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Press Releases
Smartphone Production Expected to Return to Pre-Pandemic Level for 2022 with 1.39 Billion Units, Says TrendForce

2021/11/17

Consumer Electronics

Smartphones are essential to people’s daily lives and constitute a basic necessity TrendForce therefore expects the smartphone industry to rebound and post marginal growth next year, assuming that economic activities worldwide will mostly return to normal by then The main trend drivers in the smartphone market next year are still going to be the usual device replacement cycle and the additional demand from emerging markets TrendForce expects annual smartphone production for 2022 to reach about 139 billion units and the YoY growth rate hitting 38% Expanding market share will be very challenging for smartphone brands due to fierce competition Samsung’s smartphone production for 2022 is expected to reach 276 million units, a 11% YoY growth The company continues to reorganize and extend its product series The integration of the Galaxy Note series with the Foldable series, the continuation of the S-Pen, etc are some of the moves that Samsung has taken to maintain its market share in the high-end segment Moreover, Samsung has increased the outsourcing portion of its device manufacturing in order to make its mid-range and low-end models more cost competitive However, advances in device design and manufacturing will only intensify the competition in developed markets In the emerging markets, demand will continue to concentrate on entry-level models Hence, Samsung will have increasing difficulty in growing its market share as most of its offering do not target the demand for entry-level products This also means that retaining market share will become more challenging for the brand Apple is set to release the latest model in its iPhone SE lineup (ie, the third-generation SE), featuring a 47-inch display, A15 SoC, and 5G support, by the end of 1Q22 Other than these features, the rest of the new SE’s hardware specifications will be similar to those of the second-gen SE In this regard, the new SE can be seen as an invaluable asset with which Apple attempts to enter the mid-range 5G smartphone segment In 2H22, the company will keep to its tradition of announcing four new models, two of which will feature a 61-inch display, while the other two will feature a 67-inch display Although the release of these five new handsets will likely help Apple increase its market share next year, this increase will be constrained by the fact that Apple will have to raise the retail price of its smartphones in order to keep up with rising component prices and ensure some profitability TrendForce therefore expects Apple’s smartphone production for 2022 to reach 243 million units, representing a 54% YoY growth and the second highest volume among all smartphone brands Given that demand will unlikely increase by a significant margin in the domestic Chinese smartphone market next year, the three major Chinese brands, including OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo, will primarily depend on overseas sales for their smartphone market share growths It should be pointed out that TrendForce’s calculation of Xiaomi’s production volume also includes handsets released by the brand’s subsidiaries Mi, Redmi, POCO, and Black Shark Thanks to Xiaomi’s relatively early expansion in the overseas markets, as the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control, Xiaomi is expected to benefit the growth of its overseas sales and register a smartphone production of 220 million units, representing a 158% YoY growth and the third highest volume among all brands Fourth-ranked OPPO sells its smartphones globally under three brands: OPPO, Realme, and OnePlus TrendForce expects OPPO group’s annual smartphone production for 2022 to reach 208 million units, a 25% YoY growth Regarding product planning, OPPO is relatively similar compared with Xiaomi, as both of these brands differentiate between various markets and client bases through subsidiaries Likewise, OPPO has in recent years actively expanded its peripheral ecosystem businesses, such as software services and additional consumer items, in order to improve its profitability for the year Finally, Vivo will take the fifth rank next year by producing almost 150 million handsets, a 64% YoY growth This brand depends heavily on its customers’ cyclical replacement demand for its sales Therefore, while the Chinese smartphone market, which is Vivo’s primary sales region, becomes increasingly saturated, the brand’s room for growth next year will also be relatively limited In addition, as HONOR will also aggressively look to capture market shares in China, the production volumes of OPPO and Vivo will be further constrained next year Annual 5G smartphone production for 2022 is expected to reach about 660 million units despite slowing growth rate Thanks to the Chinese government’s active push for 5G commercialization for the past two years, the global market share of 5G smartphones will likely hit 374% in 2021, with about 500 million units produced throughout the year Going forward, now that the market share of 5G smartphones has surpassed 80% in China, the smartphone industry will shift its focus of 5G development to other regional markets However, because countries vary in the progress of 5G infrastructure build-out, and 5G service plan fees are higher than 4G fees, the growth of 5G market share now appears to be slowing As such, TrendForce expects 5G smartphone production for 2022 to reach about 660 million units, translating to a market share of 475% for 5G handsets in the overall smartphone market On the other hand, the growing market share of 5G smartphones also generates a corresponding growing demand for components Given the increased shipment in servers, IoT devices, and EVs, foundries will find it even harder to manufacture enough components for 5G handsets since foundry capacities are already stretched to their limits What this also means is that the market share of smartphone brands will depend on how successful they are in booking foundry capacities Smartphone brands’ scramble for foundry capacities, however, may in turn result in overbookings or uneven allocation of capacities to components, thereby further exacerbating the mismatched availability of smartphone components Hence, if the actual demand from smartphone buyers falls short of expectations, TrendForce believes that smartphone brands may be forced to adjust their inventories once again in 2H22 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
Explosive Growth of Commercial Opportunities Driven by Metaverse Projected to Generate Improvements in Computing Cores, Telecommunications, and Display Technologies, Says TrendForce

