Texas Instrutments has given a less optimistic outlook for the third quarter of 2021, but industry sources have claimed that TI still sees prolonged lead times. TSMC has disclosed it is in early talks with clients about the feasibility of constructing a fab in Germany, and industry observers say such a fab could be a boost to Europe's car supply chain. DIGITIMES Asia president Colley Hwang has just published the first of his latest series of analysis of the global IT supply chain.
Networking IC specialist Realtek Semiconductor has said that it remains guardedly optimistic about its business prospects for the third quarter of 2021 as demand for its products across the board remains robust.
The persistent tight supply of controller ICs for memory devices, particularly those built using a 28nm process node, will stretch into the end of 2022, with related suppliers expecting only to fulfill no more than 80% of their orders, according to industry sources.
SEMICON Taiwan 2021 has announced that starting from September, five online technology forums will be held as a prelude to its physical exhibition, which has been rescheduled to December. A spike in COVID-19 infections locally in Taiwan prompted the organization to postpone its physical event.
After the peak of component crunch in the second quarter along with insufficient inventory in the third quarter, stress of stagnant deliverables on the highway seems to have been relieved. A consensus of the supply chain is to let the manufacturers breathe. The fourth quarter is in line with the traditional off-season, and the days should be easier. From foundries to IC design houses, Taiwanese manufacturers are in the limelight now. DIGITIMES Asia has noted in its reports that the foundry sector is now a seller's market with strong demand to last in end of 2022. Such messages are based on dynamic changes in demand-supply status of IT industry from the most upstream of the supply chain. Component shortages and component cannibalization require long-term rolling tracking. DIGITIMES Asia has been making dynamic adjustments to its views in line with rolling forecasts.
Demand from the car sector has been strong, and foundry houses are stepping up efforts to rolling out more automotive chips. Apple's manufacturing partners are seeing COVID-induced disruptions to their production in Vietnam, and will have to move poduction of new-gen AirPods to China. And in China, construction of 5G base stations is slowing down this year.
Chip shortage gas been serious, but Apple and carmakers are both asking for more ICs, the former looking to secure supply for its upcoming devices and the latter to prevent dirsuptions to their productions. Chinese IC designers are seeking more advanced manufacturing support from TSMC for their AI and HPC chips. Taiwan-based server makers are keen on expanding production capacity to meet strong demand.
HiSilicon is gearing up in-house development of OLED display driver chips (DDI), but has encountered difficulty in gaining sufficient support from foundries and OSATs capable of providing 40/28nm process manufacturing and high-end testing services, according to industry sources.
In light of the global semiconductor demand surges and chip companies looking to avoid the risks from the trade war and supply chain storage, the India government has recently provided new incentives to global semiconductor companies to set up fabs in the country, after a similar move failed a decade ago. But most of the global leading semiconductor companies still stay unresponsive due mainly to a lack of a complete ecosystem in South Asia.
Apple has stepped up its chip purchases for the upcoming iPhones, while first-tier automotive component vendors in the supply chains of carmakers in Japan are also vying for more available ICs, according to industry sources.
Taiwanese industrial IT product makers, including Foxlink, Delta Electronics, AcBel Polytech, FSP, and Winmate, have all warned that component shortages have become an issue that all supply chain companies need to deal with, as extensions in component deliveries have become a norm.
Brand vendors of 5G smartphones have started building component inventory for their new models for the second half of 2021, but prices of AP solutions are facing difficulties to increase, despite the ongoing rising quotes for ICs that are in shortages, because of fierce competition among suppliers, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has gradually been put under control, notebook ODMs still see their clients placing long-term orders, extending their order visibility beyond the fourth quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, Epistar and China-based Sanan have both entered into Samsung's mini/microLED chip supply chain and will begin delivery in the second half. Prices of MCUs will continue to rise through the end of 2021 as the supply of the chips will be undermined by nationwide lockdown in Malaysia and reduced support from Chinese foundries.
According to the ancient Chinese thinker Zhuangzi, persistence on building up competence over time is the only way to earn people's trust. Taiwan, with a small population of less than 24 million, has managed to gain advantages in the semiconductor and electronics supply chains. Taiwanese people call TSMC the "sacred mountain" that protects the country - an analogy to the mountain range running the length of the island. And some argue that China would not attack Taiwan recklessly because of TSMC's importance in the global supply chain. The argument may not stand but it does indicate there have been changes in TSMC's role in the wake of geopolitics in the US-China standoff.
While Apple is expected to have at least its new iPhone Pro series for 2021 feature ToF-based LiDAR scanners, some Android handset vendors including China's Honor are poised to resume adoption of ToF cameras for their new flagship models, according to industry sources.
Strong demand and tight capacity are pushing up foundry serivce quotes. Major Taiwan-based foundry houses are expected to report record-high sales in third-quarter 2021. The overall handset market may be weak, but 5G smartphone demand is picking up. Smartphone chip vendors expect their sales to be fueled by 5G offerings in third-quarter 2021. Servers are also gearing up for the 5G edge computing boom.
Most Taiwan-based IC design houses are poised to see their revenues grow at least 10% sequentially in the third quarter of 2021, bolstered by a pick-up in chip orders for 5G smartphones, according to industry sources.
Global sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by original equipment manufacturers are forecast to surpass US$100 billion next year, a new high, after jumping 34% to US$95.3 billion in 2021 compared to US$71.1 billion in 2020, according to SEMI.
China, which has been relying heavily on semiconductor imports, is keen to improve it IC self-sufficiency. But DIGITIMES Asia president Colley Hwang thinks the key for China is to keep the momentum for its economic growth. Apple reportedly will introduce the third-generation iPhone SE series in first-half 2022 adopting A14 Bionic, creating opportunities for its semiconductor supply chain. Thanks to WFH deeds, MIS has expects its shipments for IT devices to stay strong in 2021.