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Press Releases
Surge of 4K Panel Shipments in April Reflects Switch in Strategy for TV Brand Vendors, Says TrendForce



The newest display panel shipment report from WitsView, a division of TrendForce, reveals that the combined shipments of the six largest panel makers in April totaled 1968M units, an 8% monthly decline but a 54% increase compared with the same period of the previous year Among them, only SDC maintained about the same shipment level as with the previous month, whereas the other five saw shipment decline On the whole, there were no noteworthy changes in the monthly total shipment volume with the exception of TV vendors stocking up 4K panels  WitsView’s shipment forecast for the second quarter finds the overall result from the Chinese Labor Day sales in China fell short of expectation Nonetheless, the excess panel capacity is being consumed by TV brand vendors stocking up 4K and large-size panels Furthermore, the yield rate differences among Gen 85 fabs has eased the concern of panel oversupply In sum, the overall shipment performance in the second quarter will be determined mainly by the results of 4K and large-size panels rather than the total shipment volume  And in the case of April’s 4K panel shipments, the six largest panel makers shipped a combined total of 31M units The penetration rate of the 4K panels in the overall panel market in April reached 16%, a 44% increase compared with March The changing product strategies from the TV brand vendors moreover drove the 4K panel market, where SDC enjoyed an outstanding 25% in brand penetration in April LGD, AUO, and Innolux by contrast saw 15% in their respective brand penetration WitsView’s analysis indicates that since the start 2015, international TV brands have shifted their focus to innovative and high-margin products with value-added features Consequently, large-size and UHD TVs are given more importance in their strategies A review of April’s 4K panel shipments by the six largest panel makers shows the 55-inch is still the most demanded size category with a monthly shipment increase of 35% 4K panels sized 48 inches, 49 inches, and 65 inches also posted impressive monthly growths of 208%, 345%, and 5% respectively 

Press Releases
TrendForce Says Global LCD TV Shipments Totaled 51.4M in Q1; Samsung and LGE Remains Top Vendors


Consumer Electronics

The global shipments of LCD TVs in the first quarter of 2015 totaled 514M units, according to the latest report from WitsView, a division of TrendForce This figure translates to a quarterly decline of 24% In addition to the first quarter being an off-peak season, there were other forces causing the shipment decline One factor was the lowering of spending power in Europe and the emerging markets due to the depreciation of their currencies The saturation of China’s domestic market was also another important reason  Samsung and LGE were still number one and two in the global LCD TV shipment rankings for the first quarter, with respectively 204% and 146% of the market shares The positions of the two top Korean brands have been solid even though they did not engage in aggressive promotional activities during the off-season Going forward, Samsung and LGE intend to secure their rankings with a strong product lineup Both have launched small-size, economical models and will be raising the shares of large-size and 4K models in their respective product mixes In the high-end market, the two top vendors are also aggressively promoting products based on the quantum dot technology  China-based vendors TCL and Hisense were in third and fourth place in the first quarter shipment rankings with 69% and 64% of the market shares They together have managed to push the Japanese electronics giant Sony down to the fifth spot The shipments of these Chinese brands were propped up by domestic demands generated during the Chinese New Year holidays Moreover, their overseas shipments were generally steady and unaffected by the changes in the global exchange rates On the whole, the Chinese brands saw their market shares edged up a bit compared with the previous year’s fourth quarter  Sony performed well in 2014, but it has decided to modify its strategy for 2015 The company is now focused on high-end and niche markets rather than pursuing shipment growths for their own sake Sony’s shipments in first quarter of this year reflected this strategy adjustment, and it ranked fifth place with 56% of the market share  WitsView’s second quarter outlook for the LCD TV market is toward the conservative side, with the projected quarterly shipment growth of just around 2% Samsung and LGE has revised their shipments downward as the euro and the Russian ruble remain relatively weak in the short term Furthermore, the market drive created by this year’s Chinese Labor Day sales is expected to pale in comparison with the past years’ 

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Q1 Smartphone Shipments Totaled 291.2M Units with Huawei Becoming Top Chinese Brand


