TSMC, Intel and Samsung continue to compete for the leadership in more advanced technologies beyond 7nm node. Samsung has already foretold that it will mass produce for 4nm technology in 2021, with the 3nm process likely to be available in 2023. In the future, Samsung will produce its own chips with its 3nm GAAFTE process. As we all know, Samsung has a lot of contracts from its internal system design center. Only when Samsung wins orders from external customers can there be structural improvements. But many external customers are wary of Samsung's dual role as player and referee which leverages its technology, production capacity and market operations against its customers. Samsung has considered spinning off its wafer foundry business to endorse its credibility, but has not made a move because semiconductor is a highly capital-intensive industry. TSMC has announced that between 2021 and 2023 it will invest US$100 billion or an annual capital expenditure of US$30 billion for capacity expansions. The budget is more than double Samsung's sales from wafer foundry business. A spun-off Samsung foundry business wouldn't be able to afford such big investments all on its own, and would face enormous challenges trying to make profits.
Since the 1970s, Taiwan and South Korea have been parallelly developing semiconductor and new-geneation IT industries. The national conditions and industrial strength of the two countries are very similar. During the Cold War, Taiwan and South Korea were part of the first island chain facing the communist world. Now the US and China are rivals that compete head to head with not only weaponry, but also the strength of the technology industry, the most representative of which is the semiconductor industry and the ubiquitous supply chain. About 60% of Taiwan's and Korea's semiconductor exports go to China. In 2020, China imported as much as US$350 billion of semiconductors, with about half of them from Taiwan and South Korea. Taiwan and South Korea both export enormously to China on the one hand, and vie for the industry leadership position on the other. South Korea specializes in memory, but Taiwan's industry structure is more diverse: wafer foundry, IC design, packaging and testing. Taiwan and South Korea dislike each other but also rely on each other.
Following in the footsteps of International IDMs and automakers to promote their SiC components for EVs, China auto and semiconductors makers are also preparing their homegrown SiC chips and modules for EV applications. After the announcement to develop SiC components a few weeks ago, Foxconn continues its investment in EV business with PPT in Thailand to expand its EV supply chains to Southeast Asia. In addition to EV manufacturing, its maintenance service recently has aroused many discussions from different sides, due to the eight-year warrants of early Tesla Model S and Model X being expired soon.
The ever-changing business environment has urged companies to always stay agile to prepare for the unexpected. Innovation, then, becomes the main factor for companies in different industries to ensure their organic growth. The traditional industries, such as textiles and apparel, bike manufacturing, food, and even real estate, are also looking for innovations either internally or via collaboration with partners.
Energy storage systems make renewable energy controllable, manageable, adjustable, and reduce the problems that may be caused during power delivery, according to senior director Paul Ai for Energy System Solutions Business Unit under Delta Electronics.
Many say warriors can't choose their battlefield. But in the consulting service sector, analysts need to know how to choose their battlefield in order to survive. Normally we know more about the patterns of information, reasonable quotations, and usage patterns than our customers. Therefore, service providers must be confident in defining the market, selecting the market segments, developing pricing and service mechanism, which is key to the operation of the consultancy industry.
Remote communication has become a norm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating business opportunities for cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
When I started my business, someone from the electronics industry claimed "it's a complete rip-off" to sell our newspaper at NT$20 per copy, while others' newspapers were generally priced at NT$10. The claim stemmed from a failure to understand that B2B professional information costs much higher than B2C information. Evidently, newspapers are nothing more than a tool to convey information. In terms of cost, it is simply a losing business. But I regard our newspaper as a form of direct mail "loaded with knowledge."
Times have changed. In the past PC brands had all the say with emphasis on white-collar business opportunity. However, after the surging demand of handsets in 2000, the Chinese market has become increasingly important. How to define the needs of the Chinese handset market and even keep an eye on the upstream supply chain have posed a formidable challenge for many world-class consulting companies. In the early days of China's economy opening-up, all privatized state-owned enterprises sought out endorsements from world-class consulting companies. Although the same logic should apply everywhere, Chinese state-owned enterprises may not have really understood the strategic recommendations of consulting companies. But the endorsements from well-known consulting companies would provide them with a springboard to promote privatization in China. It is indeed a lucrative business for the consulting companies worldwide. But they are dedicated to local market research and corporate projects, rather than supply chain research.
A good analyst needs to know something that no one else does, such as sources of special information or expert opinions, and understands how to provide information to the right people in the most efficient way. The capability to get hold of a vast amount of data and analyze it with the most effective tools is the key to success for industry analysts in the Internet age. But it is more crucial to define the function and value of various data and transmit them to the right person at the right time and right place.
Infographics refers to a visual representation of information or data. PowerPoint widely used in the last one or two decades and the availability of more affordable tools have posed more challenges for industrial analysts. We transform original news or charts into visual infographics, an efficient way to convey the information to the readers and listeners. That's a very basic skill for analysts now.