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Press Releases
TrendForce Expects Foxconn to Enter a New Phase of Vertical Integration in Mid- and Small-Size Panel Markets with the Acquisition of Sharp


Semiconductors / Display

After several rounds of long and difficult negotiation, major electronics brand Sharp finally accepted the acquisition offer made by Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) on February 25 This tie-up, which has been a trending topic within the global technology sector, will have a major and long-term impact on the display industry and the related panel application markets, according to WitsView, a division of TrendForce Among Sharp’s offerings, the LTPS panel technology is the most important prize for Foxconn One of the chief reasons behind Foxconn’s repeated and aggressive overtures to Sharp was the Japanese panel maker’s contribution to the small-size panel application WitsView’s analysis has ranked Sharp as one of the top three LTPS panel suppliers worldwide in 2015, accounting for about 18% of the global capacity This alliance therefore will immediately give a big boost to Foxconn’s small-size panel capacity Sharp’s expertise will also reduce Foxconn’s learning curve on planning and building fabs for LTPS products later on  In addition to being a very competitive contract manufacturer in terms of scale, Foxconn can now press home its vertical integration advantage by producing panels internally for high-end, mid-range and low-range smartphones Besides strengthening Foxconn’s relations with the US clients, this alliance will be instrumental in capturing other customers Other contract manufacturers may eventually fall further behind in the competition as they unable to reach the same level of integration as the leading Taiwanese electronics maker Sharp can also extend Foxconn’s ability to supply for mid-size applications, particularly related to products with IGZO thin-film transistor Sharp has over five years of experience developing IGZO thin-film transistor and is the first panel maker to mass produce IGZO panels for various devices Foxconn sees this technology as being highly complementary as the Taiwanese electronics assembler lacks related expertise WitsView anticipates that Foxconn in time will bring together Sharp’s IGZO panels and integrated touch solutions provided by its other subsidiary GIS under one mega production site The Sharp deal also has a huge implication in the large-size panel market Foxconn is expected to have greater influence over Sharp’s Gen-10 fab in Sakai, Japan Taking into account that Foxconn is also a majority shareholder of Innolux, the Taiwanese electronics giant will indirectly control an equivalent of 20% of the world’s large-size panel capacity after the completion of the acquisition  As for the future of Sharp-branded TVs, WitsView believes Foxconn will not pursue courses that could provoke conflicts of interests with its clients based on the company’s track record There have also been signs that the Sharp brand is gradually losing its influence Hence, the benefits that Foxconn get from Sharp’s large-size panel manufacturing and TV business will not be as notable as the benefits for the mid- and small-size panel applications With regards to reports of Foxconn using Sharp to enter the OLED market, WitsView finds that this speculation should be treated with some caution While the acquisition will bring in new capital that could be used for a joint OLED venture, Sharp may not be ready in terms of technological and manufacturing capabilities The Japanese maker for instance has yet to mass produce OLED panels From a corporate culture perspective, Foxconn’s strength lies in the integration of matured technologies rather than the deployment of new and untested technologies The prospect of a Taiwanese-Japanese alliance to invest in OLED manufacturing is there, but such venture would probably not reach economies of scale in the short term Overall, the possibility that a restructured Sharp could soon become a major OLED panel supplier is somewhat remote

Press Releases
Taiwan’s Earthquake Disrupted LCD Panel Supply and Halted the Price Decline of Mid-Size TV Panels in February, Says TrendForce



The powerful 64-magnitude earthquake that struck Tainan, Taiwan, on February 6 was a significant intervening variable in the LCD panel market during the off-peak season, reports WitsView, a division of TrendForce Besides causing damages to Innolux’s Gen-5 and Gen-6 fabs, the earthquake is expected to have reduced the capacities of other production facilities in the affected area by about 5~10% for the month WitsView anticipates that the supply disruption resulted from this earthquake will cause sharp price fluctuations in the panel market in the short term The price trends will return to their normal patterns in March, when panel fabs in Taiwan resume normal operation after repairs Among the large-size applications, TV panels were affected by the earthquake the most Innolux is the world’s sole supplier of 395-inch TV panels, which are made in its two Gen-6 fabs With the earthquake damaging one of these two Gen-6 fabs, Innolux’s clients switched to larger panels such as the 40- and the 43-inch to avoid supply shortage This shift in TV panel orders has in turn strengthened and stabilized the prices of mid-size products in the 395- to the 43-inch range Innolux is also the leading supplier of the 50-inch TV panels, and the earthquake did cause slight damage to its Gen-75 fab that produces this product Nonetheless, the average price of the 50-inch has fallen this month as well, albeit moderately by less than US$5 This limited decline was caused more by the earthquake’s psychological effects on the market than by the reduction of supply The earthquake did not disrupt the supply of TV panels sized 32, 49, 55 and 65 inches, so the weak overall demand and lackluster sales of TV sets during the Chinese holidays are still the overriding factors in their pricing during February The average quoted price of the 32-inch has fallen close to US$50 this month, while the 49- and the 55-inch have also dropped by US$6~8 The decline for the 65-inch are expected to be much greater, perhaps by around US$10~15 at the end of February The earthquake did not directly affect the monitor panel production, but Taiwanese suppliers suffered losses in their monitor panel inventories and have shifted some of their capacities originally for monitor panels to make TV panels In the short term, the supply will be tight for monitor panels sized 185, 215 and 28 inches However, prices of the 185-inch and the 215-inch products will still drop by US$05~1 in February since the main suppliers of the 185-inch are based in China and there are many panel makers capable of filling the 215 orders The price competition in the larger size segments (the 23-, the 236- and the 27-inch) have been fierce, and these products will see a drop of around US$1 this month as well Innolux’s Gen-5 fab, which devotes half of its capacity to notebook panels, suffered serious damages during this earthquake Nonetheless, WitsView expects the slumping notebook demand plus the high inventory level to continue exert a greater downward price pressure on all notebook panels in spite of the impact that the earthquake had on their supply For this month, the 14-inch and the 156-inch TN panels with HD resolutions have seen moderate price decline of about US$04~05, whereas the average price of FHD notebook panels has fallen by US$07 as these products expand their presence in the market The average price of 173-inch TN monitor panels with HD resolution has also fallen by US$05~06 this month on account of limited demand Please visit WitsView’s website at wwwwitsviewcom to get the latest information on price quotes for display panels 

