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Thursday 10 February 2022
Industry watch: UAV applications
Many people are still unfamiliar with the NTN (non-terrestrial network), including myself. I recently learnt something from a briefing by an analyst from DIGITIMES Research about the business model and technical specifications of NTN: Now I'm aware that it refers to capturing network services in inaccessible areas like oceans, deserts and mountains.
Wednesday 9 February 2022
Industry watch: Race of next-generation node process
Competition between leading semiconductor players TSMC, Intel and Samsung has been in the news quite often lately. To my knowledge, TSMC dominates business opportunities in 7nm and 5nm, with more than 90% of the share in these market segment. Now everyone is observing whether major foundry fabs can overcome technical challenges of 3nm node. Basically, 3nm is a transitional technology, while 2nm for commercial operation can be a tough nut to crack in the next stage after 2025, when the global semiconductor market size may amount to US$800-900 billion. If TSMC's market share remains unchanged, how much will they invest? How many employees will be needed? What about issues of power consumption? There are many challenges to be addressed. Should we listen to the advice of government think tanks, or speculation from US consultancies or the media outlets, or the industry reports from semiconductor associations?
Tuesday 8 February 2022
Highlights of the day: Apple suppliers during holiday reportedly for new MacBook Pro
Apple's suppliers were kept busy during the Lunar New New holiday reportedly making new MacBook Pro set for launch next month. MediaTek and Realtek are keen to gain market shares in the Wi-Fi chip market, seeking more support from their foundry partners. Intel has announced a US$1 billion fund to build a foundry ecosystem and collaborate with RISC-V IC design houses.
Monday 7 February 2022
Highlights of the day: GlobalWafers unveils expansion plan
GlobalWafers has unveiled a US$3.6 billion capacity expansion plan after its proposed acquisition of Siltronic fell through. MediaTek has also completed a three-year growth plan, looking to achieve significant sales increases in nultiple product lines. In India's EV market, Korean carmakers stand a better of chance of succes than their Japanese counterparts, an IHS Markit research director told DIGITIMES in a recent interview.
Monday 7 February 2022
Industry watch: CPU battle heating up
In the 1990s, Intel, the peerless CPU market leader, even produced motherboards, challenging Taiwan's motherboard makers. Was Intel really interested in making motherboards? Certainly not. It was Intel's intention to use its self-made motherboards to motivate Taiwan makers to upgrade their skill level. It's very similar to TSMC's strategic purpose of developing technology of IC packaging and testing. Intel purchased PCBs from Taiwan to assemble motherboards in Puerto Rico that offered cheap labor with strategic purpose of selling advanced microprocessors to Taiwan makers and seeking vertical integration for the maturing market at the same time. Intel was eyeing a winner-take-all plan. But Intel's plan never succeeded, or the notebook and mobile phone supply chain would not have thrived, and it would have even wreaked havoc on the IC design industry.
Friday 28 January 2022
Highlights of the day: Taiwan semiconductor firms irreplaceable
Market cap satistics collected by DIGITIMES of the top-100 firms in Asia highlights Taiwanese semiconductor firms' irreplaceable role in the global IT ecosystem. The DIGITIMES Market Cap 100 survey also shows the dominance of Chinese car and battery makers' dominance in the Asian market. But US-China trade tensions are prompting some tech companies to move their production, particularly for servers and automotive electronics, to Mexico.
Friday 28 January 2022
Industry watch: The next golden decade for Taiwan IT industry
The development of the ICT supply chain over the past 30 years has only been paving the way for the next golden decade of Taiwan!
Thursday 27 January 2022
Highlights of the day: Market Cap 100 highlights strong outlook for Asia semiconductor firms
According to the latest data collected by DIGITIMES concerning the market cap rankings of Asia's top-100 companies, the Asian semiconductor industry is worth US$1,159 billion in total, with Taiwanese firms alone accounting for US$705.3 billion. Although semiconductor firms in Taiwan, Japan and Korea are technologically more competitive, their Chinese peers had much higher PE ratios, according to the market cap data. And UMC has warned that 28nm chips segment may see oversupply beginning 2023.
Thursday 27 January 2022
Industry watch: ICT business opportunities and challenges in 2022
The supply chain of Asia's ICT industry has evolved from a PC-driven era to an era led by mobile communication over the past 30 years. The smartphone and notebook markets have driven the ups and downs of the Asian supply chain. Ushering in the booming era intertwined by 5G, low-Earth orbit satellites, EVs, and future cars coupled with emerging diverse applications, leading players of different sectors are advocating a new "application-driven" trend.
Wednesday 26 January 2022
Market Cap 100: Top 10 most valuable companies by market capitalization
The latest "Asia Supply Chain Market Cap 100 Ranking" renders insights of the year 2021 share performance and valuation of listed companies engaging in the manufacturing supply chains in Asia. The results showed that despite the challenges such as COVID, extreme weather, geopolitical uncertainties, and chip crunch, the top 10 most valuable companies in Asia supply chains managed to survive, and some even excelled than ever before.
Wednesday 26 January 2022
Industry watch: A miracle in IT and air transport sectors
As far as I know, only three of the world's major airlines - Taiwan's China Airlines, Eva Air and South Korea's Korean Air - are still in the black under the pandemic. We can understand that this is intimately related to the supply chain of the IT industry. Most of the semiconductors are shipped by air rather than by sea. South Korea is the large memory producer, while Taiwan dominates in the markets of wafer and packaging & testing. According to data released by Taiwan's Ministry of Economy, 42.5% of Taiwan's exports went to China in 2021, with the semiconductors growing by 25%. Taiwan is not being discouraged under the plight of the global epidemic and economic downturn, but rather is outperforming other countries in economy, thanks to surging demand ranging from notebooks, 5G related sectors, EVs, to industrial control systems.
Tuesday 25 January 2022
Highlights of the day: Memory spot prices rebounding
Memory spot prices are rebounding, with 8Gb DDR4 spot prices having risen over 10% since late December. Compal Electronics was Taiwan's top notebook maker in 2021, with its revenues for the year growing 17.8%. In the EV sector, battery makers are kenn on expanding production capacities in the US.
Monday 24 January 2022
Highlights of the day: TSMC fast expanding packaging capacity
TSMC is keen on advancing its 3D IC packaging technology. The foundry house reportedly is planning to build a new advanced packaging plant in southernTaiwan, satisfying long-term strong demand. And fellow foundry houses UMC and PSMC are poised to post record-high sales in first-quarter 2022, as a result of increases in chip manfacturing service quotes. In the automotive industry, Bosch and VW have signed an MoU for exploring the possibility of establishing a European battery equipment solution provider.
Monday 24 January 2022
Industry watch: Big issues must be addressed
Well known for industry clusters, Taiwan must think about developing a "Cluster 2.0" model, ASE COO Tien Wu has urged. How should it define the concept of "mutual home ground" across the whole semiconductor community? For instance, if we want to cooperate with Macronix in memory solution, should we expect TSMC to extend service to packaging and testing, or seek complementary partnership?
Friday 21 January 2022
Highlights of the day: Foldable smartphone will be a passing fad?
All the major smartphone providers, except Apple and Vivo, have announced they would release foldable smartphones in 2022. Among those brands, Samsung, Oppo, and Huawei already released their new foldable handsets in 2021. However, the rapidly falling price has made the market wonder if foldable smartphones are just a passing fad? And many Android-based handset vendors will also release more new models to boost their sales in 1H22 to take up more market shares outside of China. Other the other hand, Wi-Fi 6/6E has become a mainstream wireless communication specification for notebooks, desktop PCs, and handsets and it is expected that Wi-Fi 7 will spark the future demand.