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.
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.
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.
Touch panel makers Mildex Optical and Young Fast Optoelectronics have experienced a rebound in orders recently, particularly those for fitness equipment and niche-market applications, according to sources at the companies.
Coretronic expects its shipments of energy-saving products, mainly backlight units (BLU), to stay flat in April, as shortages of some critical components will undermine its efforts to ramp up shipments.
Development of microLED applications has been gaining momentum, with commercialization of the technology likely to begin at year-end-2021 at the earliest, according to Falcon Liu, marketing director for Taiwan-based PlayNitride.
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.
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.
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.
Glass processing service provider G-Tech Optoelectronics has disclosed it has seen European automakers adopt its 3D-forming cover glass for CIDs (central information displays) and rear-view mirrors and expects shipments for such glass products to increase sharply beginning in second-half 2021.
Eternal Materials, which supplies resin materials and dry-film photoresists, is set to invest CNY90.52 million (US$13.84 million) to build a coating production line at a plant in Suzhou, China, with the new capacity to become fully operational as early as second-half 2022.
Corning has disclosed plans to hike its display glass substrate prices in the second quarter of 2021 to reflect increased costs in logistics, energy, raw materials and other operational expenses during the current glass shortage.
Semiconductor materials distributors are expected to gain profit momentum from brisk sales of COG or COF packaging materials driven by robust demand for e-paper and ESL (electronic shelf label) display driver ICs (DDI), apart from LCD TDDI chips and OLED chips, according to industry sources.
E-paper display maker E Ink Holdings is expanding production capacity for micocup FPL (front panel laminate) film at its factory in northern Taiwan, according to company chairman and CEO Johnson Lee at a March 18 investor conference.
Taiwan-based PCB manufacturers, such as Taiwan PCB Techvest (TPT) and Apex International, are gearing up for the miniLED-backlit TV market boom as they have cut into supply chains of major makers in the new segment, according to industry sources.
LCD panel makers have seen orders picking up, in turn boosting their demand for driver ICs. But supply of LCD driver ICs has fallen far short of demand, prompting vendors to consider raising prices. Many other components are also in short supply, including networking chips. Some networking chip vendors, such as Braodcom, have had to extend their delivery lead times. At TSMC, its foundry services are expected to see strong demand from 5G, HPC and automotive sectors during second-quarter 2021.
Polarizer supply has been tight amid strong demand for LCD panels, but is expected to become balanced in second-half 2021 when China-based makers ramp up production at newly-established facilities, according to Chen Zhien-chi, chairman for BenQ Materials.