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.
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.
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?
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.
Former president of Industrial Technology Research Institute Chin-Tay Shih pointed out in a recent forum organized by Li Kwoh-ting Foundation that top US companies often use Research Lab organizations to interact with young students. Intel offered 700 or 800 internships to students every summer, and he was entitled to internship while studying in California. Since the link between enterprises and schools is relatively weak in Taiwan, there may be gaps between one's school education and career. The colleges of semiconductor research under construction in Taiwan is trying to seek solution to close the gap.
At present, there are 801 publicly listed IT companies in Taiwan, with 395 in the main board of the stock exchange market and 406 in over-the-counter market. Since most of the major players have been raising operating funds through the open market, we can grasp the dynamics of Taiwan's IT industry through the released financial reports.
TSMC is the global leader in the semiconductor foundry sector, but Samsung is keen on challenging the Taiwanese rival. The Korean giant aims to ovetake TSMC by 2030 in the foundry sector. Taiwan-based ABF substrate suppliers expect new production capacities to come online in 2022-2023, boosting their sales and profits. Taiwan-based battery-swapping ecosystem developer Gogoro has added India's Hero MotoCorp as one of its new investors of its PIPE investment.
Many industry sectors have been hit hard by COVID, but electronics and peripheral service industries have been thriving. According to Taiwan Stock Exchange, there were 395 IT companies listed on the main board, and another 406 IT companies on the over-the-counter market as of the end of 2021 - or a total of 801 publicly listed IT companies. From the financial reports released by these companies, you can track the latest dynamics of the industry. DIGITIMES has come up with statistics of total revenue of US$939.9 billion contributed by all publicly listed IT companies in 2021 with an annual growth of 18.2%. The most outstanding firms are those from the semiconductor sector, elevating output of US$125.3 billion in 2020 to US$166.9 billion in 2021 with a remarkable growth rate of 33.1% due to the surging demand from the EV and notebook markets, the G2 tensions and the supply-chain disruption. The overall contribution of semiconductors to the revenue of the entire IT industry has been lifted from 15.8% in 2020 to 17.8% in 2021.
MediaTek chairman Ming-Kai Tsai pointed out in a recent forum held by Li Kwoh-Ting Foundation that we tended to chase for short-term benefits at the expense of the long-term deployment in the past. When the transistor was invented in 1946, we didn't realize we were about to usher in a great era of information technology. When the Internet was in its inception in 1997, information technology brought us business opportunities of US$500 billion a year. MediaTek and many Taiwan makers were rising in the bright era of fast growth. The era does not seem to be far away when we look back, but rather Taiwan is in the most favorable position to participate in or observe the change of this industry.
Taiwan is a semiconductor manufacturing powerhouse, but it relies heavily on foreign equipment suppliers. Now the country's president has vowed to improve Taiwan's semiconductor equipment self-sufficiency. A recent power outage hitting Hua Hong Semiconductor's fab in China may further constrain IC supply and help push up manufacturing service quotes at 8-inch fabs. And PC processor prices are also set to rise in 2022, thanks to rising production costs.
The manufacturing of semiconductors using EUV process produces a lot of carbon dioxide, but TSMC is striving to reduce such carbon emissions. Suppliers of networking chips are adopting QFN for packaging amid shortages of substrates for flip-chip production. FII has identified metaverse, EV and semiconductor as three areas for its business development.
Comments of business leaders in the ICT industry are important sources for news stories. DIGITIMES sees such news stories as enrichments to our database. DIGITIMES has keen interest in Macronix's IDM business model, and ASE's capability of maintaining leadership in packaging and testing. We are much interested in their unique views of the industry.
Robust chip demand for HPC device applications, as well as demand for automotive and smartphone chips, will buoy TSMC's sales performance during the quarter. TSMC expects its first-quarter 2022 sales to grow 7.4% sequentially. TSMC house reportedly has plans to dedicate fab facilities to making 3nm chips for Intel. In China, semiconductor backend services providers plan to cut prices for MCU packaging in the first half of 2022 in order to boost orders from clients.
As one of Taiwan's major integrated device manufacturers (IDM), Macronix shoulders the responsibility of Taiwan's future role in the memory industry. Miin Wu, chairman of Macronix, stressed in a recent forum that Macronix has been focused on quality since its inception. Macronix's product quality is superior to competitors' and it is especially so in high-end NOR flash. Wu stressed again that the future memory products will be a customized sector, and the application-driven technology will be the key to success. Solutions which are merged into the "system in memory" would strengthen customers' competitiveness. Etron chairman Nicky Lu, who has been in the memory business for years, also said that if you expect the memory sector to achieve a satisfactory outcome, you should take the packaging and testing industry into account. TSMC chairman Mark Liu also believes that Micron has surpassed Samsung in memory technology. Taiwan should not miss the opportunity, with Micron having a production base in central Taiwan.