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Press Releases
TrendForce Reports XMC to Be China’s Memory Base as It Gathers Technologies and Coordinates Nation’s DRAM Industry Development



On October 14, 2014, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the establishment of the National Integrated Circuitry Industry Investment Fund This announcement signaled China’s intent to create a competitive domestic semiconductor sector, starting with the DRAM industry Since the revelation of the policy, six major Chinese regional governments have been gathering technological, human and financial resources as they sought to attract the DRAM industry to settle in their provinces The region that secures the DRAM production base is expected to become the heart of the country’s semiconductor sector  After months of competition, MIIT’s semiconductor division led by its director general Ding Wenwu has set its sight on Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, as the center for DRAM industry development The city’s own semiconductor company, Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing (XMC) will spearhead the project and serve as the focal point of investments Zhao Haijun, COO and executive VP at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), is reported to lead XMC in fundraising DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports several domestic tech companies and investment groups will be joining MITT’s IC industry fund in this investment project, including SMIC, Hubei Science and Technology Investment Group, and Hua Capital The Wuhan venture will be the first official undertaking in the development of China’s DRAM industry Its goals are to eventually raise US$24 billion and create a long-term target capacity of 300K wafer starts per month  Set to become China’s memory base, XMC will gather DRAM, 3D-NAND and NOR under one roof  Established in 2006, XMC was an important strategic investment project backed by Hubei province and Wuhan city The company’s 12-inch wafer fab, which was completed and began production in 2008, initially operated under SMIC’s ownership When SMIC gave up ownership in 2013, XMC became an independent foundry supported by the city authority The company’s management team is composed of industry veterans with solid technological background Occupying roughly 87 acres of Wuhan’s New Technology Development Zone, XMC’s 12-inch wafer fab is currently the company’s only operating fab XMC’s earlier products were NOR flash memory Starting this year, however, XMC has been developing 3D-NAND flash technology in collaboration with Spansion, a US-based IC solution provider  As its fab is nearly at full capacity, XMC would need to build another 12-inch wafer fab as to accommodate the additional DRAM capacity load and satisfy potential demands DRAMeXchange expects XMC to have at least two 12-inch wafer fabs as it turns into a DRAM production center Moreover, XMC will lead China’s semiconductor industry as it is draws in DRAM, 3D-NAND flash and NOR technologies 

Press Releases
TrendForce Expects SMIC to See Benefits from Its Alliance with Qualcomm, Huawei and imec in 3~5 Years



Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China's leading semiconductor foundry, has announced it will set up an equity joint venture company that focuses on developing the next-generation CMOS logic technology SMIC’s partners include Chinese telecom giant Huawei, Belgian nano-electronic research institute imec, and Qualcomm’s affiliate company Qualcomm Global Trading Pte Ltd All of the participants signed the agreement on June 23  Known as SMIC Advanced Technology Research & Development (Shanghai) Corporation, this joint venture’s mission is to become the most advanced R&D center for integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing in China Its starting objective is to design its own 14nm processes that will later do pilot runs at SMIC’s fabs  The scale of the capital investment and the distribution of shares among partners have yet to be revealed However, SMIC is expected to have the controlling stake as its CEO/Executive Director Dr Chiu Tzu-Yin is the legal representative of the joint venture Yu Shaofeng, SMIC’s vice president, will also serve as the general manager of the new company Huawei, imec and Qualcomm will probably have relatively smaller stakes  With the monthly capacity of around 140K 8-inch wafers and 50K 12-inch wafers, SMIC is China’s largest pure-play foundry Its most advanced processes currently under mass production are the 40/45nm At the same time, it has also teamed up with clients in developing 28nm As for the 14nm, SMIC has yet to set a timetable for mass production  TrendForce finds SMIC’s partners for this international collaboration have the necessary expertise regarding 14nm manufacturing Even with the right partners, however, it will take at least three to five years before the Chinese foundry giant sees the results of its R&D efforts Besides the absence of immediate benefits, TrendForce also points out other issues with this joint venture  1) Huawei and Qualcomm’s conflicting interests  While Huawei has established a long-term relationship with Qualcomm, Huawei’s subsidiary HiSilicon is one of Qualcomm’s challengers The competing interests of these two companies will affect their level of commitment to the new R&D company, and this factor will spell success or failure for the entire project  2) imec excels at initial research of advanced manufacturing but has limited experience with actual mass production  imec is the top research center for advanced IC manufacturing process and materials in Europe Its tasks at hand include the 14nm node and the next-generation 7nm node However, much of the organization’s work is related to initial research and has limited contribution to the mass production of advanced chips imec’s early studies were also mainly based on 6- and 8-inch wafers, and there seems to be a lack of experience on the 12-inch  3) Obtaining HKMG and FinFET technologies will be crucial to SMIC’s R&D efforts  Since semiconductor manufacturing moved on to the 28nm process, industry players have also been working transistor design that would satisfy clients’ demands for low-power and high-performance ICs Currently, the key technologies in transistor architecture are HKMG (High K/ Metal gate) and FinFET Whether SMIC will be able to obtain such technologies from its partners will be critical in forming its own R&D capabilities as well as stepping up its expansion 

