Micron is stepping up expansions of its production capacity, with plans to install EUV tools at its Taiwan fabs in 2024. In China, smartphone shipments to the domestic market slipped 5.4% in September, with local brands accounting for over 90% of the shipments. And supply side issues, such as component shortages, may hinder 5G smartphone shipment growth globally in 2022.
Micron Technology has plans to install EUV lithography tools at its Taiwan-based fabs in 2024, said Manish Bhatia, executive VP of global operations for the US memory chip vendor, at an online press event held October 21.
Automotive IDMs have already told their clients that their chip prices will go up by 10-20% starting 2022 amid rising compoents and materaisls costs. Foundry quotes have been rising, but they are expected to increase less sharply next year with near-term demand for IC components to remain robust. Foundry houses' race to advance process technologies is promising strong growth for EUV tool vendor ASML.
With Intel announcing plans to adopt ASML's high-NA EUV machines in its post-nanometer process technology that is expected to be ready for production by 2025, ASML has disclosed it is developing a next-generation EUV platform that increases the numerical aperture from 0.33 to 0.55.
SK Hynix has announced the development of HBM3 DRAM memory. SK Hynix indicated the latest development, which follows the start of mass production of HBM2E in July 2020, is expected to help consolidate the company's leadership in the market.
Samsung's new NAND flash production capacity is coming, which is likely to create oversupply and exacerbate price falls for the memory. Apple has been relyng on Taiwan-based ODMs for producing its Mac devices, but it reportedly is looking to outsource portions of the Mac production to Chinese makers. But Taiwan's IC substrate suppliers have reportedly entered Apple's supply chain for new Mac chips.
The gradual commercialization of Samsung Electronics's new production capacity for NAND flash memory in the second half of 2021 has sparked concerns among market observers about a potential oversupply, according to industry sources.
Makers in Apple's supply chain have seen no major changes to orders for iPhone 13 devices despite speculation about the US vendor looking to cut production for the new smartphones. The memory sector is entering a period of correction, with commodity DRAM prices likely to fall 15-20% in first-quarter 2022. Rising components, production and logistic costs are heaping pressure on notebook vendors.
Following peak shipments in the second and third quarters, the memory sector has entered a period of correction in the fourth quarter of 2021 that may last for 1-2 quarters, and commodity DRAM prices, in particular, will face higher downward pressure than other segments and may fall 15-20% in the first quarter of 2022, according to industry sources.
DRAM will continue to see bit growth in 2022, but the growth momentum will be weaker than this year's. Device makers are already slowing down purchases of DRAM, reflecting the disappointing end-market demand. Backend houses in Taiwan are seeing orders from clients who have had to switch production from Southeast Asia due to COVID hitting IDMs' fabs in the region. HDI board makers are expecting strong sales in fourth-quarter 2021, although power cuts in China and chip shortages remain concerns.
Samsung Electronics has begun mass producing what it claims is the industry's smallest, 14nm DRAM based on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology. Following the company's shipment of the industry-first EUV DRAM in March 2020, Samsung has increased the number of EUV layers to five to deliver today's finest, most advanced DRAM process for its DDR5 solutions.
DRAM maker Nanya Technology expects its bit sales to contract in the fourth quarter of 2021, with chip ASPs likely to fall through the first quarter of next year, according to company president Pei-Ing Lee.
Flash memory chipmaker Macronix International saw its third-quarter revenue climb a robust 31% sequentially to NT$14.97 billion (US$535.1 million) while revenue at flash device controller supplier Phison Electronics hit a record high for the second consecutive quarter.
With foundry supply short of demand at both advanced and mature nodes, TSMC is expected to expand capacity for both its 7nm and 28nm processes, which may further expand its capex for 2021. Power cuts in China look set to last for some more time, as manufacturers in Kunshan were notified on October 5 of new restrictions on electricity use - which took effect immediately - just one day after the last period of restrictions ended. End-market demand in China has been weak during the National Day holidays, and memory module makers are wary that the Single's Day promotions in November may not as sluggish.
Memory chip demand for game consoles will be picking up later in the second half of 2021, as Nintendo is poised to roll out its new-generation Switch equipped with a 7-inch OLED display, according to industry sources.