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.
Niche-market memory IC design house Elite Semiconductor Memory Technology (ESMT) has reported March revenue hit a record high of NT$1.91 billion (US$67.1 million), and expects its gross margin to rise above 20% in the first quarter of 2021.
Taiwan-based Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS), an 8-inch foundry for specialty ICs, saw its first-quarter revenue increase 5.3% sequentially to a record high of NT$9.18 billion (US$322.4 million).
Taiwan-based IC and material distributors are expected to see their profit growths this year outperform revenue increases, as shortages of IC parts and materials are sending prices up, according to industry sources.
Taiwan-based fab toolmakers are set to join their international bigger peers to gain from higher capital spending among major foundries from 2021 through 2023, judging from their order visibility already extended to 2023, according to industry sources.
MediaTek and Qualcomm may be the dominant players in the 5G smartphone SoC sector, but Chinese phone vendors Oppo and Xiaomi are mounting a challenge by developing their own chips. Shortages plaguing the semidoncutor industry are sending firms scrambling for supply. NOR flash chipmakers say that more of their clients are now willing to strike long-term supply contracts. For backend firms, demand from MCU clients remains robust.
Total semiconductor shipments including shipments of ICs as well as optoelectronics, sensor/actuator and discrete (O-S-D) devices are forecast to rise 13% to a record high of 1.135 trillion units in 2021, according to IC Insights. It would mark the third time that semiconductor units have surpassed one trillion units in a calendar year - the first time being in 2018.
Handset vendors are expected to launch more foldable devices with AMOLED screens this year. Global shipments of flexible AMOLED panels for foldable devices are expected to reach 12 million units in 2021. In the handset market, where sales have been recovering, MediaTek stands a good chance of becoming the world's number-one vendor of mobile SoCs in 2021. In the semiconductor sector, backend firms expect demand for speciality DRAM to stay robust through third-quarter 2021.
Backend houses including Powertech Technology (PTI) and ChipMOS Technologies have seen demand for specialty DRAM chips surge in the last 1-2 months, and are expected to enjoy robust demand for the memory through the third quarter of this year, according to industry sources.
Memory module house Team Group saw its net profit jump more than tenfold on year to NT$141 million (US$5 million) in 2020, with revenue hitting a record high of NT$7.5 billion. EPS for the year came to NT$2.06.
Despite the pandemic-induced impacts, global electric vehicle (EV) shipments reached as high as 2.5 million units in 2020 - an achievement that has encouraged governments in advanced economies to accelerate policy formation that will be favorable to the advancement of the EV industry, according to industry experts.
TSMC is fast advancing its manufacturing processes. The foundry house's N4 - an extension of its 5nm process family - will be available for volume production in fourth-quarter 2021 ahead of its original scheduled. Supply constraints have been haunting many industry sectors for months, and Macronix expects NOR flash supply to stay tight for the next two years. In the display sector, Corning has announced price hikes for its glass substrates starting second-quarter 2021 to reflect increasing production costs and expenses.