MediaTek chairman Ming-Kai Tsai pointed out in a recent forum held by Li Kwoh-Ting Foundation that we tended to chase for short-term benefits at the expense of the long-term deployment in the past. When the transistor was invented in 1946, we didn't realize we were about to usher in a great era of information technology. When the Internet was in its inception in 1997, information technology brought us business opportunities of US$500 billion a year. MediaTek and many Taiwan makers were rising in the bright era of fast growth. The era does not seem to be far away when we look back, but rather Taiwan is in the most favorable position to participate in or observe the change of this industry.
Comments of business leaders in the ICT industry are important sources for news stories. DIGITIMES sees such news stories as enrichments to our database. DIGITIMES has keen interest in Macronix's IDM business model, and ASE's capability of maintaining leadership in packaging and testing. We are much interested in their unique views of the industry.
Based on the recent report from SIA, the China semiconductor industry grew 30.6% in 2020. If the growth rate continues, by 2030, it will become a world champion in the semiconductor industry. TSMC then continues to surge in the foundry sector and surpass other competitors in the world. In 2022, it expects to grow 29% in sales revenue. Many Taiwan semiconductor companies also expressed high interest in automobile chips and welcome more cooperation with mainstream carmakers.
Major South Korean companies Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are shifting their focus from hardware and functionality toward improving the customer experience (CX). The young leaders of these companies are conducting a value revolution.
MediaTek's chairman Ming-Kai Tsai recently elucidated his views on the metaverse business opportunity that has become a hot topic these days. Metaverse ignites a new business opportunity with diverse changes and infinite extensions. From the physical perspective of "contact," we can imagine the continuous development of AR/VR/MR related devices. The metaverse infrastructure that supports various devices as well as the huge data centers that features high-performance computing power and data storage are all indispensable. These are the physical business opportunities of the metaverse.
A personal assistant that knows the best time to wake you up. A machine that reads radiology scans together with a pathologist. More and more artificial intelligence (AI) applications have become a reality or are on their way. Daniela Rus, director of MIT's CSAIL (computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory), said the technology has also created challenges. If we can handle them well, AI will improve our lives significantly.
Founded in 1997, MediaTek originated from the UMC Group which was founded in the 1980s. The management team has witnessed the wonderful era "from micrometer to sub-microns" in Taiwan. In view of the future of Taiwan's IC design industry, MediaTek's chairman Ming-Kai Tsai, who is usually cautious in his speech, generously shared his insights and elucidated transformation of industrial structure and evolution of technologies recently.
Algorithms are changing our lives in different ways. However, Cathy O'Neil, founder of O'Neil risk consulting and algorithmic auditing, said in some cases, the mathematical models are embedded with opinions and potentially become "weapons" that cause harm.
The impact of COVID-19 on the global semiconductor industry has varied by region, as main chip production bases such as Taiwan and South Korea have dealt well with the pandemic. However, supply disruptions from semiconductor companies in Southeast Asia (SEA) have severely impacted the global smartphone and automotive industries. While governments around the world work hard to fight the pandemic, it has thrust the semiconductor industry in SEA into the spotlight, as well as highlighted its importance.
AI algorithms play a huge part in today's world. They also continue to be refined to perform various tasks better. For example, Hui Chen, professor of finance at MIT Sloan School, has researched applying economic concepts to machine learning algorithms that will make the algorithms "smarter."
Taiwan has succeeded in transforming from a low value-added assembler to a technology designer and provider over the past decades. To keep growing in the future, MIT scholar Donald Lessard said enterprises have to create "recipes" others will follow.
During the past 20 years, especially after China and Taiwan successively joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), thanks to China's cheap labor and social costs, coupled with the industrial structure that is highly dependent on PC and mobile phone brands, manufacturers of Taiwan, South Korea and China capitalized on the golden period of the supply chain. But the industry has undergone structural changes in the wake of the US-China trade war, COVID-19 and the rise of the EV industry. The new market structure is redefining the semiconductor industry and its supply chains.
Along with the global trend of energy-saving and reducing carbon emissions, the Canadian government has published a national blueprint that raised its previous targets of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and aimed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
In a semiconductor industry forum that marked the 20th death anniversary of the late senior presidential advisor Li Kwoh-ting, many distinguished ICT leaders shared their insights. President Tsai Ing-wen delivered an opening message; the host of the forum, Etron chairman Nicky Lu, also invited TSMC chairman Mark Liu, MediaTek chairman Ming-Kai Tsai, Macronix chairman Miin Wu and ASE COO Tien Wu - the "Big Four" of Taiwan's semiconductor industry leaders. Each of them elucidated the changes of Taiwan's semiconductor industry from their own perspectives along with Q&As on the opportunities and challenges of cross-industry development. The event was a remarkable success. Lu's opening remarks triggered insights through the last session.
During the inception of EV development, Taiwan makers have made substantial gains in the upstream field like in-car computer and cockpit panels. Battery material firms also have gained ground in the cathode, anode and electrolyte segments. Electric bus makers Rac and Master, power charging solution providers Delta, Phihong and Fortune have all joined MIH Consortium initiated by Foxconn (Hon-Hai).
With 2021 behind us, the world is expected to see some alleviation in chip crunch at least in the second half of 2022. While dozens of new fabs that start production in the next few years may result in a rebalancing of demands and supplies, many are seeing a golden era for the semiconductor industry in the years ahead.