2021/11/16

Semiconductors / Display / Telecommunications / Emerging Technologies

By leveraging advantages such as lifelike interaction and virtual simulation, the metaverse will enable the growth of various applications ranging from virtual meetings, digital modeling and analysis, to virtual communities, gaming, and content creation, in the infancy of its development According to TrendForce’s latest investigations, constructing the metaverse, which is more complex than the existing internet world, requires more powerful data processing cores, networking environments capable of transferring enormous data, and user-side AR/VR devices with improved display performances These requirements will further drive forward the development of memory products, advanced process technologies, 5G telecommunications, and display technologies Regarding memory products, the conceptual framework of the metaverse is heavily contingent on the support provided by compute nodes The data center industry will therefore experience more catalysts brought about by the metaverse, and there will be a corresponding growth in micro-servers and edge processing applications The metaverse will also require an increase in the performance of storage devices This means that SSDs, which are substantially faster than HDDs in writing data, will become an indispensable storage solution On the DRAM front, take VR devices as an example; most existing devices are equipped with 4GB LPDRAM, which has the dual advantage of low power consumption and high performance In the short run, manufacturers will not plan to massively upgrade the applications processors in these devices, which also operate in relatively simple processing environments Hence, the growth in VR devices’ DRAM density will remain relatively stable In terms of storage, on the other hand, because most AR/VR devices are equipped with Qualcomm chips whose specifications closely resemble those of flagship smartphone SoCs, AR/VR devices will also feature UFS 31 solutions Regarding advanced process technologies, the integration of AI and the increase in demand for computing power have resulted in a corresponding demand for high-performance chips, which enable improved graphics rendering and computation of massive amounts of data Advanced process technologies allow the production of high-performance chips that deliver enhancements in performance, power consumption, and chip size The realization of the metaverse requires high-performance chips for data and graphics processing, so high-performance CPUs and GPUs will assume key roles in this regard TrendForce’s investigations indicate that, with respect to CPUs, the current mainstream products from Intel and AMD are manufactured at the Intel 7 node (equivalent to the 10nm node) and TSMC’s 7nm node, respectively, and the two companies will migrate to TSMC’s 3nm and 5nm nodes in 2022 With regards to GPUs, AMD’s wafer input plans for GPUs are basically in lockstep with its plans for CPUs, whereas Nvidia has been inputting wafers at TSMC’s 7nm node and Samsung’s 8nm node Nvidia is currently planning to input wafers at the 5nm node, and the resultant GPUs will likely be released to market in early 2023 Regarding networking and telecommunications, due to the metaverse’s demand for virtual interactions that are instant, lifelike, and stable, greater attention will be paid to the bandwidth and latency of data transmissions 5G communication is able to meet this demand as it features high bandwidth, low latency, and support for a greater number of connected devices Hence, the arrival of the metaverse will likely bring about the commercialization of 5G-related technologies at an increasingly rapid pace Notably, some of these 5G technologies that are set to become the backbone of network environments powering the metaverse include SA (standalone) 5G networks, which delivers greater flexibility via network slicing; MEC (multi-access edge computing), which increases the computing capabilities of the cloud; and TSN (time sensitive networking), which improves the reliability of data transmissions In addition, 5G networks will also be combined with Wi-Fi 6 in order to extend the range of indoor wireless connections In light of their importance in enabling the metaverse, all of these aforementioned technologies have become major drivers of network service development in recent years Regarding display technologies, the immersive experiences of VR/AR devices depend on the integration of higher resolutions and refresh rates In particular, an increase in resolution will receive much more attention in the market now that Micro LED and Micro OLED technologies have gained gradual adoption as display technologies shrink in terms of physical dimensions As well, the traditional 60Hz refresh rate can no longer satisfy the visual demands of advanced display applications, meaning display solutions with higher than 120Hz refresh rates will become the mainstream going forward In addition, the metaverse’s emphasis on interactivity demands display technologies that are not limited by traditional physical designs The market for flexible display panels, which allow for free form factors, is expected to benefit as a result At the same time, the metaverse is also expected to generate some demand for transparent displays, which serve as an important interface between the virtual world and real life For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
DRAM Industry’s Revenue Rises by 10% QoQ for 3Q21 Thanks to Slight Shipment Growth and Ongoing Quote Hikes, Says TrendForce

