Digi Times — MediaTek has posted a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) stating it was not the source of a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report indicating the company is considering a merger with Nvidia. MediaTek added it does not comment on market rumors.
Digi Times — The global cellular baseband processor market registered a strong 27% on-year increase to reach US$5.8 billion in the first quarter of 2015, according to Strategy Analytics. The market was led by Qualcomm, which grabbed a 61% share, followed by MediaTek with a 18% share and Spreadtrum with 7%, said Strategy Analytics. Samsung and Marvell rounded out the top-five cellular baseband processor suppliers.
Digi Times — Wuhan, Hubei province will likely be chosen to develop China’s home-grown DRAM industry, according to DRAMeXchange. Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing (XMC), a local 12-inch foundry, will serve as the main production base for DRAM. Wuhan is set to beat out five other candidates for China’s DRAM production hub, said DRAMeXchange.
Digital News Asia — IT is estimated that the elderly population (above 64 years of age) in Singapore will reach 600,000 by 2020 and 900,000 by 2030. It’s no wonder then that using technology to improve the lives of senior citizens is a key area of focus for the country’s Smart Nation initiative. One such solution was demonstrated by MediaTek and Hutcabb Consulting at the IoT Asia Exhibition and Conference back in April – an ‘Elderly Care System’ which focuses on fall detection and assistance.
Digi Times — Global DRAM module sales totaled US$8.8 billion in 2014, up 21% from US$7.3 billion a year earlier, thanks to more stable prices for PC DRAM as well as a rising ratio of contract sales, according to DRAMeXchange. DRAM prices held steady throughout 2014, said DRAMeXchange. Contract prices for 4Gb DDR3 chips came to US$3.65 on average, representing an 18% increase over US$3.10 in 2013.
The recent announcement by China-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) to form a joint venture with Huawei, Qualcomm and Belgium-based microelectronics research institute IMEC to develop and produce advanced semiconductors could be another milestone for China’s goal of ramping up the local production of IC parts.
Want China Times — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chip maker, is expected to secure more than half the orders for Apple’s new mobile chip in 2016 thanks to better production capacity planning. “The Taiwanese manufacturer has a clearer roadmap for capacity planning next year, so we expect it to gain a higher market share next year,” an analysts at a European brokerage told CNA in a recent interview, referring to more than 50% of the orders for Apple’s A10 chips in 2016.
Digi Times — Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC), China’s top foundry chipmaker, has announced plans to form a joint venture with Huawei, Qualcomm, and nano-electronics research institute Imec. The JV company, dubbed SMIC Advanced Technology Research & Development (Shanghai), will focus on R&D to build advanced CMOS technologies and establish China’s home-grown 14nm and beyond process technologies.
China has begun to implement its investment plans aiming to boost development of the local semiconductor industry, and will inject a total of CNY600 billion (US$19.4 billion) into the industry over the next five years, according to industry sources. Almost 70% of the investment fund will be poured into the IC manufacturing and equipment sectors, with a focus on promoting locally produced logic chips, DRAM and NAND flash memory, said the sources. A group of logic chipmakers led by Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) has benefited from the first phase of investment, the sources observed.
Mergers and acquisitions remain an effective strategy for chipmakers to be bigger to compete in the global marketplace, according to MediaTek chairman MK Tsai. For any chipmakers aiming for the global market, to enhance their worldwide competitiveness as timely and as efficiently as possible has become a top priority. While continuing to upgrade and move into producing higher value-added products, Taiwan-based IC firms would also like to receive support from the government such as positive incentives, Tsai indicated.
TSMC is dedicated to providing foundry services for logic IC providers worldwide, and mergers in the industry will have little impact on the foundry’s operations, said company chairman Morris Chang in response to media queries on Altera’s recent announcement of being acquired by Intel. Many market observers consider that Intel’s acquisition of Altera, which makes use of TSMC’s foundry services, may have an adverse impact on TSMC.
Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek confirmed on Monday it is developing a mobile chip for use in low-cost laptops running on Google’s Chrome operating system. The new chip is expected to hit the market by the end of this year or early next year, MediaTek president CJ Hsieh said at the company’s media and analyst cocktail party at Computex Taipei, the world’s second-largest computer trade show. MediaTek will count multiple major manufacturers of Chromebooks as its clients when their new laptops are released, said Hsieh, who cautioned that the company’s customer base in the Chromebook market would be limited initially.
TSMC is confident that the company will beat Samsung Electronics in ramping up production on its 10nm lines, according to the Taiwan-based foundry. TSMC continued that in the 10nm FinFET race, Intel will be its major competitor. Samsung disclosed during a recent technology forum in the US that the company plans to enter mass production of chips using its 10nm FinFET process by the end of 2016, about the same time as TSMC.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is scheduled to establish a 10nm pilot line at its 12-inch wafer plant in Hsinchu (Fab 12), northern Taiwan, in June, according to a recent Economic Daily News (EDN) report. TSMC with its 10nm FinFET node is eyeing orders for Apple’s A10 SoC chips, but Samsung Electronics will also be involved in the race for orders, the report said.
Samsung Electronics has stepped up purchases of IC parts from its Taiwan-based suppliers, including Himax Technologies, Richtek Technology and Silergy, according to industry sources. Silergy has extended its partnership with Samsung, through providing LCD driver ICs, power management ICs (PMICs) for handsets, and most recently, PMICs for SSDs IC suppliers, the sources said. Orders placed by Samsung buoyed Silergy’s revenues and profits over the past three years, the sources indicated.
Qualcomm may not serve as one of the top-five clients for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in the second half of 2015 as the US-based chipmaker has placed more 14nm orders with Samsung Electronics, while giving more 28nm orders to United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), according to industry sources. Qualcomm’s decision may aim to reduce its reliance on TSMC and to avoid its previous experience of not being able to gain enough 28nm foundry capacity from TSMC, the sources noted.
TSMC will reportedly manufacture fingerprint sensors for use in the next-generation iPhone series at its 12-inch wafer fabs using 65nm process technology, according to industry sources. In response, TSMC said the company does not talk about any customer engagements. For existing iPhone models, fingerprint sensors are being built using TSMC’s 0.18-micron process at the foundry’s 8-inch facilities, the sources noted.
After less-than-stellar market growth in 2013, the market for power management semiconductors surged in 2014. Even after a seasonal revenue decline of roughly 5% in the fourth quarter of 2014, global power semiconductor market revenues grew nearly 7%, according to IHS. Demand was particularly strong for power semiconductors in the automotive and industrial end markets, said IHS. Increased demand was led by an increase in power semiconductors used in powertrain, infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) applications in automotive applications.
Xiaomi, which uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC for its Note-series smartphones, will likely switch back to MediaTek for its flagship smartphones, according to industry sources. Xiaomi uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC for its latest flagship series – Mi Note – compared to the company’s previous flagship models utilizing MediaTek’s solutions. Nevertheless, MediaTek with its recently-unveiled 10-core chip, the Helio X20, is expected to attract orders from Xiaomi, the sources said.
Taiwan’s major IC foundries will see their combined revenues decrease 4.5% sequentially in the second quarter of 2015, according to Digitimes Research. Weaker-than-expected smartphone shipments as well as downward pressure on the world economy have prompted many of IC suppliers to continue adjusting their inventory levels.