As Huawei's Executive Director and CEO of the Consumer Business Group, Richard Yu, loudly declared in early August that "Huawei's flagship smartphones are making a comeback," the announcement has led to speculations of Huawei's imminent return to 5G smartphone market.
China's Saiwei Electronics has announced sucessful mass production and "domestic substitution" of Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) filters. While the industry remains conservative about the immediate integration of these filters into 5G smartphones, this breakthrough resolves China's long-standing "chokepoint" when it comes to RF (Radio Frequency) module supply, and further fuels speculation about the return of Huawei 5G smartphones.
Sony Group Corp., the dominant supplier of camera sensors for smartphones, is pushing back expectations for a smartphone market recovery to 2024 at the earliest after gauging worsening demand from China and the US.
Samsung Electronics' newly unveiled foldable phones Galaxy Fold5/Flip5, as well as Galaxy Tab S9 series are all equipped with the Qualcomm's "Snapdragon 8 Gen2 for Galaxy" APs, which have been customized for the Korean tech giant's Galaxy devices. This has sparked market concerns about the resulting advantages and disadvantages for both parties, as well as possible motives behind the collaboration.
All the new iPhone series for 2023 are very likely to feature Dynamic Island display technology, but Taiwanese partners in the supply chain, such as camera modules and GaAs PA suppliers, do not have particularly optimistic expectations for remarkable sales growth for the new devices, according to supply chain sources.
India's smartphone market declined in the second quarter, and Apple recorded a 61% growth in shipments in the world's second-largest smartphone market. Analysts believe that premiumization will continue into the second half of the year.
Wi-Fi 6/6E is already mainstream in 2023, so when will the Wi-Fi 7 boom occur? Wireless broadband equipment manufacturers pointed out that after testing the waters in 2023, 2024 will certainly be the main growth period of Wi-Fi 7. The only variable is the global economic development in 2024. Whether it will be a force that promotes technological upgrades or hinders growth remains to be seen.
Over the past two weeks, Reuters and Nikkei Asia have closely monitored the rumors surrounding a potential collaboration between Huawei and SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) to undertake mass production of 5G chips by the end of 2023. The purpose of this joint effort would be to support Huawei's flagship smartphones and facilitate the company's return to the 5G market in 2024.
The clear Wi-Fi upgrade trend has driven the demand for frequency components. Frequency component suppliers also pointed out that they have indeed felt the demand increase from new applications and have been incorporating designs and certifications for specifications like Wi-Fi 7.
Telecom operators in Europe and the US have been actively planning the industry's transition to Wi-Fi 7, providing impetus to the development of new products supporting the this standard, according to sources at IC design houses.
Japanese electronic components manufacturer Murata reported that in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2023 (April 2023 to June 2023), the demand for one of its main products, Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs), declined due to the decreasing demand in consumer electronics and base stations. However, starting from July, the MLCC capacity utilization rate has recovered to 85% and is expected to continue to rise.
After Xiaomi lost its top position in India's smartphone market, the company launched a series of initiatives to fight back. Foxconn Group is scouting land for expanding manufacturing facilities in India.
Handset sales momentum was more robust in emerging markets such as South Asia, Africa, and Latin America than in China and other major economies in the second quarter of 2023, according to findings by research firms.
Although the 2023 smartphone market is almost guaranteed to stagnate, the shipment volume for foldable devices is still steadily growing, making it the lone bright spot in the market. Sources familiar with the smartphone supply chain pointed out that the future demand growth for foldable phones is expected to remain strong for a while as major brands continue to release new products.
Tong Hsing Electronics, a major backend services provider for CMOS image sensors (CIS), expects the handset market to remain weak throughout 2023, with demand sliding faster than expected, according to company president C. S. Chang.
Foldable phone prices have gone down, as costs for hinge components continue to decrease, according to industry sources. As such, foldable phones are expected to lead growth in the smartphone market in the second half of this year. The general industry consensus is that mobile phone sales in the second half of 2023 will remain sluggish, except for foldable phones, which are expected to see growth.
Handset shipments in Taiwan, after enjoying an on-month growth in May, went down in June as a result of high inflation and an extended product replacement cycle. Channel retailers are now placing their hope in demand for Samsung Electronics and Apple's new smartphones in the third quarter, according to sources from the related upstream supply chain.
Taiwan-based flexible PCB (FPCB) makers Zhen Ding Tech and Flexium Interconnect are optimistic about their operation in the second half with the US-based handset brand's new smartphones in the third quarter.
Largan Precision, a smartphone lens module specialist, will hold its quarterly investors meeting on July 13 to provide its outlook. The company's comments will provide insight into the growth momentum of the iPhone and Android devices in the second half of 2023.
Top mobile SoC specialists Qualcomm and MediaTek have yet to release their views about market demand outlook for the second half of 2023, but they are taking a relatively conservative approach in terms of placing wafer-start orders for the latter half of the year and their shipments of new flagship offerings will also be limited, according to market observers,
The United States has imposed export restrictions on key Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE, curbing their own development of semiconductors and access to outside supplies. However, the recent shift of these Chinese companies from "de-Americanization" to "localization" of their supply chains may exert pressure on some Taiwanese IC design firms, according to industry sources.