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Press Releases
Due to Falling Shipments and Prices, Global DRAM Revenue for 3Q22 Showed QoQ Drop of Almost 30%—Unprecedented Since 2008 Financial Crisis, Says TrendForce

2022/11/16

Semiconductors

Global market intelligence firm TrendForce reports that for 3Q22, the revenue of the whole DRAM industry dropped by 289% QoQ to US$1819 billion This decline is the second largest to the one that the industry experienced in 2008, when the global economy was rocked by a major financial crisis Regarding the state of the DRAM market in 3Q22, the QoQ decline in contract prices widened to the range of 10~15% as the demand for consumer electronics continued to shrink Server DRAM shipments, which had been on a relatively stable trend compared with shipments of other types of DRAM products, also slowed down noticeably from the previous quarter as buyers began adjusting their inventory levels Turning to individual DRAM suppliers’ performances in 3Q22, the top three suppliers (ie, Samsung, SK hynix, and Micron) all exhibited a QoQ drop in revenue Samsung posted US$740 billion and a QoQ drop of 335%, which was the largest among the top three SK hynix’s revenue fell by 252% QoQ to around US$524 billion As for Micron, its revenue came to around US$481 billion Since Micron marks its fiscal quarters differently, its DRAM ASP showed a QoQ decline that was smaller than the ones suffered by the two Korean suppliers And as a result of this, Micron’s QoQ revenue decline was also the smallest among the top three TrendForce points out that the top three are still maintaining a relatively high operating margin at this moment Nevertheless, the inventory correction period that has started this year will last through the first half of next year, so they will experience a continuing squeeze on profit On the topic of suppliers’ capacity expansion plans, Samsung has gradually slowed down the transfer of its legacy wafer processing capacity from DRAM to CMOS image sensors due to the recent fall in demand for camera modules Next year, Samsung will raise its DRAM production capacity as its new fab P3L enters operation However, seeing that inventory reduction is not progressing at the originally anticipated pace, Samsung will decelerate its technology migration to limit its output growth Looking at SK hynix, it will also rein in its output growth next year by putting some brake on its technology migration Moving to Micron, it has pushed back the schedule for mass production with its 1beta nm process This deferment has to do with the higher difficulty level for the development of this technology and the general demand slump Micron’s output growth in 2023 is forecasted to be the smallest among the top three Furthermore, TrendForce is not ruling out the possibility of Micron making more tangible production cuts in response to the rapidly shrinking profit margin With regard to Taiwan-based DRAM suppliers, Nanya suffered the largest QoQ revenue drop among the top six suppliers in 3Q22, reaching as much as 408% Nanya’s result was attributed to the sizable share of consumer DRAM in its product mix as well as the sizable share of customers from Mainland China in its client base Moving into this fourth quarter, Nanya has already scaled back wafer input but maintains the pace of its migration to the 1A nm However, this technology will still be at the customer sample stage in 2023 as Nanya’s clients hold a cautious demand outlook and are thus not keen on adopting the more advanced process Therefore, the 1A nm process is not expected to make a noticeable contribution to Nanya’s output until 2024 Turning to PSMC, its revenue fell by around 400% QoQ for 3Q22 owing to the plummeting consumer DRAM prices PSMC’s DRAM revenue that is presented here mainly pertains to the sales of its branded DRAM products that are manufactured in-house and excludes its DRAM foundry service However, if DRAM foundry service is included in the calculation, then the QoQ decline was 229% Lastly, looking at Winbond, its 3Q22 revenue still showed a significant QoQ decline of 374% even with a fairly conservative pricing strategy This has to do with the considerable contraction of its shipments Winbond already lowered the capacity utilization rate of its fab in Taichung in 3Q22 As for the setup of its new fab in Kaohsiung, the schedule for entering the mass production phase has been pushed back slightly due to the unfavorable market situation The Kaohsiung fab will initially manufacture DRAM using the 25S nm process This is expected to be followed by the deployment of the supplier’s 20nm process in 2H23 For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
Ennostar and PlayNitride Join Forces to Develop Micro LED, and Value of Market for Display-Related Micro LED Chips Will Reach Around US$542 Million in 2024, Says TrendForce

