China, the world's leading consumer of semiconductors, is undergoing a third semiconductor shift in tandem with the development of 5G, consumer electronics, and AI. Owing to the shift of the semiconductor industry – growing downstream demand, and strong support from the government, China's IC design industry has grown rapidly in recent years.
Memory chip maker Micron Technology has launched a new pricing model called "forward pricing agreements" (FPAs). Observers are watching whether the model will stabilize the industry's price fluctuations and if Micron's rivals will follow suit.
NAND flash demand for datacenter applications will be rising robustly, with bit shipments likely to outpace those for handsets between 2023 and 2024, according to Wallace Kou, president and CEO for flash device controller specialist Silicon Motion Technology.
In 1984, Intel decided to exit the DRAM business, which marked the start of technology diversion between memories and logic IC. In hindsight, Intel's decision made sense. Memories and logic IC are very different in terms of design, manufacturing processes, equipment deployment, and market characteristics. It is common sense that a company should focus on pursuing excellence in one specific direction.
Silicon Motion Technology will not change its trade mark or operating strategy after being acquired by US-based broadband communication chips supplier MaxLinear, as both companies will operate independently after the deal is completed, according to Wallace Kou, president and CEO of the Taiwan-based vendor of NAND flash controller chips.
In 2014, 3D NAND flash was introduced to the industry with 24 layers, and it co-existed with 2D NAND flash until 2017. 3D NAND flash gradually came to dominate the market with its high-density storage capacity and technologies, and its manufacturing process completely diverged from that of DRAM. The synergy of utilizing the same processes and equipment for the two memory types - DRAM and NAND - was completely gone, and the core of competitive strategies in the memory industry changed.
Let's take a moment to review the rise and fall of Taiwan's DRAM industry. Taiwan's DRAM industry came into being in the mid-1990s. In the beginning, although some companies wanted to self-develop related technologies, most companies chose to become competitive by exchanging production capacity for technology licensing with partners. This method certainly had some drawbacks, including that companies obtaining the licensed technologies could be controlled by their partners.
NAND flash was invented by Toshiba in 1989 and entered commercial mass production in the early 2000s. Since NAND flash has much faster access speed than mechanical hard drives, and since small-storage persistent memory products were gaining popularity, memory companies began placing increased focus on NAND flash.
Memory prices will be trending downward in the second quarter of 2022, but are likely to rebound in the second half of the year when new smartphones hit market shelves, according to sources at IC distributors.
Semiconductor is a high-tech industry that requires continuous investment in the development of cutting-edge technologies to create new economic value. With the advantage of entering the market early, leading semiconductor companies can generate significant profit and use that profit to develop more advanced manufacturing processes to extend their lead. By increasing their capital spending, they can build up stronger economies of scale. This virtuous circle is the winning formula for businesses competing in high-tech industries.
The role of memory chips has become increasingly important in heterogeneous integration, and Winbond Electronics is working with potential customers in multiple related design projects, according to the maker of specialty DRAM and flash memory.
Memory module maker Adata Technology saw its net profits hike over 700% on year in the first quarter of 2022, while earnings at fellow company Transcend Information climbed nearly 60% from a year earlier, thanks mainly to their efficient chip purchasing and inventory controls.
MaxLinear and Silicon Motion Technology have entered into a definitive agreement under which MaxLinear will acquire Silicon Motion in a cash and stock transaction that values the combined company at US$8 billion in enterprise value, according to the companies.
DRAM spot prices have been falling since April and will continue trending downward in May and June, which will be dragging down further the memory contract prices in the second quarter, according to industry sources.
Taiwan-based Innodisk, dedicated to supplying industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage solutions, has announced its new business focus on edge AI computing technologies and applications, seeking to help accelerate the materialization of industries going intelligent.
IC test interface solutions provider Chunghwa Precision Test Tech (CHPT) has newly landed MEMS probe card orders for smartphone chips from Asia-based customers, with volume production kicking off in the second quarter, according to the Taiwan-based company.
Shortages of certain logic chips are expected to ease in the second half of 2022, according to WL Chen, chairman for Taiwan-based AP Memory Technology, who also expressed optimism about the demand prospects for the latter part of this year.
Worldwide semiconductor sales came to US$50.6 billion in March, up 1.1% sequentially. Sales totaled US$151.7 billion for the first quarter of 2022, down by a slight 0.5% on quarter but up 23% on year, according to data disclosed by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).
Taiwan's specialty memory IC design house Elite Semiconductor Memory Technology (ESMT) is still striving to rake in record revenues for 2022 despite posting lackluster business results for the first quarter and unfavorable macro factors affecting its sales in the second quarter.