Because of worsening shortages of ICs and components, downstream ICT product makers are expected to decelerate their paces in specs upgrades for their new products as their upstream partners will not have enough capacity to support them. Meanwhile the issue will also constrain MCU vendors' revenues as they are experiencing longer delivery lead times from their foundries and backend service providers. As demand from cryptomining applications remains strong, many chip vendors have turned to adopt BT substrates for cryptomining chips as ABF substrates are currently having serious shortages.
As shortages of ICs and other components are expected to worsen further in the peak season, downstream system makers are expected to slow down specs upgrades for their new offerings set for launch in the second half of the year, according to industry sources.
Taiwan's MCU vendors will see their revenue growth momentum constrained in the short term by extended delivery lead times at foundry and backend houses, although they have abundant orders in hands, according to industry sources.
EMS giant Foxconn, taking a step further in its transformation, has formed a joint venture with passive component maker Yageo for the development and sales of what they call "small ICs" - semiconductor chips with ASP lower than US$2.00. Meanwhile, TSMC has seen orders from Bitmain pick up for 5nm chips used in cryptomining. TSMC is also expected to make 6nm processors for Sony's redesigned PS5 games console.
Suppliers including foundry TSMC are expected to kick off production for the redesign of Sony's PlayStation 5 (PS5) games console between the second and third quarters of 2022, according to industry sources.
Driven by a resurgent memory market and relatively flat sales results from Intel, IC Insights believes that Samsung will again replace Intel as the leading semiconductor producer beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Demand for white-box servers from datacenter operators has been growing fast, with Taiwanese ODM's shipments already accounting for more than one third of the world's total server shipments in 2020, according to Digitimes Research's latest Server Tracker quarterly report. Earlier this year, foundry house VIS set its 2021 capex budget at NT$5 billion, a sharp increase from last yea's level. Now it has raised the capex budget further to NT$8 billion to fund its capacity expansion. With persistently strong demand for ICs, silicon wafer supplier GloabalWafers expects sales momentum to remain robust through 2023.
Display driver IC (DDI) backend specialists Chipbond Technology and ChipMOS Technologies have seen unstable capacity utilization for processing small- to medium-size applications due mainly to unstable wafer shipments from chip designers, according to industry sources.
GaAs foundry Advanced Wireless Semiconductor Company (AWSC) is expected to enjoy sequential revenue increases through June, and will see further revenue growth after new production capacity comes online in the third quarter at the earliest, according to industry sources.
Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) has raised its capex budget for 2021 by 70% to NT$8.5 billion (US$303.8 million), with plans to purchase more fab equipment supporting its long-term expansion projects.
Backend service providers face as much as a 50% shortage of packaging materials from until June as a result of production issues at Japanese suppliers. MediaTek is prioritizing shipments for 5G chips, telling its Chinese handset clients that it is cutting output for 4G offerings amid tight foundry supply. Despite tight foundry capacity, TSMC has promised more support for the car industry. Demand for automotive chip probing services is expected to stay brisk throughout the year.
GaAs, InP and GaN wafer foundry service provider Global Communication Semiconductors (GCS) Holdings has disclosed it will add investment of NT$400 million (US$14.1 million) in Unikorn Semiconductor, a compound semiconductor maker spun off from LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker Epistar, to raise its stake ratio from 34.73% to 45.39%.
Wafer probing service providers have seen the visibility of orders for automotive chips extended to the end of 2021, as TSMC has committed capacity support to chip vendors, according to industry sources.
OSATs have been notified by their Japan-based packaging materials suppliers including Showa Denko about a potential supply shortfall of as much as 50% between May and June, according to industry sources.
Intel has announced plans to invest US$3.5 billion to equip its New Mexico operations for the manufacturing of advanced semiconductor packaging technologies, including its Foveros 3D packaging technology.
Sony's CIS orders may have failed to materialize, but strong demand from other major clients have quickly filled the gap that would have been occupied by the Japanese vendor at TSMC. Persistently tight supply in the semiconductor sector has sent IC substrate suppliers looking to expand capacity. But some major Taiwanese suppliers are asking AMD to fund new lines that would cater to the client alone. In the notebook market, global shipments are expected to exceed 62 million units in second-quarter 2021, driven by gaming and education devices.
Major Taiwan-based IC substrate suppliers Unimicron Technology, Nan Ya PCB and Kinsus Interconnect Technology are negotiating with AMD a new form of supply deals under which the suppliers would build production lines dedicated to serving the US client, according to industry sources.