Weekly news roundup: US's tentative restrictions on RISC-V will harm itself the most and other top stories

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0


These are the most-read articles on the DIGITIMES Asia website during the week of October 9-13:

US's tentative restrictions on RISC-V will harm itself the most, instead of China

Since all companies are able to use the RISC-V ISAs to design their own CPU IP, many IC design houses choose to procure core IPs from companies such as SiFive and Andes to shorten their product development cost and accelerate time to market. Therefore, the only thing that the US government can do is to impose export restrictions on US companies such as SiFive which built its core IPs that Chinese companies purchase, and prevent them from participating in RISC-V standards and research development processes that have Chinese companies involved, or restrict those RISC-V IPs developed by US companies from being sold to China. However, industry experts warned that it will be the US interest and the US capability of innovation on the line if such restrictions are imposed.

Taiwanese firms' role in Huawei chip fab sparks controversy amid geopolitical tensions

Recent foreign media revelations have named United Integrated Services, L&K Engineering, Topco Scientific, and Cica-Huntek Chemical Technology Taiwan as contributors to the construction of a Huawei chip manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China, with the entire factory site even alleged to be predominantly staffed by Taiwanese engineers, sparking significant international attention. This involvement of Taiwanese companies in projects for Huawei has the potential to strain the already delicate trilateral relationship between China, the US, and Taiwan.

Samsung takes on TSMC with advanced 2-nanometer fabrication push

Samsung Electronics faces off against Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as recent indications point to Samsung ramping up its research and development endeavors in the 2-nanometer fabrication realm, aiming to position itself for a potential turnaround as Samsung takes on the colossal and dominant TSMC by placing a strong emphasis on embracing cutting-edge technology instead of simply expanding its 3-nanometer production.

Tightening US restrictions on China challenges Taiwan's semiconductor supply chain

Recently, there have been reports that the US government is planning to further tighten restrictions on China. Some foreign news outlets have even mentioned Taiwanese companies like United Integrated Services, suggesting their involvement in constructing fab infrastructure for Huawei, possibly becoming Huawei's hidden partners in its resurgence. Semiconductor industry experts argue that whether or not the ban becomes more stringent will not significantly impact Taiwan's semiconductor supply chain.

DRAM recovery warming up as Taiwan memory suppliers report September revenues rise

NAND Flash spot prices have started to rise, and in turn, suppliers have started reporting growth in their monthly sales. Price hikes for DRAM are relatively moderate, as DDR4 suppliers have not yet broken even in their operations. This implies memory product prices are crawling out of the bottom, with niche memory prices expected to bottom out in the second half of the year and pick up speed to recover in 2024.

Global foundry revenues to see CAGR of 11.3% from 2023–2028, says DIGITIMES Research

DIGITIMES Research projects that the global foundry revenue will grow at a CAGR of 11.3% from 2023 through 2028, driven by demand from 5G and EV applications. Added capacities of both mature and advanced processes coming online starting in 2024 will also fuel the foundry industry's mid-to-long-term growth, according to the figures from the latest report covering the global foundry industry over the next five years.

Software is now the winning formula for chip design firms

During the FUTEX Forum held on October 12 in Taipei, Realtek Vice President and Spokesperson Huang Yee-Wei noted that most challenges in IC designs are not so different from the ones in the past. The real caveat is the software embedded within chip solutions, rather than electronic design automation (EDA) software. Huang believes that this kind of software will become increasingly important and many industry players agree, some of whom even believe it will be the trump card in the industry.