The carmaking industry has been plagued by components shortages for months, but TSMC says its supply of automotive chips to clients should start to improve in second-quarter 2021. But the automotive chip shortage is a structural problem where cars need more electronic components, intensifying competition between carmakers and IT firms for foundry support. And at Samsung, tight in-house foundry capacity as a result of a previous power outage hitting one of its fabs in the US is sending the Korean giant looking to outsource some of its chip production.
Demand for flip-chip (FC) packaging particularly FC-BGA will be rising significantly driven by the HPC device market boom this year, and backend houses in Taiwan and China have seen the visibility of orders for HPC chips extend to the third quarter, the sources said.
TSMC is expected to substantially scale up its 5nm chip output in the second half of 2021 in order to boost 5nm chip sales as a proportion of its total wafer revenue to 20% by the end of the year, market watchers believe.
Car vendors are dealing with a structural shortage of automotive chips resulting in their supply constraints, according to industry sources, who believe the impact of a recent power outage at TSMC's chip plant will be insignificant on the overall auto chip supply.
Taiwan-based LCD driver IC suppliers have already notified their customers about price hikes of 10-20% or more for their TDDI and other DDI chips starting April, and are poised to post significant profit gains in the second quarter, according to industry sources.
TSMC expects flat sequential growth in its second-quarter 2021 sales, but has upward revised its outlook for full-year 2021 revenue to around 20% growth. The foundry house has also raised its capex budget for 2021 to US$30 billion. In the display sector, AUO is expanding its 6G LCD line in Kunshan, China to cater to strong demand for LTPS panels for notebooks. Notebook PCB makers in Taiwan also expect strong sales in first-quarter 2021.
TSMC expects to post revenues of between US$12.9 billion and US$13.2 billion in the second quarter of 2021, which is a 1% sequential increase at the midpoint. Gross margin and operating margin for the second quarter are estimated at 49.5-51.5% and 38.5-40.5%, respectively.
TSMC is expected to enjoy a particularly strong second quarter of 2021, but is facing challenges such as the impact of the US sanctions against Tianjin Phytium and a worsening drought in Taiwan, according to market watchers.
A power outage experienced by TSMC's Fab-14A P7 at the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP) on April 14 prompted the foundry to halt part of its 40/45nm and other mature-node chip production, according to market sources.
Apple is expected to soon unveil a miniLED-backlit iPad Pro, and its miniLED supply chain is ready to expand shipments, having improved yield rates. In the semiconductor sector, supply for packaging tools has been extremely tight, with equipment vendors reluctant to expand production, wary of possibly a lurking bubble in the market. And MediaTek is keen to maintain its leadership in the 5G phone market segment. The IC vendor has stepped up purchases of BT substrates for use in its 5G mobile SoCs to make sure it has enough supply.
The supply of IC packaging production tools including polish grinders, wafer-dicing machines, and tape laminators has become severely tight, apart from delivery lead times lengthened for wire-bonding machines, according to industry sources.
Networking device maker Arcadyan Technology expects its revenues to hit a new high in 2021, driven mainly by its enhanced product and customer portfolios despite the adverse impacts of rising production costs resulting from component shortages.
Government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) will in 2021 begin a project aiming to form an ecosystem in southern Taiwan for compound semiconductor-based automotive power electronics, according to Wu Cheng-wen, senior vice president for ITRI.
Semiconductor material distributors including Topco Scientific, Topco Technologies and Wahlee Industrial, and IC packaging materials distributors Chang Wah Electromaterials (CWE) and Niching Industrial are all poised to enjoy a strong 2021, according to industry sources.
TSMC chairman Mark Liu took part in a White House-hosted online meeting of the world's semiconductor powerhouses on Tuesday. After the meeting, Liu reiterated the Taiwan-based foundry house's commitment to building a wafer fab in the US state of Arizona. The semiconductor supply chain has been troubled by shortages for months, with major Taiwanese IC vendors set for another wave of price hikes in second-quarter 2021. Development of microLED applications have been gaining momentum, and commercialized products may be available as early as year-end 2021.
TSMC chairman Mark Liu, who participated in a virtual summit hosted by the Biden administration to discuss global chip shortages and the US plan to rebuild its semiconductor manufacturing edge, has reiterated the Taiwan-based foundry house's commitment to building an advanced wafer fab in the US.