Press Releases
Impressive Shipment Performance of 4K TV Panels Cut Short in May with Market Penetration Down to 13.4%, According to TrendForce



The shipments of LCD TV panels in May totaled 2272M units, a 4% increase over the previous month and a 9% year-on-year increase, according to latest report from WitsView, a division of TrendForce However, 4K panel shipments had a 2% monthly decline, from April’s 31M units to 3M in May As a result, the market penetration of 4K panels also saw a slight drop from April’s 144% to May’s 136%  The outstanding shipment performance of 4K panels in April was owed to the stock up demand generated by the Chinese Labor sales The penetration rate for that month was 144%, a big leap from the first quarter’s 87% Nonetheless, the market calmed down after the sales event and the 4K penetration rate fell back down to 136% in May Among the major 4K panel makers, SDC, AUO and BOE saw increases in their 4K panel shipments; and their market shares also grew from 35%, 8% and 4% in April to 43%, 9% and 6% in May respectively Shipments weakened for LGD and Innolux by contrast, with panels sized 49, 50 and 55 inches contributed to the decline The most demanded size for 4K TV panel in May was still the 55-inch This size category saw its share in the 4K panel market increased from April’s 29% to May’s 31% Both the 49- and 50-inch came second in popularity, but their respective shares in the 4K panel market fell from 15% and 14% in April to 12% and 114% in May WitsView analysis indicates that this year’s outlook for 4K TV panels remains bright Despite encountering demand fluctuations during May, 4K models are still the stellar products for branded TV vendors during the upcoming holiday sales Moreover, the TV networks in the United States and Europe are actively expanding their 4K contents With this format expected to pique the market’s interest this year, the penetration rate of 4K panels is estimated to be at 17%, a significant increase from the 78% in 2014  For the latest report on LCD TV panel shipments, please see WitsView’s Monthly LCD TV Panel Supply Chain Tracker The report offers complete and up-to-date analysis on the display panel market 

Press Releases
TrendForce Sees Technology, R&D and IP to be Key Challenges as China Readies to Implement Its DRAM Strategy