Consumer Electronics

According to TrendForce’s latest research, the global smartphone shipments for the first quarter of 2015 reached 2912M units, a drop of 92% compared with the prior quarter The decline, which was larger than the initial estimation, was attributed to the weak smartphone market in China Looking ahead to the second quarter, TrendForce expects China’s internal market will reduce some of the overall inventory pressure during the coming Chinese Labor Day sales Based on TrendForce’s forecast, China’s smartphone market will see visible recovery in the latter half of the second quarter at the earliest, and the shipments of Chinese smartphone brands will reach 122M units in total, or a 148% increase over their first quarter shipments  Smartphone giants Samsung and Apple maintain their number one and two position, and the former is projected to ship over 80M units in the second quarter while the latter will ship approximately 45M Their second quarter shipments in turn will drive the overall global shipments to an estimated 311M units, translating to a quarterly growth of 68%  Samsung and Apple cement their position as no 1 and 2 with their exceptional worldwide performances  Samsung dominates the global smartphone market with 278% of the market share Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have successfully captured consumers’ attention in the first quarter Compared with Galaxy S5, the most recent models show substantial improvements in components specs The S6 Edge in particular has created a buzz with its main feature – a touch screen that curves to both sides of the phone TrendForce estimates the shipments of these two flagship models will surpass 20M units in the second quarter  Apple did remarkably well during the first quarter’s off-peak season The ongoing excitement for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove the first quarter shipments of all iPhone products to exceed 55M units Apple also set itself firmly as the number one sales brand in China in the first quarter, where the demand for iPhones is especially strong Chinese smartphone brands, on the other hand, found their domestic market shares being squeezed out by Apple’s presence   The weak smartphone demand in China during the first quarter did not have a significant impact on LG as its shipments mainly go to the US and Europe With the continuing recovery of the US economy, LG’s first quarter shipments reached 18M units LG has climbed to the fourth spot in the global smartphone market  Huawei is first among Chinese brands and takes third place in global ranking  The shipments of Chinese smartphone brands were lower than initially estimated Combined together, Chinese brands only managed to ship 106M units in the first quarter, posting a 127% quarterly decline According to TrendForce, the weak demand at home is attributed to several factors: the slowdown of China’s economy; lack of noticeable increases in subsidies offered by domestic telecom operators; and the success of iPhone in the first quarter Furthermore, the depreciation of euros and the simultaneous appreciation of US dollars has curtailed the export momentum of Chinese brands in Eurozone and emerging markets  Lenovo, which mainly relied on China’s demand and collaborations with domestic telecom operators, was also notably affected by the weak domestic demand Lenovo shipped 175M smartphone units in the first quarter This represented a significant quarterly decline of more than 20% Consequently, Lenovo’s slid to number five in the global ranking and lost its position as the top Chinese smartphone brand  Huawei was listed as one of the world’s top 100 brands in 2014, and is known as the first Chinese company to achieve such a feat The brand has gradually built an international image and has also established a strong presence outside China Thanks to its highly sought-after model, Ascend Mate 7, Huawei’s smartphone shipments in the first quarter exceeded 20M units Based on this result, Huawei is able to take Lenovo’s place as the number one Chinese brand  OPPO’s ongoing strong performance in Southeast Asia reduces some of the influence coming from the weak Chinese market OPPO shipped over 8M units in the first quarter The sales of RedMi and RedMi Note drove Xiaomi’s first quarter smartphone shipments, which reached 16M This translated to a quarterly decline of just 6% Meizu, by contrast, saw its first quarter shipments soared by 45% over the prior period due to the popularity of its high price-performance model, the m1 note     

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Six Chinese Cities Vie for the Site of DRAM Fabs as the Central Government Fully Backs Domestic Semiconductor Industry



On March 12, a Chinese consortium led by Summitview Capital announced its acquisition of Integrated Silicon Solution (ISSI), a fabless IC company listed on the NASDAQ, for 640 million USD And with this acquisition, the Chinese government has officially declared its entry into the semiconductor manufacturing sector The takeover of American-based ISSI is only the first step in the establishment of China’s domestic DRAM industry Based on the findings of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, China consumed around 102 billion USD of DRAM in 2014, representing around 20% of the worldwide turnover This huge internal demand is sufficient to support the development of a locally based DRAM industry  The newest reporting indicates that there are six local governments currently vying for central government’s approval to bring DRAM fabs to their areas Only one candidate will be chosen and once the fabs are built, China will start to put together a vertically integrated supply chain The consolidated companies in the upstream sector will be able to develop its own IPs and form strong links to the downstream sector In addition to the clustering effect that will prevent DRAM fabs from leaving the country, the scale of China’s economy and its equally vast market will ensure sustained growth for the entire industry  Beijing, Shanghai, Hefei, Wuhan, and two other cities compete to be the center of China’s semiconductor industry  Presently, there are six cities competing for the DRAM fabs, and prominent ones are Shanghai, Beijing, Hefei, and Wuhan Beijing is an important market for China’s IC design, and it is where many returning graduates from foreign universities have landed The city moreover has significant advantage in experts and expertise since it is the home of Tsinghua University, Institute of Microelectronics of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMECAS), and Beijing Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) Thus, Beijing is considered the main trading hub of China’s consumer electronics  Shanghai, on the other hand, has the SMIC headquarter, and SMIC as a major semiconductor foundry is at the top of the IC industry chain in China As for Hefei, it has in recent years gathered a group of talents in IC design with the help from the former CEO of Elpida Memory, Yukio Sakamoto On the whole, all candidate cities have the potentials becoming the home of DRAM fabs Their chances of success may be finally determined by the political influences and connections that local officials have with the central government  China’s semiconductor industry will affect the global DRAM market after three years at the earliest  The Chinese government is aware that despite the right conditions and preparations (capital, market, and government support), the country’s nascent DRAM industry still lacks industry-related professionals and advanced manufacturing technologies To address this issue, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2014 announced the establishment of the National IC Industry Investment Fund, which is worth 120 billion RMB This fund lets the country gain a foothold in the DRAM sector using the quickest method, which is through acquisitions In addition to the takeover of ISSI, Chinese investors have also set their sights on Taiwanese IC companies, which are known their strong R&D capabilities and global connections Currently, the island’s regulations prohibit Mainland-based investors from holding more than a 30% stake in a listed local company, either directly or indirectly Consequently, the Chinese may have to target American IC design houses or unlisted Taiwanese counterparts in order to increase China’s talent pool  Although the influence of China’s DRAM industry is becoming noticeable worldwide, DRAMeXchange expects the real effects will come later It will take at least two years to build the fabrication plants and have them do pilot runs As Chinese DRAM makers set up their manufacturing processes, they are likely to produce PC DRAM and specialty DRAM as their first line of products because they are technologically easier to make Mobile DRAM has experienced rapid growths in recent years However, it will take at least five to ten years before the Chinese DRAM makers can catch up with other first-tier manufacturers in terms of mobile DRAM production capacity  

