Advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology under 14nm was included in the list of 22 key core technologies to be banned from illegal outflows to foreign adversaries on December 6, announced by Taiwan's National Technology and Science Council (NTSC). Wang Mei-hua, Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs, said semiconductor foundry manufacturers are already aware of the ban on advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes, and their existing investments in China will not be affected.
The global trend of cybersecurity legislation development, with the European Union's Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) slated for enforcement in 2024, will impact the IoT ecosystem and require companies to ensure compliance when operating globally.
While carmakers and automotive semiconductor companies hold different views on the outlook for the global car market, industry leader Infineon is optimistic about the future. According to DIGITIMES Research, the growing demand for automotive semiconductors, robust order backlogs and the edge in China's EV sector will further Infineon's revenue growth.
The economic downturn has caused the demand for multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) to enter a downturn that it's unlikely to recover from before the end of 2023. It's reported that Semco, a company specializing in MLCC, has been focusing on AI-edge applications and enhancing the high-end automotive MLCC product lineup to boost its business performance.
South Korean electronic giant Samsung Electronics has made significant progress since its foray into the automotive device market in 2015. Recent launches of various automotive ICs showcased Samsung's effort to diversify business lines from the volatile consumer memory market and to create valid growth opportunities for its semiconductor foundry business. It aims to become the world's leading automotive memory company by 2025, surpassing Micron, the current champion with a 45% global market share.
PCB supplier Info-Tek, part of the passive component supplier PSA Group, has been seeing positive momentum driven by automotive parts, with revenue in September 2023 marking a record high of NT$665 million (US$21 million) and October also seeing NT$661 million, says manager of financial accounting and corporate governance Huang Po-Chang. General manager Liu Chen-Yu further notes that the company's automotive clients are primarily based in China, where the company expects penetration rates to increase from 36% to 45%. Looking ahead to 2024, Info-Tek expects performance to be similar to 2023 in its industrial control segment, including excavator control boards, monitoring, and surveillance equipment, and servers; meanwhile, the company's medical devices segment, focusing on the high end, was only added in 2023, and is expected to contribute a low single-digit percentage to total revenue.
Chinese EV maker Li Auto has strengthened its capabilities in chip development and is starting to hunt international talents. Media reported that the company is establishing a team in Singapore to focus on developing silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors.
As the consumer electronics market witnesses inertia, companies are looking to non-consumer products for growth opportunities, and among these products are automotive applications. This sector has attracted the attention of Taiwanese OEMs like Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) and Pegatron, alongside ODM Quanta Computer (Quanta). It has become clear that these three companies regard the EV sector as a major growth driver.
Infineon said it has secured more long-term contracts for automotive semiconductors, including MCUs and power semiconductors. The company accounts for the largest share of the automotive semiconductor market.
Moore Silicon, a chip subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned electronics company TCL, is the latest dissolved in-house IC design team of a technology conglomerate in China after Oppo's Zeku and Meizu disbanded theirs.
Gallium nitride (GaN) has not been able to gain much traction compared to silicon carbide (SiC), another power semiconductor material. In May, US-based Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) sued Chinese Innoscience Technology for GaN patent infringement. How the lawsuit will affect the development of GaN remains to be seen.
In addition to its strong financial results, Nvidia is also actively exploring new business models such as AI factories or AI manufacturing to enhance profitability further. Once Nvidia's AI factory is established, major partners like Foxconn will naturally be one of the first to benefit from it.
Weebit Nano, a developer of Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM), and SkyWater Technology, a trusted foundry accredited by the US Department of Defense, have announced on November 20 that Weebit's ReRAM IP module is now ready for production tapeout at SkyWater, using its 130nm CMOS process at temperatures of up to 125 degrees Celsius - the temperature specified for Grade-1 automotive applications.
Japanese automotive component manufacturer Denso declared at its business briefing that the fiscal year 2023 (2023/04-2024/03) will achieve a growth rate of 36% compared to the fiscal year 2020. The sales from electrification and ADAS will increase. The investment and recruitment schedule for semiconductors and automotive software have also been established.
As EV and energy storage system sectors have proliferated in recent years, those with battery resources are more likely to dominate markets. However, the battery industry has seen things change since the EV market is expected to experience a stronger headwind next year. Companies that have battery advantages may not create an edge.
Taiwan-based IC distributor WPG Holdings has a positive outlook on the impact of IC distributor mergers and acquisitions (M&A) on industry development and expects the semiconductor market will rebound in 2024.
Although IC designers generally see high potential in automotive semiconductors for the mid to long-term since the fluctuating automobile market in 2023 has resulted in divergent demands in different markets, brands, and even module applications.
Rapidus, the advanced-node Japanese foundry service provider targeting cutting-edge processes at 2nm and below, revealed at a business luncheon participated by industry leaders that it is planning to set up a business representative office in Silicon Valley within FY2023 (April 2023-March 2024).
India is aggressively recruiting Taiwanese partners for its semiconductor dream. Not only aiming to produce mature-node semiconductors for its 1.4 billion population market, it also sends out a clear message to IC design houses – come design for India and make for India, don't miss out on the chance.
Sony, with its semiconductor business focusing on CMOS image sensors (CIS), is strategically expanding into the global automotive CIS market, aiming to surpass the current leader Onsemi, while the US-based IDM is also aggressively intensifying its presence in the Japanese market, currently dominated by Sony.
At Hon Hai's (Foxconn) earnings call for the third quarter of 2023, held on November 14, market observers were particularly interested in the company's plans for electronic vehicles (EVs) and AI servers. According to chairman Young Liu, the contract design and manufacturing service (CDMS) business model is advantageous in the current EV market, and both electric buses and the Model C will begin contributing to revenue starting in 2024. Furthermore, with inventory destocking in the cloud networking sector coming to an end alongside rising demands for AI, Hon Hai continues to aim for a gross profit margin of 10% for 2025; whether or not the company meets this target will depend on its performance in 2024.