Semiconductor market news (July 18 to July 24) | Global Manufacturers See Chip Shortage Easing…

1. Global Manufacturers See Chip Shortage Easing

Hyundai Motor Co, factory robot builder ABB and Swedish fridge maker Electrolux see the semi-conductor chip shortage easing, executives said on the 21st, in a boost for manufacturers after a long struggle for components.

Hyundai Motor said it has resumed overtime and weekend shifts at domestic plants as the global chip shortage eases, and plans to step up vehicle production in the second half to meet consumer demand.

ABB, a big supplier to the automotive industry, said Supply chain problems are easing, Production capacity at chip manufacturers was increasing, while demand from other sectors, such as consumer electronics, seemed to be lower, allowing more chips to be allocated to industrial customers like ABB. ABB stressed that it does not mean that chip shortages are no longer a problem and that it should be less likely to delay deliveries to customers at least in the second half of 2022.

Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia is optimistic that the global semiconductor shortage to ease later this year, In the last quarter, Nokia, which was also suffering from insufficient chips, made a profit that far exceeded market expectations in the latest quarterly report.

Sweden's Electrolux missed second-quarter profit expectations on Thursday hit by supply chain problems and a loss in its North American business. However, Europe's largest home appliance maker is optimistic that the company is gradually returning to a more normalized supply environment, with chip and component supply looking better in the third and fourth quarters versus the preceding quarters, but he still warns that future The risk of continued disruption risks ahead related to COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis.

2. ASML Warns That Chip Ban Against China Will Be Disruptive to the Global Supply Chain

ASML, the top European chip equipment supplier has warned that the semiconductor supply chain will be disrupted if the US forces them to sell its mainstream equipment to China.

The US proposes restrictions in which ASML will not be able to sell their mainstream Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) lithography tools to China as well, according to Bloomberg. DUV is a critical part as it is used to make a huge chunk of widely-used chips that can power PCs, mobile electronics, services, autonomous vehicles, and robots.

According to Peter Wennink, the CEO of ASML, "I think we need to realize that China is an important player in the semiconductor industry, especially not in the matured node, but also mainstream semiconductors. It is a very significant supplier of the global markets. So we just have to be careful what we're doing."

He also said that the world can't ignore the fact that China has a chip manufacturing capacity that contributes to the global electronics market.

3. SMIC has started shipping 7nm process chips

According to analyst firm TechInsights, Chinese foundry SMIC has begun shipping chips for a Bitcoin miner SoC since July 2021 based on its 7nm process node. SMIC has produced what appears to be an almost flawless 7 nm node despite not having access to sophisticated semiconductor production tools and US restrictions placed on it. As the node develops in SMIC’s labs, this could eventually result in real 7nm logic and memory bitcells.

The TechInsights study say that TSMC, Intel, and Samsung have all created technologies that are at least two nodes more advanced than SMIC’s 7nm and significantly more sophisticated. Early in 2020, SMIC first revealed their 7nm node, and later that year, it and partner Innosilicon revealed they had taped out a chip on the N+1 version of the 7nm node.

TechInsights describes the SMIC chip in further detail, stating:

“This low-volume production product may be the steppingstone for a true 7nm process that incorporates scaled logic and memory bitcells. Since bitcoin miners have limited RAM requirements, they likely do not feature the typical bitcell memory that the true 7nm technology definition requires (both scaled logic and bitcell adoption). This chipset likely demonstrates the logic part but not the bitcell aspect,”

Due to its basic appearance and small size (4.6 x 4.2 mm), the MinerVa Bitcoin mining chip suggests that SMIC is still in the early phases of chip development. Nevertheless, while the process technology is being improved, these sorts of tiny, basic, and primitive chips frequently act as learning guide.

4. Panasonic to Raise Prices of Home Appliances

Panasonic Corp. announced on Wednesday that it will raise the prices of its home appliances, including refrigerators and dishwashers, by 3 percent to 23 percent from August 1 due to rising raw material and logistics costs.

Panasonic said the prices of related products will be increased in phases due to the increase in the prices of semiconductors and other components and exchange rate changes, Starting from August 1st, the price of electric heating carpets will be adjusted first; after September, household appliances such as microwave ovens, electronic pots, and hair dryers will also increase; as for audio-visual appliances, Blu-ray DVD players and portable TVs are also included in the follow-up. The adjustment range is scheduled to complete the price adjustment plan for all home appliances before the end of this year.

Japanese home appliance manufacturers are gradually increasing their shipping prices. Hitachi Global Life Solutions, a subsidiary of Hitachi, has been increasing the prices of refrigerators and washing machines since April this year, while Balmuda also increased the direct sales prices of 10 items, including steam oven panels, by an average of 8% in April. Iris Ohyama increased the shipping prices of home appliances and other products from June, with most items increasing by more than 10%.

5. Ford to layoff up to 8,000 jobs

According to "Bloomberg" reports, Ford, one of the two major auto giants in the United States, is preparing to lay off up to 8,000 jobs in the next few weeks. The reason behind it is to try to reduce costs, improve profits, and prepare funds for entering the electric vehicle market. The preemption is continuing. Growing electric vehicle market share.

The latest news pointed out that the layoffs are aimed at Ford's newly formed Ford Blue unit, which is responsible for manufacturing internal combustion engine vehicles. However, the layoff plan has not yet been determined, and relevant details may still change.

For now, Ford declined to comment on the layoffs, saying it remains focused on reshaping the organization to help the electric vehicle market grow. A conference call is scheduled for Thursday to explain to investors how to reach the electric-car production target.

6. Samsung Eyes $200 Billion Expansion of Chip Plants in Texas

As the US Senate prepares to vote on a $50 billion bill to subsidize stateside chip manufacturing, Samsung has lodged an 11th hour proposal to build 11 semiconductor fabs around Austin, Texas over the next two decades, at an estimated total cost of $200 billion.

As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, the South Korean semiconductor giant has filed 11 applications with the Taylor and Manor school districts, seeking tax breaks in return for building foundry facilities in the region.

The first of the 11 fabs would be built alongside the existing foundry projects in Taylor, with another ten proposed for Williamson County, each at a price tag of between $12 billion and $21.5 billion. At least 10,000 workers would be employed at the plants.

According to documents filed with the state, the earliest the first of the 11 fabs will come online is 2034 – more than a decade out – and the last is expected to open in the early 2040s.

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