Press Releases
TrendForce Says China’s DRAM Industry Takes Its First Step with SummitView’s Acquisition of ISSI



A consortium of Chinese investors led by Summitview Capital announced on March 12 that they have acquired Integrated Silicon Solution (ISSI), a fabless semiconductor company listed on the NASDAQ, for 640 million USD According to the findings of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, the consortium of investors include eTown MemTek, Hua Capital, Huaqing Jiye Investment Management, and Venture Capital Guiding Fund of Shanghai The guiding fund was created with the support of the government, while Hua Capital manages Beijing IC Industry Development Fund This deal, which reflects cooperation between major state-owned funds in Shanghai and Bejing, follows the Chinese government’s declaration to invest 120 billion RMB in the semiconductor industry last year DRAMeXchange indicates that the Chinese government is acting on its words and putting together the necessary technological capacities to create a complete DRAM industry  On the whole, the Chinese government has altered their approaches to the advancement of the country’s electronics sector Currently, China’s semiconductor imports (such as CPU, AP, DRAM, and Flash) actually exceed its petroleum imports, so substitution will take on greater significance in future policies In cell phone chip manufacturing, Chinese semiconductor company Tsinghua Unigroup is able to marshal the resources of its acquisitions, like Spreadtrum and RDA, and partners like Intel to achieve effective results With CPU, DRAM, and Flash accounting for a large portion of the import spending, the Chinese government is entering negotiations with DRAM makers and other semiconductor companies in Taiwan The state aims to radically improve the DRAM trade balance by taking the following initiatives: the integration of technology, HR, and advantages of international standards; and the combination of China’s market scale and Taiwan’s production technologies  China consumed 102 billion US dollars of DRAM in 2014, representing 20% of the global DRAM turnover The turnover for mobile DRAM in the same year reached 56 billion US dollars and took up 55% of DRAM turnover in China, whereas PC DRAM and server DRAM respectively accounted for 19% and 11% Also in 2014, notebook shipments in China reached 25 million units and desktop shipments totaled 32 million units, respectively representing 14% and 25% of the global market shares These figures show China’s DRAM consumer market has strong growth potential The findings of DRAMeXchange also indicate that the scale of China’s DRAM market is now the equivalent of two fabs capable of 100K productions per month The DRAM demands from consumer electronics will only grow bigger in the future with potential output value surpassing tens of billions of US dollars  Based in the United States, ISSI designs and markets DDR3, DDR2, and SDRAM The manufacturing of its products are outsourced to foundries such as TSMC and UMC Its revenue for 2014 was 320 million USD This merger is just the first step for the Chinese DRAM industry The next step for the central government will be choosing a province for setting up DRAM fabrication plants Presently there are five provinces competing for these fabs Then, the state will support consolidations in upstream supply chain in order for Chinese IC companies to develop their own technologies Xi’an Sinochip Semiconductors, for example, is an IC design house that owns IP and has strong linkages with the downstream sector Thus, it has a complete, vertically-integrated supply chain In sum, creating a clustering effect in the ecosystem of the semiconductor industry will keep fabs in China and ensure sustainable growth   

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