Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will remain the major processor supplier for Apple in the second half of 2015 as the foundry will supply 20nm chips for an upcoming 6C model and 16nm FinFET chips for 6S models, according to industry sources. TSMC is reportedly the sole supplier of processors for Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which industry observers believe are the best selling iPhone models of all time. Strong demand for the 6 and 6 Plus has boosted TSMC’s sales generated from 20nm process technology.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is expected to post revenue growth of 0-5% sequentially in the second quarter of 2015, buoyed mainly by rising output for 20nm chips, according to industry sources. Strong sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will allow TSMC to enjoy a particularly strong first quarter, said the sources. As a result of the high base recorded for the first quarter, TSMC’s sales for the second quarter will register a modest sequential gain unlike the double-digit increases usually seen in the same quarter in previous years, the sources noted.
MediaTek’s first-quarter 2015 revenues are likely to only meet the low-end of the company’s guidance, due mainly to disappointing sales of entry-level and mid-range smartphones, according to industry sources. However, MediaTek is expected to post revenue growth of 10-20% sequentially in the second quarter of 2015, buoyed by rising shipments for 4G smartphones, said the sources. Shipments of the company’s 4G smartphone chips will climb to more than 10-12 million units a month in the second quarter, up from 7-8 million units in the first quarter, the sources indicated.
Qualcomm, which is believed to have lost processor orders for the Galaxy S6 series smartphones from Samsung Electronics, is vying for orders for the upcoming Galaxy Note 5, according to industry sources. The recently-introduced Galaxy S6 flagship smartphones are powered by Samsung-designed Exynos processors, and did not come with two versions as what the previous-generation Galaxy S4 has, the sources said.
Samsung Electronics had talks with MediaTek over cooperation in the second half of 2014 and MediaTek is expected to become an application processor (AP) supplier of Samsung’s smartphones in the second half of 2015 at the soonest to help fill up the gap in the Korea-based vendor’s product lineup. After Broadcom quit the smartphone AP business, Samsung has turned to Marvell for replacement and partnered with China-based Spreadtrum to acquire AP solutions for its lower-end smartphone product lines.
Cadence Design Systems and Intel have delivered a 14nm library characterization reference flow for customers of Intel Custom Foundry, continuing their collaboration on enabling digital and custom/analog flows for the Intel 14nm platform, according to the companies. The library characterization reference flow is centered on the Cadence Virtuoso Liberate Characterization solution and Spectre Circuit Simulator and enables accurate 14nm logic libraries.
TAIPEI — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to win the majority of orders from Apple Inc. for next-generation A9 chips that will be used in new iPhones, as its production processes are faster than rival Samsung Electronics Co., according to an Asia-based brokerage firm. “Market disputes over how many A9 (chip) orders TSMC would gain from Apple against Samsung are coming to an end, in our opinion,” the brokerage firm said, adding that TSMC’s manufacturing processes were superior.
Samsung Electronics struck another major chip deal with Apple with an estimated monetary value of “billions of dollars,” helping Samsung further strengthen its chip business. The latest agreement is calling for Samsung Electronics to sell its latest solid state drive (SSD) storage devices using its V-NAND technology to Apple’s new range of ultra-slim and high-end notebook models, two people directly involved with the deal told The Korea Times, Friday.
TAIPEI — Nanya Technology Corp. (南亞科), one of Taiwan’s leading dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip suppliers, has decided to seek a strategic partnership to secure new investment in the development of the company’s high-end technology process. Nanya intends to spend NT$40 billion (US$1.27 billion) over the next two to three years to develop the sophisticated 20 nanometer process and plans to raise NT$10 billion to NT$20 billion of that through a rights issue and strategic partnership later this year.
DRAM chipmaker Nanya Technology plans to invest a total of NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion) to transition its production to a 20nm process node, according to company president Charles Kau. The investment will be made over a period of 2-3 years, said Kau. Nanya will initially have half of its overall production capacity enter 20nm production, Kau noted. Nanya currently runs a 12-inch wafer fab capable of producing 60,000 units a month.
TAIPE–Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek Inc. (聯發科) may benefit from exports of Chinese smartphones this year as more Chinese handset brands prepare to expand overseas, according to a U.S. based brokerage. In a research note written after the recently concluded Mobile World Congress show, the brokerage said the number of small smartphone brands in China continues to increase as they have set their sights on selling more phones in overseas markets.
Hermes Microvision (HMI), which provides electron beam (e-beam) inspection tools and solutions for the production of semiconductors, expects its sales to increase 25-35% in 2015 thanks to strong demand for advanced-node manufacturing. Logic semiconductor manufacturers are gearing up for technology transition to a 1Xnm process, while memory chipmakers continue to advance their production nodes and are looking to adopt 3D production techniques, said HMI CEO Jack Chao at a recent investors meeting.
Competition by foundry houses in China and Taiwan on specialty BSI (backside illuminated) technology is heating up after China-based SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International) announced recently that it is ready to fabricate CMOS image sensors using a 0.13-micron BSI process, according to industry sources. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) both have been using a BSI process to produce chips used in an array of consumer electronics products including smartphones and tablets, said the sources, adding that the process can also produce chips for telematics devices, industrial equipment and high-end monitors.
The production value of Taiwan’s IC design industry will rise 13.1% in 2015, thanks mainly to continued-strong demand coming from the smartphone sector, according to Digitimes Research. The output from MediaTek, Taiwan’s largest IC design house, will remain a key contributor for the island’s overall IC design industry output value in 2015, Digitimes Research suggested. MediaTek specializes in SoC designs for smartphones and tablets.
TAIPEI–Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC台積電) and MediaTek Inc.(聯發科) moved up in a ranking of top research and development spenders in the semiconductor industry, according to a report released Tuesday by market research firm IC Insights. TSMC’s 15 percent R&D spending increase in 2014, along with a decline in spending at Toshiba Corp. and STMicroelectronics NV, helped the Taiwanese company climb two slots to fifth place in the annual ranking.
Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek published its financial report for the fourth quarter and the entire year of 2014. According to the report, the company achieved operating revenue of NTD213.063 billion, which was about CNY42.3 billion, in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 56.6%; and it achieved net profit of NTD46.399 billion, which was about CNY9.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 68.8%.
Output value for the global IC foundry industry is forecast to reach US$54.8 billion in 2015, up 12% from US$49 billion in 2014, according to Digitimes Research. IC demand for 4G smartphones will fuel the foundry sector’s 12% output value growth in 2015, despite several unfavorable factors such as decelerating tablet sales, the continued-slow growth in PC shipments, and an overall slowdown in the growth of smartphone shipments, said Digitimes Research.
Samsung Electronics began mass production of DRAM memory using 20nm process technology in 2014. The node technology will be adopted by the vendor for more than 50% of its overall DRAM output in 2015, according to industry sources. Meanwhile, fellow DRAM companies SK Hynix and Micron Technology are both gearing up for their technology transition to 20nm in 2015, said the sources. Nevertheless, the actual output of 20nm chips from the two vendors will depend on the development of their production yield rates.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited announced on its website that the company will invest over NTD500 billion, which is about USD15.9 billion, to build a new plant to meet the ever-growing demands for chips. The new plant will be located in Central Taiwan Science Park and it is currently undergoing an environmental impact assessment.
Samsung Electronics has started mass-producing mobile processor chips using a finer 14-nanometer FinFET technology, which will dramatically strengthen its semiconductor productivity. “Samsung is ready to ship Exynos 7 Octa mobile application processors to our major clients. This chip is the industry’s first to be produced using a 14-nanometer FinFET process on a three-dimensional (3D) transistor structure,” Samsung said in a statement.