Semiconductor market news(Mar. 13 to Mar. 19)丨 Chip lead times continue to shorten; Japan’s chip distributors are expanding abroad; Murata announced joint venture company for the production of MLCC raw materials…

01. Chip lead times continue to shorten

Mar. 17, 2023, According to the latest report from Susquehanna Financial, chip lead times have been shortened for nine consecutive months, which shows that about two years of chip shortages have passed.

The report pointed out that the current semiconductor average lead time is 4 weeks lower than the historical peak in May 2022. Actual lead times may shrink faster than seen, as distributors are reluctant to cut lead times for fear of customer order cancellations.

Specifically, Microchip's lead times have shortened significantly, and Xilinx's lead times have dropped dramatically over the past few months.

The report also pointed out that while the lead times of suppliers such as Microchip, TI and NXP are declining rapidly, the lead times of STMicroelectronics, Infineon and ON Semiconductor are still relatively stable.

02. Murata announced joint venture company for the production of MLCC raw materials

Mar. 20, 2023, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. announced the resolution to enter into a joint venture agreement with Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, Ltd. and Fuji Titanium Industry Co., Ltd. to establish a joint venture company MF material, Co., Ltd., to produce barium titanate used in multilayer ceramic capacitors and other products.

Barium titanate, a material used in multilayer ceramic capacitors, is becoming increasingly important in anticipation of further growth in demand for multilayer ceramic capacitors amidst the rapid development of IT devices and the electrification of automobiles.

The joint venture company has a plan to construct a new plant in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, for enhancing the production capacity of barium titanate and will seek to achieve further improvement in quality and productivity by combining the respective manufacturing technologies and know-how that Fuji Titanium and the Company have cultivated.

The joint venture company will be established whereby Fuji Titanium will execute a company split to separate main assets, liabilities, and other items related to the barium titanate manufacturing business, following whichFuji Titanium, Murata and Ishihara Sangyo will take a 55%, 35% and 10% stake, respectively.

03. Japan's chip distributors are expanding abroad

Mar. 16, 2023, According to Nikkei Asia, Japanese semiconductor distributors and EMS factories such as Sun-Wa Technos, Kaga Electronics, and Ryoyo Electro are accelerating overseas expansion in response to the continued shrinking of the local market.

The report pointed out that Sun-Wa Technos will open an office in Bangalore, India next month, and plans to provide parts and assembly for the industrial equipment industry. In the fiscal year ending March 2022, its overseas sales ratio was 38%, and it aims to increase it to between 60% and 70%.

The report also pointed out that Kaga Electronics will expand its electronics manufacturing services. The company invested about $7.5 million last year to build a factory in Penang, Malaysia. The company aims to triple its current sales in Malaysia by 2027. It also built a factory in Turkey and plans to start producing semiconductor substrates for air conditioners and power tools from June this year.

In addition, Ryoyo Electro, a distributor of electronic components for home appliances, is also actively expanding overseas. Its overseas sales for the fiscal year ending January 2023 are up 2.7 times from five years ago.

According to statistics, the Asia-Pacific region including China accounted for 58% of semiconductor sales in 1922, followed by the United States at 25%, Europe at 9%, and Japan at 8%. Previously, Japan's market share in 1900 was 23%.

04. China's chip output falls in first two months of 2023

Mar. 17, 2023, According to reports, in January and February 2023, China's integrated circuit (IC) production fell by 17%.

The report pointed out that China's integrated circuit production in January and February totaled 44.3 billion, compared with 57.3 billion in the same period last year.

The decline in the first two months reflected the impact of economic headwinds and U.S. trade sanctions on the world's largest chip market.

In addition, the report also pointed out that due to weak consumer demand, China's microcomputer shipments in the first two months of this year fell by 21.9% year-on-year to 46 million units, while China's smartphone shipments fell by 14.1% year-on-year during the same period.

05. South Korea's chip exports fell 41.2% in the first 10 days of March

Mar. 14, 2023, According to recent data released by South Korea Customs, chip exports in the first 10 days of March plummeted by 41.2% during this period to only $2.26 billion as chip exports remained weak.

Exports to China fell 35.3% in the first 10 days of March, the data showed. As of last month, it has shown a downward trend for 9 consecutive months. In addition, in the first 10 days of March, South Korea's exports to the EU fell by 6.2%, Vietnam by 16.4%, and Japan by 7.3%. In contrast, exports to the US and India increased by 5.6% and 5.5%, respectively.

In January, South Korea's semiconductor exports plummeted 44.5% year-on-year. In the first 20 days of February, South Korea's overall exports fell 2.3% year-on-year, with chip sales plummeting 43.9%.

06. Samsung plans to build five new chip factories

Mar. 15, 2023, According to Yonhap News Agency, Samsung will invest about $230 billion to build five semiconductor manufacturing plants in South Korea by 2042 to build the world's largest semiconductor manufacturing base.

Samsung's new manufacturing facility will include five chip factories and attract as many as 150 material, component and equipment manufacturers, IC design companies and semiconductor research and development institutions. The new campus will be located near the existing chip factories of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, as well as various parts and equipment factories, in order to make South Korea the world's largest semiconductor cluster.

07. DB Hitek plans to spin off fabless business

Mar. 14, 2023, According to The Elec, foundry DB Hitek said a few days ago that the company plans to spin off its fabless business to better focus on its main chip foundry business.

DB Hitek said it has long considered becoming a pure-play foundry in the chip industry. Due to the sharp drop in demand caused by the recent global economic recession, DB Hitek's capacity utilization rate has fallen, and it emphasizes that the company must spin off its business units and focus on saving the foundry business.

DB Hitek said it would not list the newly formed company and that the motion would have to be passed at a shareholders meeting this month.

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