Tight capacity and strong demand have been sending foundry service quotes rising. UMC has plans to raise its 28nm process quotes by almost 13% in July, and will adjust them upwards again in first-quarter 2022. MediaTek has received sufficient support from TSMC, and the chip vendor is also looking to employ the foundry house's advanced InFO_PoP packaging technology for new handset chips. Notebook panel prices have also been rising, and the upward pricing trend is expected to continue through the end of 2021.
Niche-market memory IC design house Elite Semiconductor Memory Technology (ESMT) saw its net profit climb over 100% on both sequential and on-year bases to NT$645 million (US$23.22 million) in the first quarter of 2021.
NAND flash device controller and module supplier Phison Electronics saw its cumulative 2021 revenue through April increase about 9% on year to NT$17.98 billion (US$647.5 million), higher than those generated during the same period in previous years.
MediaTek is developing new flagship handset SoCs with performance specs comparable to Apple's A series APs for iPhones, and may also adopt TSMC's advanced InFO_PoP packaging technology for the new chips, according to industry sources.
Because of worsening shortages of ICs and components, downstream ICT product makers are expected to decelerate their paces in specs upgrades for their new products as their upstream partners will not have enough capacity to support them. Meanwhile the issue will also constrain MCU vendors' revenues as they are experiencing longer delivery lead times from their foundries and backend service providers. As demand from cryptomining applications remains strong, many chip vendors have turned to adopt BT substrates for cryptomining chips as ABF substrates are currently having serious shortages.
Specialty DRAM and flash chipmaker Winbond Electronics has reported net profits jumped 350% sequentially to NT$1.59 billion (US$56.8 million) in the first quarter, with EPS reaching a 10-quarter high of NT$0.40.
As shortages of ICs and other components are expected to worsen further in the peak season, downstream system makers are expected to slow down specs upgrades for their new offerings set for launch in the second half of the year, according to industry sources.
Taiwan's MCU vendors will see their revenue growth momentum constrained in the short term by extended delivery lead times at foundry and backend houses, although they have abundant orders in hands, according to industry sources.
EMS giant Foxconn, taking a step further in its transformation, has formed a joint venture with passive component maker Yageo for the development and sales of what they call "small ICs" - semiconductor chips with ASP lower than US$2.00. Meanwhile, TSMC has seen orders from Bitmain pick up for 5nm chips used in cryptomining. TSMC is also expected to make 6nm processors for Sony's redesigned PS5 games console.
Suppliers including foundry TSMC are expected to kick off production for the redesign of Sony's PlayStation 5 (PS5) games console between the second and third quarters of 2022, according to industry sources.
Driven by a resurgent memory market and relatively flat sales results from Intel, IC Insights believes that Samsung will again replace Intel as the leading semiconductor producer beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Demand for white-box servers from datacenter operators has been growing fast, with Taiwanese ODM's shipments already accounting for more than one third of the world's total server shipments in 2020, according to Digitimes Research's latest Server Tracker quarterly report. Earlier this year, foundry house VIS set its 2021 capex budget at NT$5 billion, a sharp increase from last yea's level. Now it has raised the capex budget further to NT$8 billion to fund its capacity expansion. With persistently strong demand for ICs, silicon wafer supplier GloabalWafers expects sales momentum to remain robust through 2023.
Display driver IC (DDI) backend specialists Chipbond Technology and ChipMOS Technologies have seen unstable capacity utilization for processing small- to medium-size applications due mainly to unstable wafer shipments from chip designers, according to industry sources.
Backend service providers face as much as a 50% shortage of packaging materials from until June as a result of production issues at Japanese suppliers. MediaTek is prioritizing shipments for 5G chips, telling its Chinese handset clients that it is cutting output for 4G offerings amid tight foundry supply. Despite tight foundry capacity, TSMC has promised more support for the car industry. Demand for automotive chip probing services is expected to stay brisk throughout the year.
Wafer probing service providers have seen the visibility of orders for automotive chips extended to the end of 2021, as TSMC has committed capacity support to chip vendors, according to industry sources.