2021/11/16

Semiconductors

DRAM buyers were aggressively stocking up during 1H21 because quotes began to rise at the start of the year, and there were concerns about shortages in the supply chain, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations To avoid the risk of a supply crunch, most DRAM buyers kept raising their demand until the middle of the year Moving into this second half of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated component gaps, the adverse effect of which on OEMs’ ability to assemble their end products has widened as well Due to having a glut of memory and a shortage of other key components, some OEMs have opted to scale back DRAM procurement PC OEMs have especially become noticeably restrained in this regard Fortunately, the server-related segment of the market has been propping up the overall demand; and because of this, most DRAM suppliers were able to post a marginal growth in shipments for 3Q21 Additionally, quotes for DRAM product also kept rising in 3Q21 On account of these factors, the quarterly total DRAM revenue rose again by 102% QoQ to US$266 billion for 3Q21 Regarding 4Q21, DRAM buyers that are already carrying a high level of inventory will probably adopt an even more conservative stance, as OEMs are still affected by component gaps in the supply chain while also preparing for stock-taking at the end of the year Without adequate demand for support, DRAM prices on the whole are going to make a downward turn in 4Q21 and thereby end this short three-quarter period of cyclical price upturn Also, since 4Q21 is going to be the first quarter in the general downtrend in quotes, buyers anticipate further price reductions in the future and are more reluctant to stock up in the near term Declines in quotes will continue to widen as a result With demand shrinking and prices falling, the DRAM industry will inevitably experience a drop in revenue as well DRAM suppliers saw higher profits in 3Q21 because of rising prices and growth in output shares of more advanced process technologies Looking at the performances of individual DRAM suppliers for 3Q21, the three dominant suppliers all had positive revenue growth but diverged slightly in bit shipments Samsung and Micron posted a small QoQ increase in their respective bit shipments, whereas SK hynix posted a small QoQ drop The rise in quotes was able to offset the weakening momentum in bit shipments, so the top three suppliers managed to again raise their revenues from the previous quarter Samsung’s, Sk hynix’s, and Micron’s QoQ revenue growth rates came to 11%, 8%, and 12% respectively While their growth rates were still around the 10% level, they were more modest compared with the previous quarter In the ranking by revenue market share, Samsung remained at the top with its market share expanding further to 44% SK hynix and Micron were still at second and third place respectively The former’s market share shrank a bit to 272% due to the decline in bit shipments, whereas the latter’s market share grew slightly to 229% In terms of profitability, 3Q21 saw continuing improvements thanks to rising quotes and growth in the output shares of the more advanced process technologies Samsung raised its operating margin to 53% in 3Q21 as the share of 1Z nm products in its output kept growing As such, Samsung’s operating margin reached almost to the high of nearly three years ago Likewise, SK hynix’s operating margin grew to 47% in 3Q21 because of the increase in the output share of 1Z nm products As for third-largest supplier Micron, the increase in its ASP for its latest fiscal quarter (June to August) is similar to the increases in the two South Korean suppliers’ respective ASPs for 3Q21 Its operating margin also rose to 42% for this period Moving into 4Q21, TrendForce expects the slide in DRAM prices to be an inescapable trend Whether individual suppliers will be able to maintain a high level of profitability depends on their own progress in process migration and yield rate improvement While the specialty DRAM market weakened in 3Q21, Taiwanese suppliers trailed closely behind the three dominant suppliers Compared with mainstream DRAM products, specialty DRAM underwent a higher magnitude of price hikes in 1H21 Hence, as demand for TVs and other consumer electronics fell in 3Q21, and supply chain disruptions persisted, clients in turn reduced their DRAM procurement This reduced demand indirectly impacted the revenue performances of Taiwanese suppliers, which primarily target the consumer electronics market Nanya Tech continued to raise its quarterly ASP in order to offset weak shipment The company’s revenue increased by about 6% QoQ in 3Q21, while its operating profit margin also increased from 312% in 2Q21 to 381% in 3Q21 due to the price hike Winbond benefitted from high demand for its low-density (1/2Gb) products and recorded a nearly 13% QoQ increase in DRAM revenue in 3Q21 Among all Taiwanese suppliers, Winbond registered the strongest revenue growth during the quarter Nevertheless, TrendForce’s investigations also find that the physical spaces within the two aforementioned Taiwanese suppliers’ fabs are now fully occupied, meaning the suppliers are unable to install additional equipment in these fabs before building new fabs Hence, these suppliers’ financial performances will be heavily impacted by their ASPs in the short run For instance, Nanya Tech’s new facilities will not contribute to DRAM production until construction finalizes in 2024 In the short run, Nanya Tech is able to slightly increase its DRAM bit shipment only through migrating to the advanced 1A/1B nm process technologies Similarly, Winbond will be able to continue expanding its production capacity only after its new fab located in Luzhu, Kaohsiung kicks off mass production in 2H22 As for PSMC, its revenue from sales of PC DRAM products manufactured in-house increased by about 6% QoQ in 3Q21 However, PSMC’s total revenue from both sales of in-house DRAM and its DRAM foundry business increased by 12% QoQ in 3Q21 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
Gan Solutions Expected to Surpass 50% Penetration Rate in Fast Charge Market in 2025 due to Increased Demand for 100+ Watt Fast Chargers, Says TrendForce

