According to DIGITIMES Research analyst Stella Weng's study, MediaTek's application processors (AP) were used in only 8% of Samsung's handsets in 2019, but the proportion shot up to 16% in 2020, with a chance of rising to 37% in 2021. The reason behind the rapid increase of MediaTek's share is related to the progress and yield rate of Samsung's 5nm/8nm nodes. As the most cost-effective solutions, MediaTek's 4G chips are favorites for Samsung, which has been very demanding in cost requirements. MediaTek's rise is heaping pressure on Qualcomm, which may be forced to adjust its strategy concerning partnerships with foundries in 2021. Starting second-half 2021, Qualcomm is likely to sharply increase its outsourcing to TSMC.
Global notebook shipments wee weaker than expected in second-quarter 2021, thanks to components shortages. Global notebook shipments will see less than 2% sequential growth in the third quarter. Smartphone AP shipments into China grew about 3% sequentially in the second quarter, and will rise by anohter 7% in the third quarter. DIGITIMES recently talked to tech venture specialist Vitaly M Golomb about the EV trends ahead of his participation in the upcoming "Asia Venturing (II): Tech-Driven Mobility" event.
Apple is expected to significantly increase its pull-ins of components shipments for new iPhones in the second half of the year, driven by its impressive growth in market share in China for high-end 5G models, according to industry sources.
EV development is fast acclerating. Jack Cheng, CEO of the Foxconn-led MIH Alliance, an open platofrm for EV development, believes the EV market may reach its sweet spot in 2025-2026. In the semiconductor sector, MediaTek has raised its outlook for for 2021, expecting its revenues to grow 45% this year. In China, Unisoc is seeing a sharp rise in adoption of its smartphone APs by Chinese phone vendors.
TSMC and other Taiwan partners in the chips supply chain for iPhones are gearing up to start fulfilling initial orders for new iPhones slated for launch later this year including 60 million 5G mmWave models, but shortages of peripheral chips such as acoustic and display driver ICs (DDI) may constrain actual shipments for the devices, according to industry sources.
Unisoc will see shipments of its smartphone application processors for use by China-based handset companies climb 152% on year to 68.2 million units in 2021, enabling it to unseat HiSilicon as the third largest smartphone AP supplier, according to Digitimes Research.
EZconn, a specialist in RF connectors and optical fiber devices, has said its two-pronged strategies to shift its primary markets to the US and Europe from China and focus more on high-margin products have begun to pay off.
Taiwan-based voice coil motor (VCM) suppliers expect their shipments to gain momentum in second-half 2021, having already kicked off recently the related shipments for the next-generation iPhone devices slated for the launch in the latter half of 2021.
5G subscriptions are growing at a rate of about one million per day. 5G is expected to become the fastest adopted mobile generation in history, compared to 4G LTE. It is estimated that by the end of 2021, 5G subscriptions will reach 580 million, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report 2021. However, the penetration rate of 5G in Asia still varies greatly from country to country and now many countries are aiming to win in this 5G rollout competition.
Taiwan-based optical component suppliers are likely to brace for lower-than-expected sales in the third quarter of 2021 due to the low order visibility for their 5G optical components from telecom supply chain in China, according to industry sources.
Smartphone-use lens module maker Genius Electronic Optical (GSEO), based on orders received, expects current full utilization of production capacity to continue until the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2021, according to company chairman Jones Chen.
Chip shortage gas been serious, but Apple and carmakers are both asking for more ICs, the former looking to secure supply for its upcoming devices and the latter to prevent dirsuptions to their productions. Chinese IC designers are seeking more advanced manufacturing support from TSMC for their AI and HPC chips. Taiwan-based server makers are keen on expanding production capacity to meet strong demand.
Apple has stepped up its chip purchases for the upcoming iPhones, while first-tier automotive component vendors in the supply chains of carmakers in Japan are also vying for more available ICs, according to industry sources.
Brand vendors of 5G smartphones have started building component inventory for their new models for the second half of 2021, but prices of AP solutions are facing difficulties to increase, despite the ongoing rising quotes for ICs that are in shortages, because of fierce competition among suppliers, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
While Apple is expected to have at least its new iPhone Pro series for 2021 feature ToF-based LiDAR scanners, some Android handset vendors including China's Honor are poised to resume adoption of ToF cameras for their new flagship models, according to industry sources.
Strong demand and tight capacity are pushing up foundry serivce quotes. Major Taiwan-based foundry houses are expected to report record-high sales in third-quarter 2021. The overall handset market may be weak, but 5G smartphone demand is picking up. Smartphone chip vendors expect their sales to be fueled by 5G offerings in third-quarter 2021. Servers are also gearing up for the 5G edge computing boom.
Most Taiwan-based IC design houses are poised to see their revenues grow at least 10% sequentially in the third quarter of 2021, bolstered by a pick-up in chip orders for 5G smartphones, according to industry sources.
China, which has been relying heavily on semiconductor imports, is keen to improve it IC self-sufficiency. But DIGITIMES Asia president Colley Hwang thinks the key for China is to keep the momentum for its economic growth. Apple reportedly will introduce the third-generation iPhone SE series in first-half 2022 adopting A14 Bionic, creating opportunities for its semiconductor supply chain. Thanks to WFH deeds, MIS has expects its shipments for IT devices to stay strong in 2021.
Smartphone-use lens module maker Largan Precision suffered loss of NT$1.23 billion (US$44.0 million) from foreign exchange in the second quarter of 2021, equivalent to eroding net EPS for the quarter by NT$9.17, according to company CEO Lin En-ping.
TSMC is mulling setting up more fabs overseas, apart from its exsiting facility in Nanjing, China and the one being built in the US. TSMC is looking at building new fabs in Japan and Germany for 28nm and 12/16nm chip output. Apple is keen on adopting miniLED backlighting for its devices, and is likely to add China-based Luxshare as a second supplier of SMT services for miniLED BLUs. Meanwhile, notebook component suppliers are turning cautious about building up inventory amid mixed signals about the notebook market's outlook.
Robust shipments of notebooks, motherboards and graphics cards boosted Asustek Computer's consolidated revenues to a 55-month high of NT$47.95 billion (US$1.71 billion) in June 2021. Consolidated sales for the second quarter of 2021 came to NT$128.1 billion, rising 39% on year and beating the company's estimate.
Flexible PCB specialists Zhen Ding Technology and Flexium Interconnect, reportedly among the suppliers of flexible antenna modules for the upcoming iPhones and other new Apple devices, are both poised to post strong sales results for the second half of 2021 with significant shipment increases, according to market sources.
Samsung Electronics reportedly is reconsidering adopting vapor chambers for its new smartphones for 2022, which could benefit cooling solution providers' sales, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.