Semiconductor market news(Feb. 12 to Feb. 18)丨AI chips are in short supply; Strong End to 2023 Drives Healthy 2024; DRAM Prices Rise for Three Consecutive Months…

01. Chinese Clients Accept Price Hikes, DRAM Prices Rise for Three Consecutive Months

DRAM prices have risen for three consecutive months, a trend attributed to Chinese clients accepting the price hike requests from memory manufacturers, as reported by Nikkei on February 16th.

As per data cited by Nikkei, the wholesale price (transaction price) of the benchmark product DDR4 8Gb was around USD 1.85 each in January 2024, marking a 9% increase from the previous month (December 2023). The price of the smaller 4Gb product was around USD 1.40 each, representing an 8% increase from the previous month. The aforementioned prices have been rising for the third consecutive month.

Reportedly, the price negotiation occurred before the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, with Chinese clients increasing their purchasing volume before the break.

02. Strong End to 2023 Drives Healthy 2024

The global semiconductor market grew 8.4% in 4Q 2023 from 3Q 2023, according to WSTS. The 8.4% gain was the highest quarter-to-quarter growth since 9.1% in 2Q 2021. This was also the highest 3Q to 4Q increase in 20 years, since an 11% rise in 4Q 2003. 4Q 2023 was up 11.6% from a year ago, following five quarters of negative year-to-year change.

The robust 4Q 2023 gain was primarily driven by memory. The outlook for 1Q 2024 revenue change from 4Q 2023 is mostly negative, except for the memory companies. Micron expects 12.1% growth. Samsung and SK Hynix did not provide specific guidance, but both indicated continuing strong memory demand. The nine non-memory companies providing revenue guidance projected 1Q 2024 declines ranging from 2.8% from Infineon to 17.6% from Intel. The expected decreases were blamed on seasonality, excess inventories, and weakness in the industrial sector.

03. Financial Reports of Six Major Foundries Reveal Semiconductor Industry Recovery Status

The latest financial reports for 4Q23 from six leading global semiconductor foundries signal optimism for the semiconductor industry’s recovery in 2024.

In 2023, the semiconductor sector underwent significant adjustments. As the industry worked towards normalizing its inventory levels amidst ongoing high inflation risks, the short-term market outlook remained unclear.

04. TSMC Reportedly Doubles CoWoS Capacity

The surge in demand for advanced packaging is being primarily propelled by artificial intelligence (AI) chips. According to industry sources cited by CNA, TSMC’s CoWoS production capacity is set to double this year, yet demand continues to outstrip supply. In response, NVIDIA has enlisted the help of packaging and testing facilities to augment its advanced packaging capabilities.

05. Vision Pro Chip Analysis Highlights Texas Instruments as the Major Chip Supplier

On February 7th, following an in-depth teardown of internal components by the repair website iFixit, it was discovered that within the Vision Pro main unit, speakers, and external power supply, there are not only Apple’s self-developed processor chips but also multiple Apple-designed power management chips. It’s noteworthy that TI serves as the primary chip supplier in the Vision Pro.

06. FOXCONN: AI chips are in short supply

February 14, 2024, Young Liu, chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group (FOXCONN), said in a recent interview that the AI server industry is still facing a large shortage of AI chips. Even if the supply of AI chips eases in the second half of the year, it will still not be able to keep up with demand.

Although the AI server business is growing, Young Liu admitted that geopolitics and the international economy will affect consumer electronics demand this year. Overall, FOXCONN's AI server business is performing well, but several other businesses such as consumer electronics will be affected by the market. It is expected that FOXCONN's overall performance this year will be slightly higher than last year.

FOXCONN is the largest manufacturer in the global server market, with a market share of more than 40%. The AI server market share is even higher, especially in GPU modules and substrates, with a market share of more than 70%.

07. Global silicon wafer shipments dropped 14.3% year-on-year in 2023

According to a recent report released by SEMI, global silicon wafer shipments fell by 14.3% to 12.602 billion square inches in 2023, while revenue fell by 10.9% to $12.3 billion during the same period.

SEMI noted that the decline was due to slowing end demand coupled with broad inventory adjustments. Weak demand in the memory and logic chip industries led to a decline in 12-inch wafer orders, while weak foundry and analog demand led to a decline in 8-inch wafer shipments.

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