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Friday 7 May 2021
Highlights of the day: Negative factors from IC shortages begin to show
Because of worsening shortages of ICs and components, downstream ICT product makers are expected to decelerate their paces in specs upgrades for their new products as their upstream partners will not have enough capacity to support them. Meanwhile the issue will also constrain MCU vendors' revenues as they are experiencing longer delivery lead times from their foundries and backend service providers. As demand from cryptomining applications remains strong, many chip vendors have turned to adopt BT substrates for cryptomining chips as ABF substrates are currently having serious shortages.
Thursday 6 May 2021
Highlights of the day: Foxconn-Yageo JV targets small ICs
EMS giant Foxconn, taking a step further in its transformation, has formed a joint venture with passive component maker Yageo for the development and sales of what they call "small ICs" - semiconductor chips with ASP lower than US$2.00. Meanwhile, TSMC has seen orders from Bitmain pick up for 5nm chips used in cryptomining. TSMC is also expected to make 6nm processors for Sony's redesigned PS5 games console.
Wednesday 5 May 2021
Highlights of the day: White-box server demand growing fast
Demand for white-box servers from datacenter operators has been growing fast, with Taiwanese ODM's shipments already accounting for more than one third of the world's total server shipments in 2020, according to Digitimes Research's latest Server Tracker quarterly report. Earlier this year, foundry house VIS set its 2021 capex budget at NT$5 billion, a sharp increase from last yea's level. Now it has raised the capex budget further to NT$8 billion to fund its capacity expansion. With persistently strong demand for ICs, silicon wafer supplier GloabalWafers expects sales momentum to remain robust through 2023.
Tuesday 4 May 2021
Highlights of the day: Packaging materials in severe shortage
Backend service providers face as much as a 50% shortage of packaging materials from until June as a result of production issues at Japanese suppliers. MediaTek is prioritizing shipments for 5G chips, telling its Chinese handset clients that it is cutting output for 4G offerings amid tight foundry supply. Despite tight foundry capacity, TSMC has promised more support for the car industry. Demand for automotive chip probing services is expected to stay brisk throughout the year.
Monday 3 May 2021
Highlights of the day: Demand for TSMC 28nm process remains strong
Sony's CIS orders may have failed to materialize, but strong demand from other major clients have quickly filled the gap that would have been occupied by the Japanese vendor at TSMC. Persistently tight supply in the semiconductor sector has sent IC substrate suppliers looking to expand capacity. But some major Taiwanese suppliers are asking AMD to fund new lines that would cater to the client alone. In the notebook market, global shipments are expected to exceed 62 million units in second-quarter 2021, driven by gaming and education devices.
Friday 30 April 2021
Highlights of the day: Component makers still enjoy strong order visibility
Price of passive component may further increase in the third quarter of 2021 as shortages remain fierce, while visibility of orders from 5G handset, notebook, networking and automotive applications stays strong. Meanwhile, Apacer is planning to keep its chip inventory at high levels since its order visibility is still clear through May. Win Semiconductors also expects strong demand for power amplifier from 5G and Wi-Fi 6E applications with the orders to boost its revenues in the second half of 2021.
Friday 30 April 2021
VC, startup ecosystem expansions: Q&A with AppWorks founder Jamie Lin
AppWorks, the largest venture capital (VC) firm in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, manages three VC funds with a total asset of US$212 million after 10 years of efforts. Not only has the firm reached profitability, but it has also incubated an accumulated total of 56 startups, including four successful IPOs, one centicorn (worth over US$100 billion), one decacorn (worth over US$10 billion), one unicorn and six centaurs (worth over US$100 million). The entire ecosystem is made up of 400 active startups reaching an estimated total worth exceeding US$10 billion, employing 17,000 professionals and generating annual revenue of US$8 billion.
Thursday 29 April 2021
Highlights of the day: UMC, VIS announce foundry capacity expansion plans
Both UMC and VIS have just announced their respective foundry capacity expansions plans. UMC, with support from some of its major clients, will invest NT$100 billion to expand its 12-inch fab site in southen Taiwan. And VIS will take up an AUO LCD line in Taiwan for NT$905 million and convert it into an 8-inch wafer fab. In the semiconductor backend sector, ASE Technology Holding is raising its capex budget for 2021 to fund capacity expansion.
