The model FPA-1200NZ2C from Canon, a nanoscale imprinting machine, has been making headlines recently, although it first appeared in academic journals as early as 2015. The resurgence of an eight-year-old model in the news can be attributed to its imminent entry into broader semiconductor production applications.
Global opportunities in the generative AI (GenAI) application market have exploded with the rise of ChatGPT, leading to a substantial increase in demand for AI-related hardware and software. While the establishment of cloud data centers presents a lucrative opportunity, the long-term trajectory of the hardware and software industry remains uncertain. From hardware and software, who are the ones that are capable of reaping the largest benefits from the GenAI trend?
Reflecting on the history of the computer industry, it all began with a small transistor, evolving into integrated circuits and eventually transforming into powerful CPUs capable of processing billions of instructions per second. Intel dedicated decades to optimizing CPU for complex instructions and refining branch predictors to enhance computational speed. However, this focus on intricate processing was rendered historical with the rise of GPUs by Nvidia. Instead of relying on complicated branch predictors, GPUs use hundreds of thousands of small cores to achieve significant computation throughput, which is particularly useful in large-scale computer graphic processing. This shift has empowered us to recreate real-world environments in the digital realm, unlocking immense potential.
Following a November 15 decision from Germany's Federal Constitutional Court against the transferring of EUR60 billion - granted during the Covid-19 pandemic but unspent in fiscal 2021 - into its Climate and Transformation Fund (Klima- und Transformationsfonds, KTF), the three-way ruling coalition led by German Chancellor Scholz is left to confront a budget shortfall that potentially undermines Germany's long-term chip investment, along with the problem posed by so-called special funds (Sondervermögen) that have long functioned as a shadow budgetary source unconstrained by the country's constitutionally enshrined debt brake introduced in 2019.
Chinese semiconductor equipment manufacturers are luring experts to develop their extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment to decrease reliance on ASML EUVs, which was blocked by the US and its allies from selling to China.
Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) recently unveiled its statistics for Taiwan's semiconductor industry, which includes IC design, IC manufacturing, IC packaging, and IC testing. The entire IC industry in Taiwan created NT$1.116 trillion (US$37.5 billion) of production value in the third quarter of 2023, up 10% from the previous quarter but declined by 10.2% from the same period in 2022. It is calculated by the foreign exchange rate of one dollar to NT$29.8. (See table below)
I currently work as a software engineer at a tech company in Silicon Valley. The extent to which Generative AI (Gen AI) has integrated into daily life today has exceeded my expectations. It's fair to say that it has become an indispensable part of life.
The most notable point from China's leading foundry SMIC's Q3 conference recently was its counter-trend upward revision of the 2023 capital expenditure to a substantial $7.5 billion. This adjustment is primarily attributed to geopolitical influences rather than anticipating future demand for increased capacity. SMIC stated that the total capital expenditure for the first three quarters of 2023 reached $5.1 billion.
Cash subsidies targeting research and development (R&D) investments and R&D consortiums are conducive to the development of semiconductor technologies, so governments can play a more proactive role in using this mechanism to galvanize R&D activities in the semiconductor industry. There can be variations in the ways of executing subsidies for R&D activities.
Since Taiwan published its "Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions in 2050" early last year, the region has made great strides toward a wider adoption of renewable energy. In March 2023, the state-owned Taiwan Power Company announced that wind and solar had reached about 15% of the energy mix over seven consecutive days and even outpaced coal at one point. Further exemplifying that our pathway to net-zero is well underway, throughout 2022, Taiwan connected 2.5 GW of solar (on rooftops and fishponds) as well as more than 1 GW of offshore wind power capacity, the utility provider shared.
At the venue where Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) founder Morris Chang received the honor of the inaugural Li Kuo-Ting Award in Taipei on November 9, Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang also showed up along with other tech leaders such as Quanta chairman Barry Lam, Acer founder Stan Shih, and Foxconn founder Terry Gou, to congratulate Morris Chang and express his recognition for Chang's contribution to the technological development in Taiwan.
Earlier this year, I came across an event centered on the DEI perspective within the startup community. Leveraging my background as a DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) workshop trainer during my academic years at Tulane University and my subsequent career in the startup industry as a community builder, I must attend this event! The discussions at this event provided invaluable insights for founders and investors, prompting me to reflect on my own experiences in the industry. Let's begin with my insights and lessons learned, emphasizing the fundamental importance of DEI within your company.
As US export control pressure on advanced AI chips mounts, Chinese Large-Language Model (LLM) operators start to turn to domestic options to secure hardware supplies. Huawei, as expected, is benefiting from US restrictions.
Tax breaks, depreciation acceleration, research and development investment subsidization, and fiscal subsidies are typical forms of fiscal incentives for encouraging semiconductor industry investments, equipment procurement, and research and development.
Generative AI is making its way into edge devices: though there remain bottlenecks to overcome in terms of software and hardware, the overall trend is very significant. PC and mobile brands, chip manufacturers, and AI companies are all gearing up, hoping to introduce generative AI into consumer electronics to trigger a new wave of sales growth.