In the annual China IC Leadership Summit held on March 30, Wei Shaojun, a leading Chinese semiconductor scholar from Tsinghua University's School of Integrated Circuits, shared his observation on Chinese chip design sector.
Robust demand for Si-IGBT and SiC power modules for automotive and industrial control applications has inspired IDMs such as Infineon to become upbeat about their revenue prospects for 2023, which is expected to benefit their manufacturing partners in Taiwan, according to supply chain sources.
Solomon Systech, which specializes in the design and development of proprietary display IC products and system solutions, has announced the release of what the company claims is the world's first PM-MicroLED display driver. The new SSD2363 enables the next generation of high brightness displays for wearables, home appliances, and industrial applications.
IC distributor GMI Technology expects its customers to start replenishing inventory in the second half of 2023, while eyeing a pick-up in demand from the persistently expanding automotive, broadband, and wearable device markets.
TSMC continues to experience cutbacks in orders from major customers including MediaTek and Apple, according to industry sources. Besides, the foundry has yet to ramp up wafer starts for Nvidia's chips, which enable ChatGPT and other large language models (LLM).
At the annual China IC Leadership Summit held on March 30, Wayne Dai, founder and CEO of Chinese IC design house VeriSilicon, observed that chiplet development in China is basically underpinned by three process nodes: 28/22nm, 14/12nm and 5nm, as reported by the Chinese tech media Ijiwei. Though China has achieved the volume production of 14nm, Dai noted the US restrictions on equipment and material would be a hindrance.
Following Qualcomm's Embedded World 2023 announcement of new IoT processors designed to support four major operating systems, Primax is announcing a reference design partnership for a QCS6490 based IoT gateway platform specifically designed for Fleet and Industrial IoT applications. High compute capabilities and a strong feature set make the QCS6490 a versatile solution for next generation edge processing devices such as cameras, gateways, industrial automation equipment (IPC, PLC), autonomous mobile robotics, and more.
Taiwan's IC design industry has reached a critical crossroads, with an unclear development direction, worsening talent shortage, confusing government policies, and shrinking academic research momentum all requiring cooperation from all sectors to overcome. But in terms of a feasible development direction, datacenter server processors and HPC (high-performance computing) chips are believed to provide the most promising future for Taiwan IC designers, according to Eric Huang, vice president of DIGITIMES and host of the IC Design Industrial Policy White Paper team.
Automobiles are poised to be one of the major drivers for the semiconductor industry's growth. To boost its automotive chip capacity, China announced it aims to set up more than 30 standards by 2025, encouraging and regulating related technology development.
Consumer MCU specialists Holtek Semiconductor and Nuvoton Technology are both looking to expand their deployments in non-Chinese markets, while anticipating overall market demand will gradually pick up later this year.
Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing sector boasts structural advantages in its next decade of development, but the advantages for its IC design sector are likely to change, according to Colley Hwang, president and founder of DIGITIMES.
China may fall short of its goal of increasing IC self-sufficiency to 70% by 2025 due to tougher export restrictions imposed by the US, but it stays committed to chip self-sufficiency, according to industry sources.
Memory device controller suppliers such as Phison Electronics and Silicon Motion Technology are still facing unfavorable macroeconomic conditions as the NAND flash memory industry continues to face oversupply and turbulence. Despite the near-term challenges driving down NAND flash prices, the outlook for memory content per box and demand from non-consumer as well as emerging device applications remains positive, according to market sources.
Infineon Technologies has released a statement updating its revenue and segment result margin expectations for the current second quarter, as well as the entire fiscal year 2023. This is primarily based on resilient business dynamics in its core automotive and industrial segments.
Cerebras Systems has trained and is releasing a series of seven GPT-based large language models (LLM) for open use by the research community, according to the company. This is the first time a company has used non-GPU based AI systems to train LLMs up to 13 billion parameters and is sharing the models, weights, and training recipe via the industry standard Apache 2.0 license. All seven models were trained on the 16 CS-2 systems in the Cerebras Andromeda AI supercomputer.
Talent shortage has been a big headache to global semiconductor companies and may push them into a long-term scramble for professionals. How to tackle the issue became a core topic of discussion among participants at the recent Taiwan IC Design Industrial Policy White Paper Presentation co-hosted by the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA), DIGITIMES Asia, and MediaTek.
Silicon IP provider eMemory and pure-play foundry United Microelectronics (UMC) have announced that eMemory's resistive random access memory (RRAM) IP has been qualified on UMC's 22nm ultra-low power process, expanding UMC's comprehensive embedded memory offering for AIoT and mobile applications.
MediaTek chairman Tsai Ming-kai urged the Taiwan government to focus its incentives on overcoming challenges such as talent shortages and severe technological competition in the local IC design business at the Taiwan IC Design Industrial Policy White Paper Presentation held by the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA) and DIGITIMES.
Shanghai-based RISC-V chip technology startup StarFive announced on March 23 that it has received strategic investment from China's search giant Baidu, Reuters reported. In total, the startup has raised over CNY1 billion (US$146 million).