China’s massive efforts to develop a domestic DRAM industry have become more apparent since the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the establishment of the National Integrated Circuitry Industry Investment Fund on October 14, 2014 With an initial size of 130 billion yuan RMB, the fund intends to gather all available resources for China’s IC sector through worldwide acquisitions and strategic alliances, according to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce Ding Wenwu, the director-general of MIIT’s semiconductor sector division, has established a detailed plan on how to proceed with the development of the industry Moreover, he has chosen top industry professionals to evaluate the fund’s performance Thus, the investment criteria will be mainly based on technological, financial and human resources that local governments are able offer rather than political considerations  Chinese semiconductor companies will likely to see changes at the management level and shifts in strategic alliances once a national R&D team for the DRAM industry has been formally established The construction of fabrication plants will help create an industry cluster that will gradually draw semiconductor companies and high-level talents in IC design and manufacturing outside China into the country With the existing IC manufacturing bases and companies serving as the foundation for development, forthcoming investments projects will involve bringing the local leading talents together and forming alliances between semiconductor and IC design companies Partnerships with the global top three DRAM manufacturers may also be in the works  While Chinese government has capital and market, its success rests on technology, R&D teams and IP  DRAMeXchange expects China, with its huge war chest and immense home market, will enter the global semiconductor industry via DRAM manufacturing However, the established players – Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron – control much of the intellectual property (IP) assets, creating a high entry barrier for newcomers For the Chinese competitors, mergers and acquisitions are now the fastest way for them to catch up to the big three DRAM suppliers in IP development The partnership agreement between Intel and Spreadtrum is one such example The deal brings many-fold benefits to both companies as the former has the technological know-how and the latter has a dominant position in the China market The Chinese government’s all-out efforts to bring IP assets to its fledgling DRAM industry is again seen in the acquisition of the US-based Integrated Silicon Solutions Incorporated (ISSI) by SummitView Capital, a Chinese investment consortium After a protracted negotiation, SummitView bought ISSI for 21 US dollars per share on June 11, outbidding its rival Cypress Semiconductor’s 2025 US dollars per share  China also eagerly seeks Taiwan’s semiconductor industry as a partner since the island’s IC manufacturers offers a wealth of technologies and experiences Recently, senior officials from Chinese provinces and cities have made personal visits to Taiwanese companies related to DRAM design and production Aside from exploring possibilities for collaboration, the Chinese representatives are also considering recruiting local talents as they are known for their strong R&D capabilities and top-tier global connections  DRAMeXchange’s latest research finds that with China set on developing its DRAM industry, its next few steps will be crucial Acquiring partners with the right technologies, experienced R&D teams, and IP assets will determine the schedule of mass production for DRAM products in China And this in turn will determine the overall result of the state’s policy Unlike NAND flash products, which can be used for lower-end products if the quality is subpar, DRAM products cannot be of poor quality regardless of their density When the manufacturing technology is in place, Chinese DRAM makers will first concentrate their production on PC and specialty DRAM products before advancing to mobile DRAM Though mobile DRAM has seen rapid growth in recent years, PC and specialty DRAM are less difficult to mass produce DRAMeXchange estimates it will take at least three to seven years for China’s IC industry to fully integrate hardware and software resources While the country’s DRAM makers will initially focus on satisfying internal demands, they certainly have their sights set on the global market 

Press Releases
TrendForce Revises 2015 Branded LCD TV Shipments to 223.4M Sets but Expects Rising Demands for 4K and Large-Size Products


Consumer Electronics

WitsView, a division of TrendForce, has revised the global LCD TV shipments for 2015 downward from 225 million sets to 2234 million according to its latest research The estimated yearly shipment growth rate has also been adjusted from 4% to 33% Several factors contribute to the revisions Firstly, the depreciation of both the euro and currencies of emerging markets has widen the losses for branded TV vendors Secondly, demands in China and other major markets are reaching saturation Thirdly, there is a lack of global sporting events that would stimulate TV sales And lastly, the shipment strategies of vendors have changed from achieving high volume to selling premium quality, high-margin products This in turn drives the market demands for 4K models and TV sets sized 50 inches and above  The 4K segment is this year’s main battleground where the brand vendors will try outdo each other in specs As technologies relating to curved-screen and high-color saturation have yet to mature, vendors will stick with the 4K models since these products offer better margins The Chinese Labor Day sales saw 4K TVs standing out in the market, representing over 30% of the total sales during the holidays They are also likely to become the main products on sales in the United States during the peak seasons in the second half of 2015, including the Black Friday sales Based on the above considerations, WitsView has revised this year’s global market penetration of 4K TVs upward from 146% to 154%  Another significant development in the LCD TV market is the vendors’ switch to TV of larger sizes as part of their overall quality over quantity strategy As a result of the expansion of Gen 85 production and promotional campaigns from vendors, the demand of the 50-inch and above models relative to other products has risen, from 182% in 2014 to 198% this year Their shipments have also increased from 394 million last year to 442 million this year, resulting a growth of 123% This shows the large-size segment has significant demand growth potential within the LCD TV market The 32-inch products by contrast are losing market shares because their demand is depressed across the emerging markets and their overall margin is getting too low for vendors WitsView estimates the shares of the shipments of the 32-inch models relative to other TV product shipments will fall, from 325% last year to 304% this year Although the 32-inch is still considered the mainstream in market in the short term, the shipment decline of this size category will inevitably be the biggest relative other sizes 

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