Google’s Chromebook team has come to Taiwan to talk with Acer and Asustek Computer as well as Quanta Computer in a bid to seek cooperation to extend marketing of Chromebooks from the education segment in North America to emerging markets, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. The team is also negotiating plans to ship Chromebooks in the second half of 2015 and 2016, the sources said.
Acer has obtained approval from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs to invest US$5 million to set up a subsidiary specifically for promoting its Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) business in the China market, according to the company. The subsidiary will invest US$4 million to establish a BYOC experiencing center in Chongqing, China. The facility will be the company’s third BYOC center worldwide following ones in Taiwan and the US.
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.
Quanta Computer has become VCE’s exclusive supplier of servers used in its VxRack System, a hyper-converged rack-scale system for private cloud applications unveiled by VCE in early May, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. However, Quanta declined to comment on the report. VCE is a joint venture set up by EMC and Cisco Systems mainly for integrating EMC-developed storage equipment, Cisco-developed servers and VMware-developed virtualization software to provide private cloud computing solutions for enterprise users.
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.
ASUS Malaysia has announced the availability of the ZenFone 2 series at its recent ‘Incredible Zen Day’ consumer event in Kuala Lumpur. ZenFone 2 has a luxurious metallic hairline finish and is 3.9mm at its thinnest edges, and with a 72% screen-to-body ratio, it packs a 5.5-inch screen into a compact body similar in size to most 5-inch smartphones, Asus Malaysia said in a statement. “Our aim in 2015 is to become the No 2 smartphone brand in Malaysia, as we were No 3 last year,” said Asus Malaysia country manager Jimmy Lin, without citing his source.
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.
China-based venture capital firm SummitView Capital may switch its acquisition targets to Macronix International or Winbond Electronics as its attempt to buy US-based memory chip design house Integrated Silicon Solution (ISSI) may block by a tender offer from Cypress Semiconductor, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.
The Taiwan branch of tech giant Microsoft announced its IoT (Internet of Things) partners after its global launch of Azure IoT Suite in mid March, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Commercial Times. Microsoft Taiwan opened the Azure IoT Solutions Lab in Taipei at the end of March. It is a cloud solution laboratory that aims at helping enterprises to store and analyze a large amount of data from millions of end-user devices through the Azure IoT Suite.
HONG KONG: Taiwan has ordered Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao to withdraw from the island within six months for violating investment rules required for a Chinese company, Chinese and Taiwanese media have said. Taobao has been fined T$240,000 ($7,860) and must withdraw or transfer its holdings from its operation in Taiwan, China’s Xinhua news agency and Taiwan’s Economic Daily News quoted the island’s investment commission as saying. Taobao and the commission could not immediately be reached for comment.
Microsoft has launched three smartphones, the Lumia 640 LTE, Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM and Lumia 430 Dual SIM, in the Taiwan market, targeting the entry-level to mid-range segment. The Lumia 640 LTE sports a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU, 5-inch HD display, 8-megapixel camera and a 2500mAh battery, priced at NT$6,990 (US$229) unlocked.
MediaTek’s recently-introduced Helio X20 SoC series for high-end smartphones has reportedly received positive feedback from international smartphone vendors. MediaTek’s new 10-core chip solutions will likely attract orders from the company’s existing clients including Sony, LG Electronics, HTC, ZTE, Lenovo and Meizu, according to industry sources. Huawei and Xiaomi have also expressed interest in MediaTek’s Helio X20 chips, said the sources.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reportedly has landed SSD controller chip orders from Apple, in addition to recent orders from Marvell Technology and Phison Electronics, according to industry sources. TSMC will utilize a 28nm process to fabricate the controller chips for Apple, widening TSMC’s market share against rival foundry houses including United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Globalfoundries in the segment, said the sources.
Taiwan server players such as Inventec, Mitac International and AIC are optimistic about China’s server market and have been accelerating their expansion into the market, while Quanta Computer is reportedly planning to form a deeper relationship with China-based server vendor Inspur and Wiwynn will start promoting its latest server products in China.
Taiwan-based Acer is looking to export its cloud computing services to other countries and has targeted China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines as it looks for local system integrators for cooperation. Acer’s president of Pan-Asia Pacific Regional Operation Oliver Ahrens noted that the company is developing fast in both China and India and has already seen progress in a few cases in Malaysia. Acer’s president of Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) business Maverick Shih pointed out that the business has three major product lines: cloud computing services, which the company is aggressively looking to export; Internet of things (IoT); and Acer Octon, the telecom solution unit. The company is also seeing strong orders for related solutions.
The Taiwan unit of Yahoo on Thursday unveiled a new feature that allows buyers to search for and purchase a product, using a photo of it. The new feature called Image Search will be added to Yahoo’s Super Mall app by the end of the year and will include products ranging from bottled drinks to clothing and health foods, said Jacky Wang, vice president of the e-commerce group at Yahoo Taiwan and Hong Kong. Super Mall users will also be able to review movies and book tickets using a photo of the movie poster, Wang said, demonstrating the feature at Yahoo’s e-commerce forum in Taipei.
FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry, said Wednesday that the company will work with a Chinese photo software developer to penetrate emerging Southeast Asian countries and India. FIH said that it is planning to set up a joint venture with China-based smartphone photo software developer Meitu, taking aim at the booming smartphone markets in Southeast Asia and India.
Through intensified cooperation with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and MediaTek, semiconductor IP provider ARM performed well in 2014, seeing its clients ship over 12 billion units of ARM-based SoCs and over 550 million units of Mali-based GPUs, mostly to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Simon Segars, CEO of ARM, made a visit to Taiwan recently where he held talks with TSMC chairman Morris Chang about future cooperation on the next-generation 16nm and 10nm processes.