In the absence of cores, how to prevent the flood of counterfeit chips

According to foreign media reports, a large number of counterfeit chips have appeared in the Japanese market, so that the chip identification business has soared. The chip trading company CoreStaff said that the number of chip identifications received this year increased by 3 compared to a year ago. To 4 times, another company Restar Holdings said that this year's test orders have increased from two or three to dozens.

A large number of counterfeit chips appear in the Japanese market。

The increase in the business of authenticating chips in Japan reflects the influx of more counterfeit chip products into the Japanese market. In the past, many chip traders in Japan would provide customers with free testing services in order to meet the high-quality needs of customers. However, with the current increase in counterfeit chips, many companies have started charging services for chip testing services.

Testing is done to see if the chip is counterfeit or to find out why it is of poor quality. Inspectors at CoreStaff, a chip trading company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, said demand for appraiser chips had tripled or even quadrupled from a year ago.

For fake chips with logos and engraved patterns, inspectors can determine authenticity through X-rays or out-of-the-box inspections, CoreStaff said.

CoreStaff launched a monthly subscription service in April this year, starting at 100,000 yen and covering 5 tests per month.

Another company, Ryosan, which started a new line of business in April 2020 to provide inspection services for microprocessors, logic and power semiconductors , has a technology center with X-ray equipment, microscopes and equipment to analyze the electrical properties of chips.

According to reports, the price of a single chip for this in-depth analysis can be as high as 1 million yen (about 56,000 yuan), and chip traders such as Ryosan can use idle equipment to perform simple tests and only charge tens of thousands of yen.

However, both CoreStaff and Ryosan said that compared to the chip sales business, this kind of inspection business brings little revenue to the company, but the detailed report of chip testing helps the company to build trust with new customers, which leads to new purchases of chips. client.

Why are there more counterfeit chips in Japan this year? Since the third quarter of last year, the global supply of chips has been tight, and the lack of chips may allow more counterfeit chips to enter the Japanese market.

Japanese companies are deeply affected by this global shortage of cores. Many companies have adopted various methods to reduce the use of chips. For example, Nissan started to redesign cars and switched to more general-purpose chips in order to reduce dependence on customized chips . Fujitsu Design air conditioning circuits , chip equipment manufacturers reduce the types of chips required for equipment, etc.

However, it is not enough. In order to meet the demand for chips, it is estimated that many companies are also trying to find more ways to buy chips, which may include some illegal channels, thus creating opportunities for a large number of counterfeit chips to enter the Japanese market.

Counterfeit chips are more prevalent with missing cores

The situation of counterfeit chips has always existed. However, under the shortage of chips, there are more opportunities for counterfeit chips to circulate in the market. Because of the lack of chips, many companies are unable to purchase chips through formal channels, and instead seek more ways to buy chips. , and even more, will be willing to purchase some chips that are not so qualified.

In this context, some counterfeit chips hoarded in the past may take the opportunity to flow into the market, and some people may specially manufacture some counterfeit chips and make huge profits from them. CoreStaff President Masaki Tozawa said that the harder it is to buy semiconductors, the higher the demand, and the greater the possibility of making and selling counterfeit products.

In fact, there are rumors about buying counterfeit chips on the Internet. In June this year, a netizen broke the news that more than 7,000 devices exported to the United States were recalled because they bought fake MOS. It is understood that the fake MOS bought by the netizen was not He needs to purchase the model himself, but uses a model with similar parameters and higher compatibility to mark the genuine silk screen deck and sell it as a genuine product. The reason why I bought fake products is because the products provided by the suppliers who have cooperated with them for a long time were obtained from other channels.

In addition, according to, the factory in southern China of Japanese electronics manufacturer Jenesis purchased a batch of chips through the website and applied them to the products, but these products could not be opened when the microcomputer was running. The reason is that the products of this batch of chips The specs were nothing like what Jenesis ordered, and it wasn't discovered in time because the supplier had faked the packaging.

Earlier, some netizens broke the news that their company used a multi-chip operational amplifier AD 8512 ARM Z in the front-end analog signal processing circuit in the design of a small-signal acquisition board. Hundreds of pieces, when all the boards are done, no matter how they are debugged, they will not work properly, and there will always be interference problems. Because it was originally a small-signal circuit, the design has been looking for the reason at the beginning, but the problem has never been solved.

Later, I found a company that can do chip disassembly. After decapping this batch of chips and the samples from the previous official channels at the same time, I found that the wafer sizes of the two chips are different, and the layouts are obviously different; the chips from the official channel have The logo of ADI has the logo of AD8512A; the chip wafer in question has the style of LM833A and the letters of NSC, which may be the LM833A series of NS op amps. The price of LM833 is only about one tenth of AD8512.

How to avoid buying fake chips

The way to avoid buying counterfeit chips is naturally to try to buy them from regular channels. However, in a market environment where chips are in short supply, it is inevitable to find more ways to buy chips to meet the design and production needs, which will inevitably lead to counterfeit products. .

There are many kinds of counterfeit chips. For example, it is actually a chip from the same manufacturer. It may be a product that has been disassembled and has a lower function and yield due to storage time or processing. It may be reprocessed; it may be that the original factory has not passed the factory Detected products, such as scrapped products after reliability testing, poor packaging quality, defective products tested, etc., shall be reprocessed, etc.

It is also possible to use the materials produced by informal manufacturers to use the trademarks and packaging of regular manufacturers, or to refurbish old goods to reprocess the recycled electronic waste, such as grinding surfaces, pulling feet, plating feet, pins, grinding characters , typing, etc., become new materials.

How to find out it is a counterfeit chip? First of all, it can be identified by visual inspection, for example, to confirm the silk screen information, coding rules, appearance size, etc. of the specification. Counterfeit chips may have such a grabbing ore, the position of the letter of the part number is not aligned, and there is a large stain on the surface of the material. There are obvious grinding marks on the surface of the piece. But most cases are not so easy to see.

The second is the silk screen erasing test (MPT TE ST). The silk screen of the counterfeit product is reprocessed. If the silk screen can be erased using the MPT test, it indicates that the material is a counterfeit product. Then there is the chemical De-cap test, which uses chemical acid to decap the IC. The principle is to remove the exoxy resin on the chip surface and confirm the chip structure and version information.

In addition, X-Ray inspection can be carried out to check the size and position of Die, the number and position of wire bonding, etc.; or electrical and functional testing, to test the electrical parameters and functions of materials according to product specifications.


The emergence of a large number of counterfeit chips in Japan may be related to the shortage of global chip supply. However, the situation of counterfeit chips has always existed, and it is also a matter of concern to the industry. Testing chips may be an effective way to avoid buying counterfeit chips. However, for some small and medium-sized enterprises For companies, the cost of testing is still too high, and this does not reduce the number of counterfeit chips circulating in the market.

Therefore, in order for exclusive counterfeit chips to be rampant, it is necessary to combat the manufacture and sales of counterfeit chips from the source. In addition, it is necessary to increase the production capacity of chips to solve the problem of global shortage of cores, thereby inhibiting the circulation of counterfeit chip products in the market.