2022/11/11

LED

Ennostar’s subsidiary Epistar and PlayNitride’s wholly-owned subsidiary PlayNitride Display have announced that they have teamed up to build a production line for 6-inch Micro LED epi-wafers Looking at the latest progress in the development of Micro LED, large-sized displays are regarded as the forerunners to the more advanced end products Even though Micro LED has unresolved technological bottlenecks and cost-related issues, TrendForce is optimistic that this technology will eventually be adopted for the development of different kinds of displays and end products Examples include transparent AR smart glasses, displays for wearable devices like smartwatches, automotive displays such as those embedded in a smart cockpit, and other transparent display products Furthermore, the latest efforts in product development will likely create new high-end applications for Micro LED TrendForce currently forecasts that the value of the market for Micro LED chips used in displays will reach US$542 million in 2024 Afterwards, the market will experience soaring growth starting in 2025 on account of the maturation of technologies In dealing with a new high-end display technology such as Micro LED, there is a high degree of customization in display design Additionally, the technologies responsible for fabricating Micro LED displays must meet a very stringent set of requirements when it comes to accuracy and precision Hence, the possibility of creating commercially viable and mass-produced Micro LED displays depends on a high level of synergy among companies that are involved in display panels, LED chips, mass transfer equipment, driver ICs, etc In the supply chain for the traditional types of displays, different sections operate in a relatively independent manner and adhere to a certain division-of-labor scheme By contrast, the supply chain for Micro LED displays operates under a very different model that requires close integration between sections Given this context, three coalitions have now emerged in the Micro LED market The first coalition comprises Ennostar (including its subsidiaries Epistar, Unikorn Semiconductor, and Lextar), AUO, and Innolux The second coalition is made up of BOE (including its subsidiary BOE Mled and joint venture BOE Pixey) and HC Semitek The third coalition is formed by TCL CSOT, San’an Optoelectronics, and Extremely PQ Display Technology It is worth noting that Hisense, through its recent actions such as increasing its stake in Changelight, appears to be forming another new faction in the Micro LED market as well TrendForce says Ennostar as one of the technology leaders in the global LED industry has been internally working on Micro LED for many years as it looks forward to the explosive growth of related opportunities in the future In order to get a firmer grasp of fabrication technologies and entrench in itself in the industry ecology, Ennostar has taken the step of forming an alliance that prepares for the eventual mass production of Micro LED displays With respect to the roles of the individual members of this alliance, Ennostar and Epistar will be responsible for high-end Micro LED chips The development of mass transfer solutions will center on PlayNitride As for AUO and Innolux, they will be in charge of display backplanes and driver ICs Their efforts have to be closely interconnected and in sync in order to obtain successful results In this latest chapter of the partnership between Ennostar and PlayNitride, the former will build a new production line by leveraging the expertise and experience that the latter has accumulated for mass transfer solutions and Micro LED chips PlayNitride is currently a leader in Micro LED technology Apart from meeting its clients’ demand as a component supplier, PlayNitride has a well-rounded portfolio of technology patents as well as a wealth of experience For other companies that manufacture products for various display-related applications (eg, large-sized, automotive, and wearable), PlayNitride can help them adopt Micro LED by providing services such as setting up production capacity and optimizing production flow Such collaborations would create core competitive advantages for the partnering display manufacturers As PlayNitride simultaneously expands into component sales, IP services, and construction of production lines, it will be able to create new and profitable business models For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
BOE Becomes Largest Shareholder in HC Semitek with Capital Investment of Around RMB 2.1 Billion, and Both Parties Will Jointly Develop Micro/Mini LED Businesses, Says TrendForce

