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Nextchip is developing a battery monitoring integrated chip (BMIC) for vehicles. It is the first time Nextchip, which focused on semiconductors used in autonomous vehicles, develops BMIC. Nextchip will complete development in 2024 with the goal of supplying global finished vehicles.

Nextchip has started developing a BMIC that manages electric vehicle batteries by partnering with global automakers. The target for completing BMIC development is 2024. Nextchip mainly made semiconductors that monitor driver status in autonomous vehicles.

BMICs identify and controls the voltage and temperature information of individual cells in the battery pack. Because it manages hundreds of battery cells, the technical difficulty is high. At least 10 BMICs are installed in one electric vehicle.

The BMIC market has primarily been led by foreign semiconductor companies. Texas Instruments, ST Micro, and Infineon accounted for more than 90% of the global market. As the electric vehicle market grows, demand for Texas Instruments, ST Micro, and Infineon's BMICs is also increasing. Texas Instruments increased the supply of BMICs to global automakers and recorded $14.1 billion in sales last year, becoming the world's leading analog semiconductor company.

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Demand for BMICs is expected to experience explosive growth due to electric vehicles. It is expected to grow to $160 billion by 2025. Nextchip is developing BMICs using its experience in developing autonomous driving semiconductor. The company plans to commercialize BMICs by increasing investment every year, including KRW 600 million this year, KRW 1.5 billion next year, and KRW 2.9 billion in 2024.

Nextchip is also strengthening the development of their self-driving semiconductor Apache chip. In the second half of the year, product development of the Apache 6 will be completed and testing will begin. Apache 6 aids autonomous driving by creating a map of the surrounding environment using artificial intelligence (AI). The company expects Apache 6 to be used in a variety of applications.

There is an active movement to localize BMICs along with Nextchip. LX Semicon is developing BMICs, and Telechips and ABOV Semiconductor are preparing to mass-produce BMICs with a domestic battery company in a joint venture.

Nextchip will use BMIC development and target the automotive semiconductor market to attain public offering funds during the listing process. In addition to the development of BMICs and Apache Chip 6, the number of personnel for semiconductor development will also be expanded. The company will expand its 150-person development workforce to more than 200 by 2025. Nextchip will be listed on the KOSDAQ on the 1st of next month.

By Staff Reporter Ji-woong Kim