With all the uncertainties surrounding Arm in recent years, RISC-V's rise to prominence has continued unabated.
This was well and truly underlined by its high profile at the Embedded World 2022 conference I attended in a sweltering Nuremburg last week.
Reflecting the general acceptance of RISC-V as a serious Arm alternative, one semicon industry veteran I spoke to quickly corrected my comment that "It’s becoming mainstream" with "It already is!"
He pointed to how the US electronics giants are well down the path of developing and launching products built around RISC-V cores.
And Semico Research are predicting that the market will consume a staggering 62 billion RISC-V CPU cores by 2025.
So, it wasn’t surprising to see a high concentration of RISC-V-related startups and scaleups at Embedded World, as well as a whole programme of RISC-V break-out sessions, keynote speeches, and a pavilion organised by the RISC-V Forum prominently located in Hall 1 of the exhibition.
This reflects what we’re seeing in Asia, too.
Notably, the RISC-V International organisation now counts a growing list of Chinese, Korean and Japanese firms as members.
While Japan is still a little behind its neighbours, an old contact of mine at a major Japanese electronics firm recently said to me "We’d be unwise to ignore the importance of RISC-V" in reference to his own firm.
And Renesas’ announcement of the development of a 64-bit MPU based on RISC-V this spring was a watershed for the standard in Japan, underlining how the country - often the most conservative of the big three Asian economies - is now embracing RISC-V.
Our teams on the ground in Asia are certainly encountering sharply increasing demand for RISC-V technologies - and we’re handling some interesting initiatives in the region for several startups.
For European RISC-V tools pioneer Codasip, for example, we recently started a business development initiative in Japan which is getting us in front of all the business groups within the major Japanese electronics players that are assessing the benefits of RISC-V.
Likewise in China, we’re working with Indian RISC-V design verification firm Valtrix – and we’ve secured several deals for their tool with major Chinese semiconductor firms.
At Embedded World last week, I talked to companies right across the ecosystem – from core IP developers to design, verification and debug tool companies. I heard time after time that demand for speedier turnaround times in the semiconductor world is rapidly increasing, especially across the automotive, industrial, telecoms and medical spaces.
Coupled with the growing acceptance in Asia of RISC-V as a viable, stable and lower-cost alternative to Arm, any RISC-V startup should be seriously considering expanding in the region.
I can only see the appetite in Asia for RISC-V technologies going one way.
To discuss the opportunities for your RISC-V business in Asia, you can contact Huw at firstname.lastname@example.org