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MIH announces operating model to lower entry barriers for alliance partners
Julian Ho, Taipei; Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES 0

MIH Consortium, a Foxconn-led open EV ecosystem that promotes collaboration in the mobility industry, has announced an operating model while extending its strategy to recognize the growing demand for electric vehicles (EV) and expansion in the EV market.

In March 2021, MIH unveiled its Open EV Alliance - an open EV technology ecosystem that promotes collaboration in the car industry. Foxconn (Hon Hai) said membership has been growing daily, and since March more than 1,600 partner companies in both the hardware and software space have joined the alliance.

"Ensuring the sustained success of MIH depends on the contributions and efforts from every member," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu. "And to ensure an open and neutral B2B platform, I commit to three promises: I will assemble a new, more diverse, and more open board of directors within the next six months. MIH Consortium will be neutral, open, and independent to Foxconn. And last, Foxconn's final and complete EV products will leverage the MIH reference designs and standards and choose components and solutions from MIH members as first priority.

The consortium announced on June 25 the founding of a Taipei office to oversee operations, foster further advancement of its charter, and to advocate on the benefits of an open EV ecosystem on behalf of all its members. The consortium will establish technical and advisory committees, and form working groups to encourage and facilitate greater problem solving, and drive next generation mobility innovation across the member base.

"Today, the alliance's focus is to identify key technologies, develop reference designs and standards, that bridge the gap for all members resulting in lower barriers to entry, accelerated innovation, and shorter development cycles," said Jack Cheng, interim-CEO of the MIH Consortium. "Collaboration is at the heart of the alliance."

"Alliance member contributions and participation is imperative in order for the MIH open ecosystem to be successful, said Max Cheng, executive vice president of core technology and CIO, Trend Micro. "Starting six years ago, we established a Cybersecurity Solution Team to support vehicle partners' solution in connected car. Now we can foresee that the security of connected cars will be a critical issue in the future and Trend Micro is the best partner helping to implement Security by Design."

"An open source approach to future hardware and software platforms can spur innovation, reduce development time and provide a basis for a vibrant marketplace; this is the vision for the MIH Consortium to create an open ecosystem for all members to participate and succeed," said William Wei, chief technology officer of the MIH Consortium. "MIH will introduce a paradigm shift into EV development across the supply chain."

Over the coming months, MIH Alliance members can expect to learn more about the alliance and its membership benefits and services which can help guide their business strategies and expand their mobility opportunities, said Foxconn.

Future car is key

The future car has become the main battlefield of the global electronics industry in the next decade, and the semiconductor industry is well aware of the explosive growths in the medium- and long-term for power semiconductors such as "small ICs" that Foxconn is eyeing, according to industry observers.

Global EV sales, 2019-2025 (k units)

Source: Digitimes Research, May 2021

Firms such as Pan Jit International, Eris Technology, and Taiwan Semiconductor are already looking at the potential of MIH platform, the observers said.

The appeal of Foxconn as a giant of the electronics industry has attracted about 1,700 members to join the MIH Alliance in six months. Liu has stressed that the purpose of MIH is to be neutral and open, and Foxconn is only one of the founding members.The semiconductor content of an EV is US$1,000, and among various semiconductor components, the proportion of those classified as "small ICs" is about 90%, although most of them are basic components that do not require advanced manufacturing processes. It is these "small ICs" such as rectifier diodes, MOSFETs, analog ICs that are crucial to future cars.

Apart from Actron Technology, which has long entered the tier-1 supply chain for automotive power components, Pan jit and Eris have long made deployments in automotive peripherals of audio-visual, information and communication systems, with their rectifier diodes and protection components, the observers said.

For Hall ICs that can be used in power steering magnetic sensors, Taiwan Semiconductor has launched new automotive grade products.

As an industry leader, Foxconn is forming partnerships with other powerhouses from other sectors.Foxconn and Yageo are forming a joint venture for the development and sale of semiconductors, eyeing the production and sales of "small ICs" with ASP below US$2.

Foxcon has also invested indirectly in Malaysia-based SilTerra's 8-inch wafer fab; it has its own packaging plant in Qingdao, China; it invested in ShunSin's packaging plant ShunSin; and it stands a good chance of working with automotive CMOS sensor packaging plant Tong Hsing Electronic Industries, an affliate of Yageo, the observers said.

Foxconn is striving to shorten the EV development cycle from four years to two years, reducing costs by one-third or even 50%. It is also said that the strategic cooperation between Yageo and Foxconn will boost the proportion of Yageo's supply in Foxconn from 25% to 50%, the observers said.

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