Semiconductor market news from DPE- December 13 to December 19

1、U.S. Still Undecided on Further Restricting China's SMIC

The Biden administration still has not decided whether to block more sales of u.s. technology to Chinesechipmaker SMIC, but raised the possibility of discussing with allies further restrictions on selling chip-making equipment to China, sources familiar with a Thursday meeting on the topic said.

Officials at the meeting of deputies from various U.S. agencies talked about a proposal to toughen sales to SMIC and other chipmakers in China, the sources said. The officials appeared to agree that the U.S. should work with friendly countries on a more restrictive policy, one source said.

Bloomberg earlier quoted news that the US government is considering stricter sanctions on SMIC to restrict China's access to advanced technology. The National Security Council of the United States met on Thursday (16th) to discuss this possible adjustment.

2、Global supply chain: Toyota extends Japan production stoppages

Toyota has announced that it will extend production stoppages at some factories in Japan as it continues to feel the impact of supply chain issues.

The world's largest carmaker said its components factories in South East Asia had faced disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Land Cruiser and Lexus production will be hit by the delays.

The company said that lost production from the latest halts will total about 14,000 vehicles in December.

However, the company also said it aimed to stick to its annual global production target for the year ending on 31 March: "We would like to maintain 9 million units, but we will keep a close eye on the situation."

3、UMC Board promises NT $ 76.27 billion in capital investment to procure equipment

United Microelectronics (UMC) has announced that its board of directors has approved a capital expenditure of NT $ 76.27 billion (US $ 2.72 billion) to purchase equipment for fabs in southern Taiwan.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and spokesperson Chitung Liu said: Central News Agency The planned capital investment is said to be used to procure new Phase 5 and 6 equipment at the 12A Fab in Tainan Science Park. Another spokesman said that spending was part of a Phase 6 budget investment and not new investment.

UMC’s 12AFab Phases 5 and 6 generate chips on 300mm wafers. Mr. Liu promised local media that he promised capital investment because of the limited number of suppliers of high-precision semiconductor manufacturing equipment for 28nm and 14nm manufacturing nodes, so he procured equipment that will be shipped in a few years. Lead times can take up to 30 months.

According to UMC’s disclosure on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on December 13, the company has just acquired a batch of equipment from Murata, reflecting optimism about the demand growth behind the equipment acquisition. increase.

4、Intel plans US$7 billion chip plant in Malaysia, expanding presence in Asia amid semiconductor shortage

Intel Corp is spending US$7.1 billion on new chip packaging facilities in Malaysia, a major investment to ramp up its global footprint and address a crippling global chip shortage it expects to persist until 2023.

The company is earmarking more than 30 billion ringgit toward expanding its capacity in the country, chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger told reporters Thursday. Part of that will bankroll a new packaging plant expected to begin production in 2024, he said.

The project marks a big bet on Malaysia, which is emerging as a global center for testing and assembling semiconductors. The US chipmaker intends to shore up its capabilities in the island state of Penang, creating a sprawling complex that will serve industries from cars to electronics across Asia.

5、Apple assembling new chip design team in Southern California

Apple might be bringing more of its chip production process in-house, since it announced it was establishing a new office designed to replace several crucial components that, until now, were developed by Skyworks and Broadcom, according to an initial Bloomberg report.

The newly formed office is slated to specialize in the development of "wireless radios, radio-frequency integrated circuits and a wireless system-on-a-chip," while also building "semiconductors for connecting to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi," added the report. Broadcom and Skyworks provide a vast array of the iPhone's third-party-sourced parts, according to iFixit's iPhone 13 Pro breakdown. But now, it seems Apple has decided to design its own chips for this hardware.

At present, one of the most significant third-party chips housed within the iPhone's modem is produced by Qualcomm. In the past, Apple had briefly pivoted to Intel parts amid a legal battle that lasted years. But it's not a big secret that Apple has laid plans to develop its own 5G chips, instead of relying on and paying the price for Qualcomm's. And there were many hints along the way: in 2019, Apple bought Intel's smartphone modem business for roughly $1 billion. Since then, its become known that Apple is considering pivoting to its own proprietary modems for its iPhones, possibly as early as 2023, according to a report from The Verge.

6、OPPO unveils its first self developed MariSilicon X NPU imaging chip

On December 14, the OPPO INNO Day 2021 event had officially kicked off. During this conference, the company unveiled a number of new technologies, which included its first self develop NPU chipset, the MariSilicon X.

The Chinese smartphone maker’s Founder and CEO, Chen Mingyong, showcased the new first self-developed chipset. As per the official announcement, the new MariSilicon X NPU is an imaging-based chipset that was independently designed and developed by the company. The senior executive stated that the chipset was named after the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the world. This particular name was set to signify the great depth of the company’s “imagination” and innovation.

During the announcement, the Founder also added that tech giants need to develop core technologies to be prepared for any challenges that they might face in the future. In other words, this chip is also its step towards more self-sufficiency. The new MariSilicon X is manufactured using the 6nm process from TSMC and seeks to improve the imaging performance of upcoming Oppo smartphones. The company further added that the new chipset will be available in handsets starting from next year.

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