Traditional carmakers will certainly seek to sustain their existing advantages of automobile manufacturing in the development of EV businesses. It is by far a no-brainer for enterprises to join the global EV race to meet requirements of the battery and recharging systems. They can take the initiatives by integrating EV power management and ICT-related areas as the first step. In terms of the human-machine interface, smart cockpits, smart lighting, AR head-up displays, heterogeneous car screens and navigation systems are the immediate business opportunities. Considering self-driving requirements, EV industry players may cash in on business opportunities of ADAS, image sensors, driver assistance and decision-making system, and safety/cyber security system, etc.
In Asia, a few factors make the impact of innovation more pronounced than in other markets, including the "Big 4" semiconductor players – China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan – within the Asia Pacific region alone, consumers' openness to new technologies, competent tech talents, mobile internet. At the sixth round of Asia Venturing, hosted by Anchor Taiwan and DIGITIMES Asia, Tina Lin, GM in Google Taiwan, along with Sascha Pallenberg, chief awareness officer of Germany's first sustainability platform aware_ shared their insights about Asia innovations in the panel, moderated by Elisa Chiu, founder & CEO at Anchor Taiwan on December 14th. Below is a summary of the panel discussion:
In the first half of 2021, global sales of EVs reached 2.6 million units, up 160% from the first half of 2020. EVs promise a lot of business opportunities, giving rise to diverse demand for related services, products and facilities. Foxconn (Hon Hai) projects that not only traditional carmakers and new American participants from the tech community but other cross-industry players are joining the EV race. Other Asian countries are also eager to capitalize on the new business opportunities.
Foxconn (Hon Hai) unveiled three EV models, Model C, Model E and Model T, during its recent Hon Hai Tech Day, apparently targeting at three different market segments. Aiming at personal consumption at a reasonable price of under NT$1 million (US$35,939) Model C features comfortable seating for 5+2 people, accelerates from 0km to 100km in 3.8 seconds and delivers an extended range of 700km. The Model E is positioned as a dedicated mobile office with a wider range of 750km and acceleration in 2.8 seconds from 0km to 100km. Overall, Model C with moderate specs is likened to a consumer notebook with wheels for personal transportation. Model E is a commercial notebook which features "business specs" from Internet connection to interior design. The application scenarios should sound familiar to people in the ICT industry.
Metaverse has become the hottest tech buzzword as of late, attracting global industry players to jump on the investment bandwagon. However, while most companies have claimed they are builders of a new reality, the metaverse inventions they promote are mostly products that already exist in the market.
Samsung Electronics announced the company's reorganization on December 7. In addition to leadership changes, Samsung also merged its consumer electronics (CE) and information and mobile communications (IM) divisions into a new SET division.
TSMC's major equipment and materials suppliers are expected to have a good performance in 2022, due to TSMC's recent expansion in capacity and global market. The same situation also happens to Apple's ecosystem suppliers, like VCM and other component suppliers, that are increasing their future shipments for the next iPhones. Apple'sMacBooks also benefit some major notebook ODMs in Taiwan.
Asia's manufacturing-centric countries are keenly aware of their core clients' net zero goals. Carbon reduction is not a future-to-do task but has been progressing under slippage of timeline. At the forefront of carbon neutrality trends, Apple vows to achieve the goal by 2030 and completely decarbonize its packaging materials from 2025. HP sets its carbon neutrality target by 2030 and reach "net zero" by 2040. Dell plans to buy more renewable energy accounting for 75% of total energy sources by 2030 and to adopt 100% clean energy by 2040. Intel stresses that PC manufacturing needs to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. A multiple of Taiwan's leading IT makers also have announced their strategic goals of carbon neutrality to echo the global trends.
EV commercialization and mass production have led to the formation of a new EV supply chain with startup carmakers in China, Europe, and the US hoping to copy Tesla's EV success. In the coming decades, suppliers, carmakers, and tech firms are expected to increase investment, encourage innovations, and put in more work in building smart vehicles. As traditional OEMs speed up restructuring their business, startup carmakers are struggling to raise production.
Chip giant Intel released a statement on December 6, announcing it intends to take its autonomous driving tech unit Mobileye to IPO in mid-2022. Though it stressed that Intel will remain the largest shareholder and continue a strategic alliance with Mobileye, critics see strong incentives for cashing out for good reasons.
I gave a lecture at the Tsing Hua Entrepreneur Network (TEN) on the transformation of the semiconductor supply chain under climate change, followed by another speaker, Niven Huang, general manager of KPMG Taiwan. Huang and I are both directors at the Monte Jade Science and Technology Association of Taiwan, but we just had a nodding acquaintance with each other. I came to notice that Huang has a PhD in chemical engineering when we exchanged business cards. This made me very curious and pay serious attention to Huang's lecture.
PSMC chairman Frank Huang has long been known in the IT industry as a very unique personality, or even a cat with nine lives. Huang has plans to invest NT$300 billion (US$10.81 billion) to build an industrial park for the semiconductor industry in the Taiwanese county of Miaoli. But he is planning to build fabs of mature node processes rather than advanced processes like 7nm or 5nm.
When developing its advanced packaging technology, what's TSMC's bigger concern: its own competitiveness or the feelings of other packaging firms? In the past, Intel made motherboards for the purpose of driving Taiwan manufacturers to accelerate the development of their own motherboards. Intel certainly was eyeing the high-margin microprocessors rather than motherboards. If the ecosystem partners are too slow to react, the upstream firms would rather do it on their own. Imposing pressure on downstream makers to influence their operation strategy and mentality is common in the industry.
Acer founder Stan Shih founder has been engaged in the IT industry for 50 years. That's not easy. He deserves our respect not because he is a senior industrial leader but because he has been always optimistic and enthusiastic. I often ask for his advice which always tends to be positive thinking. Rarely have I heard him say, "No chance"!
Countries around the world have all set their goals for a more sustainable future with fewer carbon emissions. Denmark, Sweden, France, the UK, Hungary, and New Zealand have set their carbon neutrality goals in law and are aiming to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net-zero between 2045 and 2050.