The National Security Commission Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) of the US has made recommendations on the competitive relationship between American and Chinese high-tech industries, noting that China is even ahead of the US in artificial intelligence (AI), and that the only remedy for the US will come from "computing power," which is enabled by semiconductors.
In line with the country's bid to improve semiconductor self-sufficiency, China-based PCB maker Shennan Circuits has made plans to invest almost US$1 billion in building ABF substrate production lines. In Korea, Samsung is unlikely to move 3nm GAA process to volume production until 2023, according to Digitimes Research. In the US, Compal has disclosed a plan to fully acquire production facilities in Indiana from a subsidiary of Cal-Comp Thailand for making car electronics.
The demand for smart metering and asset tracking solutions is growing. Many countries are adopting many smart techs, especially IoT solutions, to optimize energy consumption and to well manage buildings and facilities. In light of these trends, IoT startup UnaBiz, based in Taiwan and Singapore, developed IoT solutions on smart water/power/gas meters as well as smart tracking of assets and people, for smart management in buildings and industrial/commercial facilities, according to the company's Taiwan managing director Carter Ho at a Digitimes interview.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has been maneuvering a lot lately. The tech-savvy CEO is determined to redefine technical specifications as a strategic resolution to break the deadlock in competition. The planned ramp-up of two new fabs in Arizona in 2024 is a rarely seen massive investment of US$20 billion for Intel in recent years. This is an indispensable investment plan for Intel, in consideration of its meager share of 6% of the world's 12-inch wafer fab capacity.
IC shortage is disrupting production at many industry sectors amid tight foundry capacity. PC makers have disclosed that short supply of small ICs is expected to persist through 2022. Taiwan's MOSFET vendors have seen orders from clients rising rapidly, prompting them to ask their foundry partners to increase manufacturing support. In the IT sector, Taiwan's ODMs are keen on entering the automotive field, seeking to reduce their reliance on the PC market.
Industry 4.0 is no longer a new concept, but there are always some parts of the manufacturing process that are so difficult to automate, including quality management or quality assurance (QA). Relimetrics is a startup that offers full-stack computer vision and machine learning software for quality audit, process control and predictive maintenance in Industry 4.0 applications, according to company founder and CEO Kemal Levi. In a recent interview, Levi shared with DIGITIMES about his vision of Relimetrics' role to play in the Industry 5.0 era and their solutions for high-precision QA automation.
In addition to the rise of Chinese manufacturers in recent years, there are some EMS firms from countries in ASEAN. The amount of international news coverage on their business practices is relatively limited. To give our readers a general grip on these manufacturers, we will give a snapshot of their recent business initiatives.
Apple has been the biggest client for TSMC, accounting for over 20% of the foundry's house' revenues. Quanta Computer is seeing weakening demand from the education sector for Chromebooks, which will result in declines in the ODM's overall notebook shipments in third-quarter 2021. The promising EV industry is prompting many companies to jump onto the bandwagon, and the MIH open EV development platform looks attractive to many Taiwanese IC design houses.
The car industry is going through unprecedented changes that are led by government policies on renewable energy and by innovative development of electrified smart driving and shared rides (namely connectivity, autonomous, sharing/subscription and electrification; or CASE). The world's car sales have been dropping mildly every year since 2018, but sales of electric vehicles (EV) have been growing. According to International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), EV sales reached 2.963 million cars in 2020, rising 46.3% on year. It's expected to continue rising every year.
Since Taiwan launched its New Southbound Policy, Taiwanese enterprises seem to be working all on their own when investing in Southeast Asia and India. But who are their competitors? There seems to be little help available that could inform their new deployment strategies from a Taiwan perspective, so we are now trying to provide that kind of help.
With a huge population of 1.37 billion people, a high demographic dividend, and generous subsidies for electric vehicles (EV) from both the central and state governments, India is expected to increase EV penetration rate from 1% to 10% by 2025.
The semiconductor sector has seen supply fall far short of demand, with equilibrium unlikely to be restored until 2023 when new production capacity comes online. Until then, semiconductor firms will continue to see impressive sales. Many companies, such as semiconductor backend house ASE and notebook ODM Compal have alreay warned that IC shortages will remain a major challenge in 2022.
Car chip supply has improved thanks to more support from foundry houses. But automotive chip shortage will still last for some time. Notebook ODMs may have reported significant results for the second quarter, but their component suppliers' profits have been dented by rising material costs. Asustek sees strong order visibility, but its PC shipments will lag behind demand due to component shortages.
TSMC is expected to move the 3nm node to volume production in second-half 2022 to mainly cater to orders from Apple, but other clients may have to wait some moe time before the foundry can provide them with its most advanced manufacturing service. DRAM contract prices are still rising in third quarter of 2021, but they are expected to stay flat or drop slightly in the fourth quarter. The EV market is picking up momentum faster than expected, according ot speakers at the "Asia Venturing (II): Tech-Driven Mobility" event, co-organized by DIGITIMES and Anchor Taiwan.
Global server shipments in the second quarter of 2021 saw a smaller sequential increase than Digitimes Research's estimated 14%, up only 9% from a quarter ago, due mainly to shortages of components such as ICs.