Press Releases
Total Capital Expenditure of Top Three Semiconductor Manufacturers to Increase 5.4% YoY for 2016, Says TrendForce



The revenue of the global semiconductor foundry industry is projected to grow by just 21% year on year for 2016 on account of slowing end market demand and expanding supply, according to the global market research firm TrendForce The competition among major semiconductor manufacturers is therefore going to intensify as well The total capital expenditure (CAPEX) of the three leading manufacturers – Intel, TSMC and Samsung – is estimated to increase by 54% annually this year US-based Intel is projected to increase its CAPEX by 30% year on year to US$95 billion The CAPEX of Taiwan’s TSMC will also reach US$95 billion, representing a 17% annual increase South Korea’s Samsung on the other hand is going to scale back its CAPEX by 15% to US$115 billion TrendForce believes the CAPEX undertaken by these major manufacturers during 2016 will be reflected later in their 2017 revenue results TSMC’s main focuses this year are manufacturing R&D, expanding the market for its InFO technology and setting up its Nanjing fab TrendForce expects TSMC to concentrate on advancing its manufacturing technology as it is the only pure-play foundry among the three dominant manufacturers and does not compete directly with its clients TSMC will allocate about 70% of its 2016 CAPEX on manufacturing-related R&D, with most of this expenditure going towards developing the 10nm process This shows that TSMC is resolute in being ahead in the race to achieve 10nm manufacturing Additionally, investments on the integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging will account for 10% of the foundry’s CAPEX The InFO technology promises thinner, smaller products with improved heat dissipation and of consistent quality There are already some clients placing orders specifically for InFO, and the demand for this technology is expected to increase in the near future TSMC also intends to move closer to the enormous market in China and will be spending a total of US$3 billion on building a 12-inch wafer fab in Nanjing The company plans to invest US$500 million into the project this year, and larger investments will follow over the next two years The Nanjing fab is scheduled to be in operation in 2018 Samsung will give more weight to its semiconductor businesses this year as the outlook on its smartphone business is uncertain Samsung’s smartphone business during 2015 was impacted by sluggish demand and lack of product differentiation in the market Consequently, the electronics giant’s smartphone business suffered an annual revenue decline of 26% and an annual net profit loss of 206% The company’s semiconductor business on the other hand posted an impressive 20% annual revenue increase for the same year Memory and large-scale integration (LSI), which made up the two arms of Samsung’s semiconductor business, saw their annual revenues grew by 17% and 277% respectively TrendForce believes Samsung is going to rapidly branch out to other businesses this year since the outlook on the company’s smartphone business remains negative In particular, Samsung will redouble its efforts in the foundry service market and develop a more aggressive strategy to get semiconductor orders Samsung’s 2016 CAPEX is estimated at US$115 billion, out of which US$35 billion will be allocated to the LSI unit The company maintains the same level of capital investment on its LSI unit as last year Intel plans to retain its manufacturing leadership and expand its memory business Intel is currently the leader in the 14/16nm manufacturing However, its dominance in the CPU market since 1995 will be under threat if it is overtaken by TSMC and Samsung in the development of the 10nm technology The share of R&D in Intel’s 2016 CAPEX has been increased to about US$8 billion as the US chip maker strive to maintain its edge in the manufacturing technology Intel has been very active in the data center market as well Last year, the company introduced 3D-NAND and 3D XPoint technologies that it jointly developed with Micron Intel also announced that its logic IC fab in Dalian, China, is going to be converted into a NAND Flash plant at a cost of US$25 billion The chip maker will allocate about US$15 billion of its total CAPEX for this year to build on the progress it has made on the memory front

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Combined Shipments of Monitor and Notebook Panels Fell About 10% Annually in 2015 Due to Cooling Demand



