Despite speculation circulating in the supply chain that notebook shipments may start falling in 2022, brand vendors such as Dell and Asustek Computer remain optimistic about their notebook sales growth next year.
Given the ballpark yearly volume of about 200 million units for the notebook market, estimated worldwide shipment of 238 million units in 2021 outperforming 2020 by 19% is a rarely seen booming record for laptop. According to DIGITIMES Research's survey, notebook shipments reached 57.5 million units in first quarter of 2021, and 60 million units in the second quarter, and they will arrive at 62 million units in the third quarter, but will relapse to 58.1 million units in the final quarter.
Foxconn is stepping up its effort in the semiconductor industry and began installing equipment for packaging high-end ICs at plants in China, while Chromebook shipments will experience a major drop, due to weakening demand from the end market. Seeing demand for memory products is still rising, Macronix is planning to expand its 12-inch fab by investing NT$41.5 billion.
The supply chain makers of Chromebooks reportedly have experienced a significant cutback of orders from their brand clients due to the dwindling demand for notebook products in the end market, according to industry sources.
Some 38% of semiconductor market share is contributed by computing products, and around 32% from communication products. Notebooks, desktops and servers are major categories of computing products, with notebooks being the biggest of them all. Getting a good grip on notebook industry trends can give a good grasp of the bigger picture about the business climate of the computing sectors.
Texas Instrutments has given a less optimistic outlook for the third quarter of 2021, but industry sources have claimed that TI still sees prolonged lead times. TSMC has disclosed it is in early talks with clients about the feasibility of constructing a fab in Germany, and industry observers say such a fab could be a boost to Europe's car supply chain. DIGITIMES Asia president Colley Hwang has just published the first of his latest series of analysis of the global IT supply chain.
After the peak of component crunch in the second quarter along with insufficient inventory in the third quarter, stress of stagnant deliverables on the highway seems to have been relieved. A consensus of the supply chain is to let the manufacturers breathe. The fourth quarter is in line with the traditional off-season, and the days should be easier. From foundries to IC design houses, Taiwanese manufacturers are in the limelight now. DIGITIMES Asia has noted in its reports that the foundry sector is now a seller's market with strong demand to last in end of 2022. Such messages are based on dynamic changes in demand-supply status of IT industry from the most upstream of the supply chain. Component shortages and component cannibalization require long-term rolling tracking. DIGITIMES Asia has been making dynamic adjustments to its views in line with rolling forecasts.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, at an online investors conference, has pointed out that he expects PC total available market (TAM) to grow all the way to 2022, despite the pandemic being gradually contained, corresponding to the views of several executives at Taiwanese ODMs, according to some market observers.
The industrial production index in Taiwan increased 18.37% in June 2021, compared with the same month in 2020. The annual production index by some major industrial divisions is as follows: manufacturing increased 20.20%, mining & quarrying decreased 5.11%, electricity & gas supply decreased 0.29%; water supply decreased 4.39%, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Demand from the car sector has been strong, and foundry houses are stepping up efforts to rolling out more automotive chips. Apple's manufacturing partners are seeing COVID-induced disruptions to their production in Vietnam, and will have to move poduction of new-gen AirPods to China. And in China, construction of 5G base stations is slowing down this year.
Luxshare Precision Industry and Goertek, reportedly assemblers for the new-generation AirPods, have seen their factory sites in Vietnam affected by a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak locally and will have to fulfill orders for Apple's upcoming TWS earbuds at their plants in China, according to industry sources.
Shipments of flexible PCBs (FPCB) and SiP modules for use in the next-generation AirPods have kicked off in small volumes, and will be scaled up between late third-quarter and fourth-quarter 2021, according to industry sources at the upstream supply chain of the AirPods.
Acer and Asustek Computer are both expected to see their notebook sales register another increase of about 10% in 2022, while some ODMs have also expressed optimism about the overall notebook sales judging from the one-year supply agreements brand companies have already struck with them, according to industry sources.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has gradually been put under control, notebook ODMs still see their clients placing long-term orders, extending their order visibility beyond the fourth quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, Epistar and China-based Sanan have both entered into Samsung's mini/microLED chip supply chain and will begin delivery in the second half. Prices of MCUs will continue to rise through the end of 2021 as the supply of the chips will be undermined by nationwide lockdown in Malaysia and reduced support from Chinese foundries.
PCB manufacturers engaged in the notebook, tablet and other PC industry supply chain continue to see their shipments constrained by shortages of various chips in varying degrees, which may persist through the second half of this year, according to industry sources.
China, which has been relying heavily on semiconductor imports, is keen to improve it IC self-sufficiency. But DIGITIMES Asia president Colley Hwang thinks the key for China is to keep the momentum for its economic growth. Apple reportedly will introduce the third-generation iPhone SE series in first-half 2022 adopting A14 Bionic, creating opportunities for its semiconductor supply chain. Thanks to WFH deeds, MIS has expects its shipments for IT devices to stay strong in 2021.
As wafer foundries are preparing for the next stage of competition, TSMC chairman Mark Liu has given out some details about the company's investments in the US during an investor conference. Meanwhile, Intel is rumored to consider buying Globalfoundries, eyeing for its capacity, but sources from Taiwan's upstream supply chain believe the move is unlikely. On the other hand, Chromebook shipments may slip 50% between July and August, as demand from the education sector will begin to fade.
Time-lapse camera maker Brinno has obtained ODM orders from US-based ruggedized device makers for time-lapse camera modules equipped with Brinno's in-house-developed ICs, with shipments for such orders scheduled until the end of 2022, according to the company.