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.
Taiwan-based LCD panel makers have reported brisk sales for March and first-quarter 2021, with prospects of their revenues continuing rising in the second quarter, thanks to panel price hikes amid tight supply.
Leading China-based panel makers China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT), BOE Technology and Tianma Micro-electronics have stepped up efforts developing miniLED applications, according to industry sources.
Taiwan recorded exports totaling US$35.89 billion in March 2021, the highest-ever monthly level with growths of 29.1% sequentially and 27.1% on year, while the imports reached US$32.23 billion, also a monthly record, growing 38.4% sequentially and 27.0% on year, according the Ministry of Finance (MOF).
The notebook market has been robust in recent months thanks to stay-at-home needs. Chromebook shipments are expected to rise sharply in 2021. Apart from Intel, some other chip vendors, such as MediaTek and Elan, are poised to see robust growths in reenues from the Chromebook segment. ODM Wistron saw its notebook shipments spiked 52% on year in first-quarter 2021. The smatphone market is also recovering, and Apple is expected to adopt teh more power-efficient LTPO backplane technology for OLED displays in the premium models of its next-generation iPhone lineup.
AU Optronics (AUO) has reported consolidated revenue of NT$30.72 billion (US$1.08 billion) for March 2021, up by 20.0% on month and 49.8% on year.
Apple reportedly will adopt LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) backplane technology for OLED displays in its premium iPhones to be launched later in 2021, according to industry sources.
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.
Global shipments of flexible AMOLED panels for foldable smartphone applications are likely to reach over 12 million units in 2021, driven by new foldable devices launched by handset brands, according to industry sources.
Himax Technologies, a vendor of driver ICs, has announced it has teamed up with BOE Varitronix (BOEVx), a supplier of car-use display products, to develop flexible AMOLED automotive display solutions.
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.