The semiconductor and IT value chains in Taiwan have raised their alerts to the surging COVID cases locally, adopting work-from-home and other precautionary measures, though so far no major infections have been reported among the big companies. Barring COVID impacts, volume production for miniLED-backlit MacBook Pro devices will still have to be deferred because of issues with miniLED supply. Europe-based carmaker Stellantis is set to announce a strategic partnership with Foxconn.
Semiconductor chips have been the hottest trending topic recently due to their indispensability in all types of applications, including automobiles, mobile phones, military weapons, and space technology, etc. We can't help but wonder, how do semiconductor plants produce chips with such a large variety of functions out of large silicon wafers? The entire procedure involves an extremely important back-end packaging process known as "die bonding," which is to remove the die from the silicon wafer, and then attaching the die to the IC substrate using a conductive medium such as epoxy or gold wire (with epoxy the most common).
As COVID-19 cases surge in Taiwan, concerns have been raised over the stability of chip supply from the local semiconductor value chain. No major infections have been reported among Taiwan's semiconductor and IT supply chains yet, but Pegatron has adopted work-from-home measures for its Taiwan offices after one of its employees was infected with coronavirus. But demand for PCs in Southeast Asia remains strong despite the resurging pandemic there, according to Acer's president for the region.
Some first-tier brands, including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, are likely to see their smartphone shipments decline in the second quarter of 2021 due to shortages of semiconductor components, according to Digitimes Research.
Global all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments went down 5.5% sequentially to come to 3.37 million units in the first quarter of 2021, due to a high comparison base a quarter ago and shortages of panel and chips.
Foxconn has made another step towards developing more affordable electric vehicles. The EMS giant has just struck deals with California-based Fisker for the development of EVs with starting prices under US$30,000. Meanwhile, the global top-5 notebook brand vendors' combined shipment slipped in May due to component shortages, according to Digitimes esearch's latest figures. But ODM Quanta Computer expects its notebook shipments to stay robust in second-half 2021.
Despite seeing strong demand from the education and enterprise sectors, the global top-5 notebook brands (not including Apple) still saw their combined shipments slip 4% on month in May, due to component shortages.
Components shortages have been troubling the notebook industry for months. ODM Pegatron's previous optimism that its second-quarter 2021 notebook shipments would grow 25-30% has now been reduced to a projection of only 5-10% increase due to worsening compoent shortfall. But brand vendor Asustek remains optimistic about its PC sales in second-quarter and second-half 2021, buoyed by strong order visibility. For smart manufacturing, Canadian startup ForceN has developed small, thin, flexible and customizable force sensors, according to its CEO Robert Brooks, whose ambition is to revolutionize robotics.
The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 has increased the demands for robots and edge computing, and the tasks are becoming more and more complex. Force sensors are critical to preventing the machines from breaking. Toronto-based startup ForceN has developed customizable force sensors that are thin and flexible, and do not require design change on machines to accommodate them.