2021/10/26

Semiconductors

Apple recently unveiled its 140W MagSafe charger for the new MacBook Pro, marking the first time that Apple is adopting GaN technology As such, 100+ watt fast charge products have thus entered a period of growth, in turn accelerating the adoption of third-generation semiconductor devices in consumer applications, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations While GaN power transistor prices have dropped to nearly US$1 as of now, and GaN fast charge technologies continue to mature, TrendForce expects GaN solutions to reach a 52% penetration rate in the fast charge market in 2025 TrendForce also indicates that the vast majority of GaN fast chargers’ peak power fell within the 55W-65W range in 2020 GaN fast chargers with 55W-65W of peak power accounted for 72% of all GaN fast charger sales last year, with 65W being the mainstream, whereas GaN fast chargers with 100W and more in peak power accounted for only 8% Even so, the outlook for these high-power fast chargers appears relatively promising, as more and more companies release their own high-power fast chargers in response to consumers’ increasing energy consumption demand Fast chargers with a peak power of 140W are the most powerful solution currently available Within the 100+ watt product category, GaN fast chargers have reached a penetration rate of 62% These chargers are primarily supplied by Navitas and Innoscience With a market share of more than 70%, Navitas’ GaN chips are used in products from Baseus, Lenovo, and Sharge, among others On the other hand, PFC+LLC combo controllers have become the mainstream solution for 100+ watt fast chargers as these controllers allow for higher efficiency and smaller physical dimensions The combination of SiC diodes and GaN switches results in increased PFC (power factor correction) frequency As such, major manufacturers have quickly adopted the GaN+SiC wide bandgap semiconductor combo for their fast chargers For instance, Baseus released the world’s first ever 120W GaN (supplied by Navitas) + SiC (supplied by APS) fast charger in 2020 and saw excellent reception from the market SiC power device suppliers, including Global Power Technology, Maplesemi, and onsemi, have also been ramping up their shipments to PD (power delivery) fast charger manufacturers It should be pointed out that the fast charge interface has gradually become a standard feature in cars In light of the rise of the high-power in-car charging market, the power consumption and maximum battery capacity of electronic products will propel the widespread application of third-generation semiconductors, including GaN and SiC, going forward 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
Global Ranking of Top 10 SSD Module Makers for 2020 Shows 15% YoY Drop in Annual Shipment, Says TrendForce