2022/11/08

LED

BOE has become the largest shareholder in HC Semitek following a RMB 21 billion capital investment deal, and they are now in a partnership with respect to the development of Micro/Mini LED businesses BOE has been involved in Micro/Mini LED since 2017 and now possesses related offerings such as displays and backlight solutions In 2020, BOE established BOE MLED Technology as a subsidiary dedicated to the R&D and manufacturing of Micro/Mini LED products As for HC Semitek, it is a major Chinese LED chip supplier and has an overarching presence across the LED chip industry chain Hence, it produces not only LED chips but also LED epi wafers, sapphire substrates, etc According to the data from market intelligence firm TrendForce, HC Semitek took fourth place in the 2021 ranking of LED chip suppliers by external sales revenue Besides this achievement, HC Semitek is also at the forefront of advanced LED technologies including Micro/Mini LED In a ranking of LED chip suppliers based on the revenue that is solely from sales of Mini LED chips, HC Semitek is currently in third place following Epistar and San’an Looking at this deal from BOE’s perspective, LED chips represent a critical section of the display industry chain For end products, the quality of LED chips directly affects their displays in terms of cost, production yield rate, and quality This connection between chips and end products is also noticeable in the Micro LED industry For instance, RGB Micro LED chips are already regarded as a key component among the leading brand manufacturers At the same time, these brand manufacturers have taken actions to secure a stable supply of RGB Micro LED chips For instance, Samsung has invested in PlayNitride in order to advance its Micro LED solutions Also, TCL CSOT has formed a joint venture named Xiamen Extremely PQ Display Technology with San’an Another example is Ennostar’s partnership with AUO and Innolux for the development of Micro LED displays Turning to BOE and HC Semitek, the former hopes that by joining forces with the latter, it will be able to further strengthen its already advantageous position in the field of Micro/Mini LED Furthermore, in BOE’s efforts to develop related technologies, HC Semitek is going to provide significant support going forward In HC Semitek’s view, the competition in the LED chip industry has become fiercer in recent years as suppliers such as MTC, San’an, and Changelight release new production capacity This year, the situation in the LED chip market is particularly challenging because of factors such as the resurgence of local COVID-19 outbreaks in China, the Russia-Ukraine military conflict, and the ongoing global inflation With a sharp drop in the demand for end products, the LED chip market has shifted to oversupply, and most LED chip suppliers now operate at a loss Over these years, HC Semtek has been expanding into the high-end market segments such as Mini LED solutions and automotive LED solutions However, this move has come at the expense of abandoning some parts of the low-end market segments Therefore, the company has also lost some market share TrendForce’s data reveal that HC Semitek’s global market share for LED chips came to 7% in 2021, down by 2 percentage points from 2020 TrendForce points out that BOE is among the investors that HC Semitek has targeted in its latest share placement that aims to raise a total of around RMB 2 billion The proceeds are to be used to build a base for not only the production of Micro LED wafers but also the packaging and testing of Micro LED chips This capacity expansion project, in turn, is expected to raise market share and generate profit for HC Semitek Additionally, by forming a close partnership with BOE, HC Semitek will be able to develop technologies that are more suited for the needs of end customers Simultaneously, BOE will serve as a major sales channel for HC Semitek’s Micro/Mini LED chips For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
Despite Persistence of Weak Demand, Decline in Prices of Consumer-Spec MLCCs Has Eased During 4Q22 as Inventory Falls in Chinese Spot Market, Says TrendForce

2022/11/07

Semiconductors

The latest research from global market intelligence firm TrendForce finds that the usual demand surge related to the year-end holiday season is not materializing during this second half of the year due to several factors First, the data about the global economy continue to show a negative outlook, and the consumer electronics market is unable to shake off the constraining influence of high inflation and rising interest rates Furthermore, at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that was held this October, the leadership of the Chinese government made it clear that the strict zero-COVID policy will remain in force Lastly, ODMs are having problems lowering their inventories, and the whole supply chain from the upstream to the downstream is still experiencing inventory-related issues as well Hence, in view of the underwhelming peak season and ODMs’ cautious approach to stocking up, TrendForce estimates that the average BB (book-to-bill) ratio of MLCC suppliers will have slipped slightly to 081 in 4Q22 Starting this November, MLCC suppliers including Murata, SEMCO (Samsung), and Yageo have been receiving rush orders involving small quantities These orders are from China’s Tier-2 smartphone brands and suppliers for networking devices, motherboards, and graphics cards Among the various applications segments of the MLCC market, graphics cards was the first to experience falling demand in 1Q22 Therefore, through early and continuing adjustments, inventories of graphics cards OEMs have recently returned to relatively healthy level It is also worth mentioning that traders in the Chinese spot market were aggressively cutting prices so as to capture more orders during 3Q22 However, they have halted quote offering and held back their supply lately, thereby forcing some Tier-2 smartphone brands to place rush orders with MLCC suppliers This development indicates that the end is near for the inventory correction period in the Chinese spot market Although Decline in Prices of Consumer-Spec MLCCs Has Eased, Downward Price Pressure Will Mostly Remain During 1Q23 There is a chance that the price competition among MLCC traders will moderate after 4Q22 Nevertheless, TrendForce’s latest market survey shows that MLCC suppliers’ average inventory level is staying around 90 days As for distributors in the channel market, their average inventory level presently comes to 90~100 days as well Turning to the major ODMs, their average inventory level still resides around 30 days (3~4 weeks) Taking all market participants (ie, distributors, suppliers, and ODMs) into consideration, the inventory situation of the entire MLCC market remains far from optimal (ie, at the average level of 120 days) Previously, ODMs kept almost no inventory for MLCCs However, with the recent resurgence of COVID-19 outbreaks in China, ODMs are compelled to have some stock on hand so as to avoid a potential supply disruption Furthermore, economic activities are expected to be very subdued in 1Q23 This will impact demand and exacerbate the off-season slump With no tangible growth in orders and too much stock on hand, inventory-related costs will become much harder to bear Consequently, ODMs will inevitably be very proactive in seeking price concessions for MLCCs On the other hand, TrendForce’s latest investigation finds that MLCC suppliers have realized that even after two consecutive quarters of substantial price reductions, there has been no turnaround in ODMs’ demand Currently, quotes for most midrange and low-end consumer-spec MLCCs show no tangible profit margin At the same time, suppliers are under pressure to present satisfactory year-end financial results Therefore, suppliers are less willing to cut prices than before Right now, their top priority is to survive through the latest market downturn Keeping prices stable will allow them to retain some profitability and thereby persevere through this challenging period for the industry To Mitigate Effect of Demand Slump for Consumer Electronics, MLCC Suppliers Expand Production Capacity for Automotive Offerings Looking ahead to 2023, the state of global economy is still expected to be anemic This, together with geopolitical tensions and China’s commitment to its zero-COVID policy, will likely delay the demand turnaround in the consumer electronics market However, the demand for electronic components from the automotive industry is expected to pick up steadily as the global semiconductor chip shortage gradually dissipates Hence, MLCC suppliers will be focusing on automotive offerings next year SEMCO will be aligned with Samsung Group’s grand strategy for 2023: all divisions including semiconductors, display panels, passive components, camera modules, etc will launch a full-scale effort to develop businesses in the global automotive market Regarding SEMCO’s capacity expansion plan for 2023, the supplier will add a total of 2 billion pieces per month of production capacity for automotive-spec MLCCs at South Korea’s Pusan and China’s Tianjin Turning to Murata, the supplier has kept its production capacity for automotive MLCCs growing at an annual rate of 10% Starting in 2Q23, Murata will be adding a total of 3 billion pieces per month of production capacity at its three production plants Two of them are located in Japan’s Fukui Prefecture and Izumo, whereas the third one is located in the Philippines With this addition, Murata will reach 25 billion pieces per month for its entire production capacity, thus further cementing its position as the industry leader Lastly, regarding Yageo, it has fully incorporated KEMET’s technologies for automotive MLCCs and will begin expanding its production plant in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung in 2Q23 This plant is expected to gain another 15 billion pieces per month of production capacity For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
Projected iPhone Shipments for 4Q22 Has Been Lowered by 2~3 Million Units as Foxconn’s Base in Zhengzhou Temporarily Keeps Capacity Utilization Rate Around 70%, Says TrendForce