The market for LCD panels for IT applications (monitors and notebooks) was generally quite sluggish during 2015 There was also a lack of interesting products that could stimulate replacement activities According to the latest large-size LCD panel shipment report from WitsView, a division of TrendForce, global shipments of monitor panels for 2015 fell 11% year on year to 1422 million units Global shipments of notebook panels were also down 8% from 2014 to 1761 million units AUO overtook Innolux to become the No 2 supplier of monitor panels WitsView’s report indicates that in-plane switching (IPS) technology stood out as one of few specification features that monitor vendors were able to use to differentiate their products during the slump in 2015 South Korea’s LG Display (LGD), which has a technological edge in manufacturing IPS panels, shipped 415 million units of monitor panels in 2015, holding on to almost 30% of the global market By maintaining a large shipment lead over the Taiwanese panel makers, LGD was ranked the top supplier of monitor panels for the year Taiwan’s AU Optronics (AUO) beat its compatriot Innolux to become the No 2 supplier of monitor panels for 2015 with 26 million units shipped AUO’s success was attributed to having products for every segment of the monitor market, from the high-end to the low-end Last year, Innolux encountered difficulties in its efforts to promote monitor panels featuring vertical alignment (VA) technology The panel makers also faced strong competition from Chinese rivals in its main product segments Hence, Innolux’s monitor panel shipments for 2015 plummeted 28% year on year to just 255 million units It slid to No 3 in the shipment ranking BOE Technology (BOE) was ranked No 4 in monitor panel shipments with 201 million units BOE’s monitor product mix strategy for last year reflected an emphasis on mainstream size segments, such as the 185-inch and the 215-inch Samsung Display Corp (SDC) shifted towards the high-end of the monitor market Hence, the panel maker ended up in the fifth place with 198 million units shipped BOE’s notebook panel shipments grew despite market headwinds WitsView has found that notebook panel shipments for 2015 depended mainly on the dealings between panel makers and notebook vendors since the differences among panel sizes in the notebook application is not as noticeable as in the monitor application LGD’s notebook panel shipments for 2015 reached 466 million units, accounting for 265% of the global market By strengthening its relationships with US notebook vendors, LGD retained its title as the No 1 notebook supplier worldwide Innolux’s notebook panel shipments were weak last year because the global notebook panel market suffered rising inventories in the mainstream-size segments Though the panel maker kept its second-place position in the ranking, its shipments fell 17% year on year to just 411 million units Among the top five suppliers of notebook panels, Innolux had the largest shipment decline in 2015 AUO has kept up with the trend towards HD displays in the notebook market and quickly shifted to producing Full HD notebook panels It has also been ahead of its competitors in the development of on-cell touch panel (OTP) technology The Taiwanese panel maker therefore came in third in the notebook panel shipment ranking for 2015 with a total of 367 million units By contrast, SDC’s strategy in this application market was more conservative SDC’s notebook panel shipments for 2015 stood at 303 million units The relatively average performance put the South Korean panel maker in the fourth place of the ranking With its expanded capacity, BOE began aggressively courting US notebook clients in the second half of 2015 Though BOE remained in the fifth place in the ranking, it was the only suppliers among the top five that saw growth in the downbeat market environment The Chinese panel maker shipped 15 million units of notebook panels in total, up 9% from 2014

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Intel’s 3D XPoint to Shake High-End SSD Market in 3Q16 – New Technology Over 7X Faster vs. Traditional SSDs and Will Complement Kaby Lake CPU



Aiming to enhance the efficiency of OEM system products and widen the lead over trailing competitors in the SSD market, Intel plans to ship its next-generation SSD memory products in the third quarter of 2016 The new products, which are sold under the name “Optane,” will be based on a new non-volatile memory technology known as 3D XPoint Moreover, their shipments will also complement the release of Kaby Lake, the successor to Skylake processor platform DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, expects that the launch of 3D XPoint products next year will make Intel a strong threat to memory leader Samsung, especially in the high-end SSD market According to DRAMeXchange, the high-end SSD market will receive a lot of attention in the near future as the rivalry between Intel and Samsung heats up Samsung’s new memory products, which are currently under development and scheduled for launch in the middle of next year, will incorporate the company’s technological strengths in both DRAM and NAND Flash manufacturing 3D XPoint memory greatly surpasses the current mainstream products in efficiency and endurance Compared with traditional SSDs, 3D XPoint SSDs are on average over seven times as fast in terms of IOPS (input/output operations per second) and over eight times as quick in terms of read latency period Moreover, 3D XPoint SSDs have a high endurance level (measured in program/erase, or P/E, cycles) comparable to that of SLC-SSDs Intel will introduce 3D XPoint to both the high-end server and the PC markets, with PC-OEMs sampling the Optane products in the middle of 2016 During the client sampling period, Intel will also be launching its latest processor platform Kaby Lake that are designed to support the new memory technology  Based on DRAMeXchange’s analysis, Optane’s arrival will first impact the high-end Flash SSD market because the new class of memory will be between most DRAM and NAND Flash memory products in price per gigabyte

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