2021/10/25

Semiconductors

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic led to severe delays in manufacturing and logistics In particular, governments worldwide began implementing border restrictions in 2Q20 to combat the ongoing health crisis, leading to a sudden decline in order volumes for channel-market SSDs, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations Annual shipment of SSDs to the channel (retail) market reached 1115 million units in 2020, a 15% YoY decrease In terms of market share by shipment, Kingston, ADATA, and Kimtigo once again occupied the top three spots, respectively Looking at the channel market for SSDs as a whole, NAND Flash suppliers (among which Samsung possessed the largest market share) accounted for around 35% of the total shipments in 2020, while SSD module makers accounted for the other 65% The top 10 module makers accounted for 71% of channel-market SSD shipments from all SSD module makers Taken together, these figures show that the market remained relatively oligopolistic in 2020 However, it should be noted that TrendForce’s ranking of SSD module makers for 2020 takes account of only products bound for the channel market and under brands owned by the module makers themselves; NAND Flash suppliers were therefore excluded from the top 10 ranking As the pandemic eliminated tier-2 and tier-3 suppliers at an increasingly rapid pace, the collective market share of the top 10 module makers continued to rise Kingston demonstrated the competitive advantage that it derived from having a global strategy while the pandemic took place The company saw its market share increase by 1% against market headwinds in 2020 and comfortably took the number one spot among the top 10 SSD module makers At the same time, Kingston sourced its SSD controller ICs from a diverse group of suppliers in order to avoid potential issues with SSD production due to insufficient foundry capacities By ensuring a stable supply of controller ICs, Kingston will likely raise its market share even further going forward On the other hand, ADATA had previously shifted the focus of its R&D and manufacturing operations to SSD products Not only did ADATA release high-end products ahead of most of its competitors, but it also raised its markets share thanks to the increased demand for its gaming products during the pandemic ADATA took the second spot on the top 10 list Kimtigo, ranked third on the list, shifted its focus to mid-range and high-end products due to their relatively high profitability Furthermore, Kimtigo successfully expanded its market share both overseas and online, in turn taking the number one position in China In light of China’s policies prioritizing domestic semiconductor production as well as Kimtigo’s ongoing efforts to cultivate a presence in tier-3 and tier-4 cities in China, the company will likely continue to increase its market share going forward Netac similarly possessed comprehensive sales networks in China and the overseas markets, in addition to having committed to long-term developments in online sales channels As the pandemic drove up online sales last year, Netac was able to leapfrog to fourth place in the rankings Likewise, Lexar saw a slight growth in its market share last year due to not only the comprehensive global sales network it had previously developed, but also its gradually maturing manufacturing operations and aftersales customer services The COVID-19 pandemic drove up orders for Teclast’s self-branded notebook computers and displays As a result, Teclast’s shipment of SSDs last year underwent an increase that in turn led to a corresponding increase in its market share As for Colorful and Galaxy, the two companies primarily focused on the gaming market Hence, the increase in demand for gaming consoles and high-end notebooks allowed Colorful and Galaxy