Thursday 29 April 2021
Canadian firm Solace to power smart manufacturing and IoT in Taiwan
Massive demand for rapid, secure, and stable transmission of data and information in the age of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 is attracting solution providers to seek opportunities in the manufacturing space. Solace, a middleware solution provider founded in 2001 in Ottawa, Canada, also has its eyes set on the manufacturing sector in Taiwan, and is expanding its business in the market.
Wednesday 28 April 2021
Highlights of the day: Component shortages continue to affect ICT supply chain
The ICT supply chain continues to be influenced by serious component shortages and UMC is now looking to have its major clients to enter into 3-year supply agreement. Meanwhile, LCD panel supply is expected to grow worse as some key component suppliers such as Corning and AUO are set to perform annual maintenance in the near future. Kinsus' capacity is expected to increase by 30% in 2021 to satisfy growing orders from clients.
Tuesday 27 April 2021
Highlights of the day: Intel striving to fend off AMD in server market
Intel's overall sales for first-quarter 2021 were flat but revenues from its datacenter business dropped 20% on year, seriously undermining the chip giant's profitability. Intel has now released its third-generation 10nm Xeon datacenter processors codenamed Ice Lake to bolster its market leadership. The release of the new processors is expected to trigger a wave of replacement demand, and server ODMs are looking forward to double-digit growths in shipments in second-quarter 2021. Meanwhile, MCU supplier Holtek has disclosed its dlivery lead times have stretched to more than six months due to tight supply at foundry and backend houses.
Monday 26 April 2021
Highlights of the day: Cryptominers scramble for large-capacity SSDs
The crytopmining fever is sweeping across China where miners are buying out all large-capacity SSDs available on the spot market ahead of the start of trading of the new crypto coin Chia. Supply of SSDs has been constrained by shortage of controller ICs. NAND flash device controller and module supplier Phison Electronics recently has raised its product prices again. Meanwhile, Taiwan's top LCD panel makers, AUO and Innolux, are optimistic about miniLED applications.
Friday 23 April 2021
Highlights of the day: TSMC to expand capacity in China
TSMC has allocated a budget of almost of US$3 billion for expanding capacity of mature process technology. But until the capacity comes on line, mature process capacity will remain tight throught at least year-end 2022. Tight foundry capacity, along with rising quotes for fab services and materials, has been disrupting order placements by IC designers. MCU vendor Holtek has recently stopped taking orders from clients for 2022 until it gets a clearer picture of the size of foundry support it will get. The EV market is picking up momentum fast. Taiwan-based electric scooter vendor, Gogoro, which has seen significant success in the local market, is entering India by striking up a partnership with Hero MotoCorp.
Thursday 22 April 2021
Highlights of the day: TSMC sees strong demand for 5nm process
Strong demand from major clients has prompted TSMC to raise its output from its 5nm manufacturing process. The pure-play foundry house is expected to process up to 150,000 wafers monthly at the 5nm node through the end of the year. Morris Chang considers Samsung a strong competitor of the company he founded, but is skeptical about Intel's bid to expand its presence in the foundry sector. Apple has just unveiled its new miniLED-backlit iPad Pro devices powered by M1 chip. Shipments for the new devices are expected to reach 11 million units in 2021.
Wednesday 21 April 2021
Highlights of the day: UMC foundry quotes to rise sharply in 2022
Taiwan-based pure-play foundry house UMC has told clients that it will raise manufacturing quotes in 2022. Some mature segments at UMC will see at least a 40% rise in foundry quotes. Some IC designers, such as Phison and Silicon Motion, who are keen on securing supply, have already placed orders with their foundry partners for 2022. Singapore is well-known for its service and finance sectors, but it has ambitions to play a bigger role in manufacturing in Southeast Asia. Yip Wei Kiat, Singapore's trade representative in Taipei, told Digitimes in a recent interview how his country can be a gateway for manfacturers seeking to invest in ASEAN.