Answering calls from the US government to take back control of the supply chain, Intel is seeking to partner with Qualcomm and Amazon in a bid to reshape the wafer foundry industry. Intel has unveiled its IDM 2.0 business model and set a goal to implement 2nm node process technology within three years, looking to challenge TSMC's and Samsung's 3nm technologies. Intel also claims that the plan has been supported by Qualcomm, the world's largest communication chipmaker, and AWS, the leading player in cloud services.
Increasing foundry and materials costs are prompting some major IC vendors in Taiwan to decide to raise their product prices in fourth quarter of 2021. In China, many components makers are being affected by the Chinese government's decision to cut power supply to industrial users in line with its carbon reduction policy. PCB suppliers will find out this week whether Apple will increase or cut orders for the iPhone 13 series.
AMD and MediaTek are said to be seeking to form a joint venture that will develop notebook applications integrating Wi-Fi, 5G and high-transmission technologies. Other chip vendors in Taiwan are also hoping MediaTek to play a leading role in the local supply chain to compete with Qualcomm in the mmWave 5G market. In the EV market, Thailand has ambitious goals for its car manufacturing sector.
Chip shortages have undermined shipments to the notebook market. The top-5 notebook vendors saw their combined shipments drop 3% sequentially in August, according to the latest figures from DIGITIMES Research. Acer chairman Jason Chen has disclosed Chromebook demand has shifted from 11.6-inch models to 15-inch ones to meet needs from high school and college students. In the memory sector, DRAM contract prices will drop faster than previously expected in fourth-quarter 2021, as demand from PC OEMs decelerates.
NAND flash pices may stablize in 2022, but supply is likely to turn tight in the second half of next year, according to Silicon Motion's president. Meanwhile, Chinese memory maker YMTC is ready to volume produce 128-layer QLC NAND flash, initially targeting consumer SSDs. And in a recent interview by DIGITIMES, Harish Krishnaswamy, CTO and co-founder of MixComm, and Marzieh Veyseh, CTO/CPO and co-founder of SiTune, talked about their views on the development of mmWave market, latest chip crunch, and the Satcom market opportunities.
In a recent interview by DIGITIMES Etron chairman Nicky Lu explains why monolithic/heterogeneous integration is important to the future of the semiconductor industry. Meanwhile Apple has increased the storage capacity of its new iPhone 13 series to up to 1TB, and memory makers believe this will prompt other smartphone brands to follow suit and equip their flagship devices with the same internal storage capacity. Backend service providers believe Apple's new iPad mini 6 will generate strong orders for 5G RF modules.
Apple has just unveiled its iPhone 13 series. Digitimes Research estimates that the vendor will place orders for about 90 million units of the new smartphones with its manufacturing partners for 2021, with the iPhone 13 model expected to account for the biggest portion. The IT supply chain has endured long spells of component shortages, but constraints of consumer ICs have now shown signs of easing. But notebook battery module makers are still being troubled by IC shortage, and rising costs.
The US-China trade tensions are driving US chip vendors away from Chinese foundry houses, which neveretheless still see strong demand from the domestic market. China's top foundry house SMIC is gearing up expansion of its mature process manufacturing capacity. US-based notebook vendors remain optimistic about demand from the enterprise segment in 2022, as they step up component purchses.
China's Big Fund is stepping up investments in the country's memory sector in line with its push for IC self-sufficiency. Meanwhile, the world's major memory chipmakers are ramping up their QLC NAND chip output, eyeing robuts demand from both the PC and server segments. And IDMs, Foxconn and BYD are gearing up deployments in third-generation semiconductors, eyeing EV applications.
Tight supply has pushed up foundry costs, fueling pressure on IC design clients. First-tier IC design houses are now ready to increase prices for their chip solutions in first-quarter 2022. Pure-play foundry houses UMC and VIS have reported record sales for August. In the IT sector, ODMs Wistron and Inventec both sae increases in notebook shipments in August, but overall results for third-quarter 2021 may be disappointing.
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Taiwan's networking device makers see clear order visibility through the first half of 2022, thanks to demand from the stay-at-home activities and companies whose employees are retruning to offices. Cooling module suppliers believe that vapor chambers, now found mostly in notebooks, will become a key component for smartphones. But handset demand remains weak, reportedly prompting CIS vendor OmniVision to cut back orders for IC manufacturing in Taiwan.
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As order visibility for many market segment, such as 5G and EV, has already extended to 2025, foundry houses are eager to expand fab capacity for both advanced and mature manufacturing processes. IDMs are migrating production of third-gen semiconductors to 8-inch fabs amid growing demand. Commodity DRAM may be seeing a slowdown in demand, but demand for the server and datacenter applications has been stable.