2022/11/02

Consumer Electronics

Zhengzhou, the capital China’s Henan Province, was hit with a wave of COVID-19 outbreaks in the middle of October The spread of the disease eventually reached Foxconn’s manufacturing base, where the number of infections rose significantly in late October This event has thus directly affected the performances of the iPhone production lines that are deployed within the base In its latest investigation of this event, TrendForce finds that the capacity utilization rates of the iPhone production lines have climbed back to around 70% as the local outbreaks are being gradually brought under control However, returning their capacity utilization rates to the normal level will still be difficult in the short term The Zhengzhou base is Foxconn’s main production hub for the iPhone Pro and Pro Max models Furthermore, the flow of orders for the Pro series is now at its peak Hence, iPhone shipments will be lower than expected for 4Q22 Originally, the fourth-quarter iPhone shipment target was set at 80 million units Due to the drop in the capacity utilization rates of the production lines in Zhengzhou, the quarterly total iPhone shipments is now projected to drop by 2~3 million units As for this year’s total iPhone shipments, they are now targeted around 237 million units Due to Impact of China’s Dynamic Zero-COVID Policy, iPhone Shipments for 1Q23 Could Undergo Another Downward Correction Looking ahead to 1Q23, the economic outlook for the period is already quite pessimistic Moreover, the winter season is generally conducive to the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 Hence, there is a possibility that China could enact zero-COVID lockdowns at a more frequent pace in the future Such scenario would extend the effects of this policy to the demand side and disrupt Apple’s iPhone production plan for that quarter TrendForce’s research finds that China’s domestic demand accounts for around 20% of the overall iPhone sales Assuming that the future performance of the global economy is not particularly positive, the effects of China’s ongoing “Dynamic Zero-COVID Policy” on the supply and demand sides will likely cause a downward correction to the quarterly iPhone shipment target Currently, iPhone shipments are forecasted to reach 52 million units for 1Q23 However, TrendForce is not ruling out a downward correction of 4~6 million units Furthermore, the YoY decline in iPhone shipments for 1Q23 could be widened further to more than 20% TrendForce’s investigation also indicates that Foxconn’s production of the Pro and Pro Max models will continue to exclusively take pace at the Zhengzhou base in the short term However, Apple is planning to spread the production-related risks for the iPhone Pro series by diverting orders to Luxshare and Pegatron Luxshare is expected to first benefit from the subsequent order transfer, and shipments of the iPhones made at its production lines may start as early as 1Q23 Even though the demand for iPhones will be much weaker during that period, spreading out orders will help Apple in its plan to take on other EMS providers for the next iPhone Pro series and lower the risk of relying too much on one production site to manufacture certain device models For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

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