The semiconductor supply chain is seeing dramatic changes, impacting consumer electronics head-on, and the drop in demand has further impacted IC design and IC manufacturing industries. In contrast, growth remains stable in the automotive electronics industry. In the memory industry, for instance, Chinese suppliers like GigaDevice, Ingenic Semiconductor, Macronix and Winbond continue to increase the share of automotive products in their sales, looking to tap into future growth.
GigaDevice recently published its performance prediction for the first half of 2022, expecting its net profit attributable to shareholders to reach CNY152 million, an annual growth of 93.46%. The company indicated that it would continue to adjust products and customers, and boost revenues from the industrial and automotive sectors.
As a major supplier of MCU and memory chips in China, GigaDevice has in recent years accelerated its migration from consumer electronics into the auto sector, seeing its NOR products entering the auto market and its NAND products obtaining auto-grade verification. GigaDevice will also release its first auto-grade MCU that adopts Cortex M33. It is currently going through trials, with volume production expected in mid-2022.
Driven by the growth in car electronics demand, according to IC Insights, Gigadevice's NOR products are seeing a 100% annual growth, reaching US$670 million. Its market share has climbed to 23.2% and is forecast to reach a new height in 2022. In total, GigaDevice has shipped more than 19 billion NOR chips and 1 billion MCUs so far, both seeing diverse applications in industrial, consumer, automotive, and telecommunication markets.
Ingenic Semiconductor, another major memory chip player in China, is also tapping into the auto market, mainly through its NOR memory chips. Overall, Ingenic's revenues from NOR have grown more than 30% in Q1. Meanwhile, Ingenic also has 2D NAND products, nevertheless in lower volume.
Despite these upbeat developments, uncertainty still looms over the entire semiconductor chain, with some fearing that the auto chip market might not meet the expectations amid rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, and the pandemic in China.
According to industry insiders, however, the recent chip prices fall has primarily impacted consumer electronics, and a structural difference is gradually surfacing that sees price drops mainly confined to mid-to-low-end chips, with high-end chips still gripped by price hikes.
The difference also manifests itself in different sectors and regions. Growth is still expected in the auto chips sector and the Chinese market. Indeed, as Counterpoint Research indicated, the weakening consumer demand is not affecting industrial MCUs and the automotive chip markets. On the contrary, future growth potential in the auto market has begun to attract leading chip design houses like Qualcomm and MediaTek.