to enjoy increased visibility in the SSD market Lenovo’s shipments fell slightly in 2020 because the other competing brands increased their efforts in developing the overseas markets As a result, its place in the ranking also dropped from 2019 As the ranking indicates, the competition among brands in the Chinese market remained very intense There is the possibility that the brands’ positions in the ranking will undergo more reshuffling for 2021 It should be pointed out that TrendForce has noted the participation of additional brands in the SSD module market in recent years One such brand is Gigabyte, which has registered remarkable performances Gigabyte grew its shipment of SSD products by more than 30% YoY in 2020 through leveraging its preexisting reputation in the motherboard and graphics card markets Although Gigabyte has yet to enter the top 10 list at the moment, it will likely do so within the coming years thanks to its comprehensive global sales network and the growing visibility of its SSD products Rise of YMTC strengthens China’s domestic NAND Flash production, and Chinese SSD manufacturers are gradually gaining a brand advantage As the trend of the localization of semiconductor manufacturing comes to the forefront of the Chinese memory market, YMTC is carrying out a massive capacity expansion plan In terms of layer technology, YMTC is steadily advancing to 128L and catching up to the major NAND Flash suppliers Among Chinese SSD brands, Biwin secured financial support from the China IC Industry Investment Fund (the Big Fund) this September; it is now expanding the production capacity of its plant in Huizhou Besides this, Biwin has also acquired sufficient product development capability to meet clients’ demand for customized products and services The company is therefore expected to experience a wave of growth in the future Turning to Taiwan-based SSD brands, Liteon’s shipments of branded SSDs have slowed down significantly after the company was fully incorporated into Kioxia in July 2020 Due to certain considerations pertaining to the allocation of internal resources, Kioxia will assign the Liteon SSD team to support the development of SSDs for PC OEMs In the future, Kioxia’s focus will not be on brand development As for other Taiwan-based SSD brands, they will unlikely return to the top 10 ranking because they have not been able to catch up to the brands based in Mainland China with respect to the economies of scale TrendForce believes that Taiwan-based brands will continue to be on the decline PCIe G4 SSDs become new main offerings, and module makers have adopted QLC solutions The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to a significant increase in the average memory density of SSDs this year With 512GB becoming the mainstream capacity size, the cost advantage of QLC will become increasingly recognizable Hence, module makers will be introducing QLC products into their SSD offerings In the aspect of interface technologies, the proportion of SATA in the retail SSD market has been declining over the years, and module makers are switching to PCIe for their new products TrendForce’s research finds that PCIe products accounted for almost 30% of retail SSDs shipped in 2020 With shipments of PCIe G4 SSDs expected to grow rapidly in the future, module makers will assign PCIe as the mainstream interface for new products Also, an increasing number of Chinese IC design houses are now involved in the development of SSD controller ICs This, in turn, has led to more PCIe G4 SSD controllers entering mass production As China pursues the localization of semiconductor manufacturing, module makers will be tested to develop suitable solutions that can maintain growth in the Chinese market 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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