous switch industry in China, which has Chinaâ€™s self-safe network facilities.â€
Recalling the launch of Shengke's high-density 10G switch chip last year, Zhai Hongrong is still vivid. Shengke's fourth-generation 10G switch chip CTC8096 is aimed at innovative network application development such as cloud computing, big data, and network function virtualization. It has many global leading highlights, especially in SDN visualization and traffic management. , filling the global technology gap. For the latest research results of CTC8096, the experts gave the evaluation of the international advanced level and reached the international leading position in SDN technology. This indicates that the era of China's inability to produce high-end network switch chips has passed, and it has aroused great repercussions in the industry. Around the chip, Shengke has formed a series of solutions, including universal high-density 10G switch solutions, SDN switch solutions, and autonomous secure switch board solutions, enabling CEC to form a high-end, low-end full range in the switching industry. The solution has played a key role in breaking through the foreign blockade. "Based on this, we hope to use this chip to drive the rise of China's independent security switch industry, and hope that other manufacturers engaged in switches can pay attention to our chips." Yan Hongrong said.Improve the ecology of the network exchange industry
In the view of Zhai Hongrong, after the first investment of CEC, Shengke formed a series of products, which are successful from the technical point of view and the products are perfect. Shengke's next development is mainly how to push the product to the application, how to use this chip to drive the development of China's independent switch industry. Because of this, the second round of fund reorganization, through the introduction of national investment institutions including large funds, will promote the large-scale promotion of Shengke products, and Shengke will become the leading enterprise of China's switch chip. It has a place in the world.
However, we also know that the exchange chip market has been basically monopolized by Cisco and Broadcom, and how much space can be reserved for Shengke?
From the perspective of external factors, the transfer of Broadcom's business focus has brought opportunities to Shengke. In recent years, Broadcom has changed its development thinking from being a supporter of Cisco to supporting Cisco. In this way, Broadcom's centralized resources expand its share in Cisco, and it must be tilted toward Cisco in terms of resources. On the contrary, other equipment manufacturers may face resource bottlenecks in terms of technical support, business and supply conditions. Shengke created space.
At the same time, Avago's acquisition of Broadcom shifted its strategy from â€œproduct-drivenâ€ to â€œfinancial-drivenâ€, and its gross profit demand increased significantly, while the correspondingly reduced R&D and market support investment in exchange for higher profit margins. This inevitably creates a gap in the layout of its products, which brings opportunities to competitors including Shengke.
From the perspective of internal factors, more and more domestic markets have strong demand for localization of network equipment for the sake of national security. It is conservatively estimated that the market capacity of independent switch products will reach at least 8 billion yuan per year in the next five years, and independent chips will account for at least 10% of sales, that is, the market capacity will be at least 800 million yuan.
In fact, after more than 10 years of hard work, Shengke's products have achieved gratifying results in the market. In China, products based on Shengke chips have been widely used in the mobile backhaul networks of the three major operators. In the emerging cloud computing field, Shengke solutions also play an important role as network virtualization and SDN gateways; overseas, Products based on Shengke have entered the first-tier operators in North America and have formed extensive applications and cooperation in various fields including security, streaming media and network video.
Technology is in the hands and the market is in sight. With the capital injection of the big fund, Shengkeâ€™s new leap-forward development also has capital. As the management company of the big fund, Lu Jun, president of Huaxin Investment Co., Ltd. said: "The network switch chip design is a subdivision space with high thresholds, more barriers and more difficult to do in the field of integrated circuit design. Shengke team got CEC in the early stage. Favor and support, with rich shareholder resources. This investment, Shengke, hopes to provide Shengke with a broader industrial resources, and help Shengke further expand and improve the layout of all links in the industry chain to achieve new leap-forward development. â€
"We will not forget the original intention of striving for this investment at that time." Sun Jian, general manager of Shengke, revealed to reporters the strategic layout and development direction of Shengke after the completion of this round of financing. "The funds will be mainly used to rapidly expand the product line to more Fast speed and better products to cope with the market's development expectations for Shengke, while further strengthening the ecological chain and brand building, and increasing customer friendliness with quality service."
For the subsequent product development plan, Sun Jianyong said that at present, Shengke has two core product series of Gigabit Ethernet switch chip and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch chip. The key content of chip R&D follow-up planning is around customer demand. In terms of chip product planning, it plans to develop technology in the data center and enterprise network, build a full range of high, medium and low product lines, quickly fill the product line, form a full range of products, and lay out the future development of technology and market. In terms of ecological construction, Shengke will focus on establishing and improving the upstream and downstream product chain of network exchange, forming a full industrial chain cooperation, establishing an industrial alliance, and improving the ecology of the SDN industry.
Ten years ago, Shengke was the only Ethernet switch chip startup in the world. Today, Shengke has more than 300 independent intellectual property rights and successfully developed more than ten core switch chips in four generations. In the future, can Shengke grow into "China's Broadcom" in accordance with the vision of CEC and the expectations of the big fund? Let us wait and see.
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