Chips" are the smallest information units within the code sequence. The chip sequence is higher than the bit sequence by the spreading factor( SF). In other words, the spreading factor is the ratio of the chip rate to the bit rate.
The level of the spreading factor depends on the application and determines the data rate and sensitivity. In UMTS, the spread factors are 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512. In other applications, the values are 1,000 and in the GPS system 20,460.