Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on December 7 held its 2023 Supply Chain Management Forum and presented awards to outstanding supplier partners in gratitude for their support and contributions throughout the past year. The increase in the number of Taiwanese suppliers and more awards given to partners of new fab building services reveals the company's challenge in deploying a new supply chain in Arizona over the past year.
The Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) office, funded by the US Department of Defense to establish high-priority domestic capabilities to safeguard the US defense industrial base from global supply chain risks, has begun the fourth and final phase of its contract with BRIDG, a non-profit public-private partnership organization based in Florida, US dedicated to advanced system integration and packaging.
PCB maker Allied Circuit (ACCL) held its earnings call on December 6, during which spokesman Tony Chan predicted a better fourth quarter in 2023 compared to the third quarter and four to six weeks of order visibility in an optimistic forecast for the first half of 2024.
Niching Industrial, which sells IC packaging materials, anticipates vapor chamber sales will grow over 50% year on year in 2024. Increasing sales of vapor chambers is part of the company's transformation efforts.
Taiwan's National Technology and Science Council (NTSC) announced on December 5 that semiconductor processing technology for advanced chips 14nm and below, as well as the specialized gas, chemical, equipment, heterogeneous packaging, wafer level chip scale packaging (WLCSP), and silicon photonic integrated packaging technologies, which are necessary technologies applied for the manufacturing processes of advanced chips, are among the 22 core key technologies that will be kept from foreign adversaries. Those who fail to comply shall be deemed to have violated the National Security Act.
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.
The dynamic shifts in industrial competition have spurred I-Hau Yeh, Chairman of ELAN Microelectronics, to emphasize that innovation necessitates overcoming challenges across various stages. Having previously disrupted the notebook and mobile phone sectors by challenging industry giants Synopsys and Apple, ELAN is currently embarking on its third phase of innovation, steering towards the AI transformation of its human-machine interface products. In parallel, Aemc, originating from the realm of panel materials, has fearlessly entered the semiconductor arena, solidifying its role as an essential supplier for TSMC.
Seeing demand growth driven by edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI), microcontroller unit (MCU) manufacturers are making an effort to integrate AI into MCUs as well as advancing into the baseboard management controller (BMC) market.
Despite global inflation, rising interest rates, and challenges in the Chinese economy impacting the PCB industry Taiwan's three major copper-clad laminate (CCL) suppliers – Elite Material Company (EMC), Iteq, and Taiwan Union Technology Corp (TUC) – have demonstrated resilience and are poised to embrace growth prospects in the burgeoning AI applications market.
Industry suppliers are generally optimistic about Ajinomoto Build-up Film (ABF) substrate market prospects for 2024 and 2025, citing the recovery of the PC market, a growing demand for servers, AI, and high-performance computing (HPC) as drivers.
In the face of an overall slowdown in the semiconductor industry, the demand for pellicles, crucial for the exposure process, is outstripping supply. This surge is attributed to the growth of China's IC design and wafer foundry industry, coupled with the rise of global AI semiconductor startups. Major players such as Toppan, Portronics, and DNP are aggressively scaling up production capacities, a trend echoed by their South Korean counterparts.
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.
As 5G, AI, and EVs continue to drive demand for passive components, multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) manufacturers see growing opportunities for high-capacity and small-sized products, with products for servers and notebooks also expected to see growth as well.
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.
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.
Compeq Manufacturing, a major high-density interconnect (HDI) printed circuit board (PCB) producer, said its third-quarter 2023 sales revenues and earnings are showing early signs of recovery from the previous doldrums. Many customers are inquiring about the capacities of its Thai factory, according to Compeq spokesperson.
Chemtronics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works Inc., announced an investment of KRW17 billion (US$13.08 million) to expand its capacity of ultra-high concentration propylene glycol methyl ether acetate (PGMEA) in South Korea by 2.5 times.