According to DIGITIMES Asia Supply Chain 100 (ASC 100) list, tech companies in the "semiconductor" and "electronic components" sectors account for eight out of the top 10 businesses with the highest profit margin in 2021.
Kurt Sievers, president and CEO of NXP Semiconductors, said during his keynote at Computex 2022 that the company is about to complete the development of its new-generation automotive processor built using TSMC's 5nm process technology.
Driven by the shortages of automotive chips, many automakers have embarked on semiconductor development, but they need to tackle multiple challenges such as cost and technical barriers, according to industry sources.
Carmakers are reportedly amassing automotive chips and other parts to prevent further impacts of their shortages. In fiscal 2021 (April 2021 to March 2022), Japan-based Toyota Motor registered a year-on-year growth of inventory assets by 32%, about JPY1 trillion (US$7.73 billion).
China's homegrown high-end autonomous driving chips have seen a significant breakthrough in commercial applications, as Chinese AI chip startup Horizon Robotics has over the past month cut into the supply chains of both BYD and FAW Group with its latest automotive-grade AI processor, Journey 5, designed for L4 autonomous driving, according to industry sources.
The emerging trend of vehicles going electrical and adopting ever-more automotive electronics has not only brought new growth opportunities for the entire automotive industry, but also enabled semiconductor makers to use more of their solutions to solve the resulting technical problems. Texas Instruments (TI), for instance, has recently launched two solid-state relay chips to improve power isolation in EVs.
One month after Tesla recalled more than 120,000 units of its Model 3 in China, allegedly due to defects in rear motor inverters, the real causes of the defects remain unclear. As Tesla is the first carmaker to use silicon carbide (SiC) metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) in commercial cars, the recall has sparked debates about the reliability of SiC - the third-generation semiconductor material that is gaining favor.
Renesas Electronics has announced an integrated automotive ECU virtualization platform that enables designers to integrate multiple applications into a single ECU that are safely and securely separated from each other to avoid interference. The solution enables customers to adopt new electrical-electronic (E/E) architectures using MCU-based zone ECUs supporting multiple logical ECUs on one physical ECU, said the vendor.
International IDMs including Infineon and STMicroelectronics continue stepping up production of automotive, industrial control and networking chips to meet ever-rising demand, outsourcing more backend operations for such chip solutions to partners in Taiwan, according to industry sources.
Taiwan's first-tier IC design houses Novatek Microelectronics and Realtek Semiconductor are seeking more capacity support from foundry partners TSMC and UMC to fulfill new orders from new clients that are bolstering their growth despite a decline in demand for consumer chips, according to industry sources.
Display driver IC (DDI) demand for handsets and other consumer devices has been sluggish and market prospects remain uncertain for the third quarter, prompting DDI makers to switch their supply focus to automotive and niche-market applications, according to industry sources.
Automotive electronics supplier On Semiconductor (Onsemi) has stopped taking orders for insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) at its Shenzhen plant, but some orders might be the result of overbooking, according to industry sources.
Taiwan-based MCU suppliers have seen a gradual pick-up in 32-bit MCU demand for gaming applications since the second quarter, and are optimistic about the overall 32-bit demand for automotive electronics and other non-consumer device applications this year, according to industry sources.