Integrated circuit (IC) colleges will become an important force in training IC professionals in China as demand for expertise among semiconductor manufacturing and design companies hits a record high.
"A maturing IC industry will lead design companies to focus on the training professionals," said Sun Wei, chief academic officer of VIA Technologies Corp - the third largest IC design company in the world.
According to the Shanghai Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design Seminar last December, China will need up to 250,000 IC design engineers.
But there are only 4,000 professionals working in the industry and available for hire.
Wang Xiaohong, head of the training department with the Institute of Microelectronics at Tsinghua University (IMETU), estimated there are just 1,500 students of microelectronics graduating from 12 Chinese universities each year.
She said the 60 semiconductor manufacturing lines currently planned for Beijing will need 50,000 IC professionals. And this does not even include demand of design companies.
China is beginning to address this issue. The Ministry of Education is planning five IC colleges in the country to build them into IC professional training centers.
The first IC college founded by the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Florida International University of the United States and VIA Technologies started to recruit students last month. The school term will begin in February.
The Sino-US programme aims to train 130 students from China and other parts of Asia in the first year. They will study for one and a half years in Beijing and will gain both Chinese and US master's degrees after graduation.
(China Daily February 10, 2003)