Semiconductor market news(Oct. 23 to Oct. 29)丨Q4 Mobile DRAM and NAND Flash Contract Prices Forecast to Rise; Global CIS shipments fell 14% year-on-year in the first half of the year…

01. Q4 Mobile DRAM and NAND Flash Contract Prices Forecast to Rise

TrendForce reports that Q4 contract prices for mobile DRAM are poised to see an increased quarterly rise of 13–18%. But that’s not all—NAND Flash is also joining the party, with contract prices of eMMC and UFS expected to climb by approximately 10–15% in the same quarter. This quarter is set to star mobile DRAM, traditionally the underperformer in profit margins compared to its DRAM counterparts, as it takes the lead in this round of price increases.

02. Global silicon wafer shipments to bounce back in 2024

SEMI predicts that global shipments of silicon wafers will decline by 14% in 2023, followed by a recovery in 2024, as demand for wafers and semiconductors recovers and inventory levels return to normal.

The global shipments of silicon wafers are projected to decrease from a record high of 14.565 billion square inches in 2022 to approximately 12.51 billion square inches in 2023, SEMI said. Sustained weakness in semiconductor demand and difficult macroeconomic conditions are the primary factors propelling the decline in 2023, the industry association indicated.

As silicon demand surges to support artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing (HPC), 5G, automotive, and industrial applications, momentum from the 2024 rebound is expected to last into 2026, with wafer shipments likely to achieve new highs, according to SEMI.

03. Global CIS shipments fell 14% year-on-year in the first half of the year

October 27, 2023, According to Counterpoint Research, global smartphone CMOS image sensor (CIS) shipments fell 14% year-on-year to 2 billion units in the first half of 2023 due to weak market demand.

Counterpoint Research believes that although the end market remains weak, smartphone OEMs are expected to start replenishing inventories in the third quarter to prepare for the release of new mobile phones. However, the recovery will be quite slow compared to the first half due to macroeconomic headwinds. It is expected that global smartphone CIS shipments will fall by 10% year-on-year to 4.2 billion units throughout 2023.

04. TI to cut production due to weak industrial market demand

October 26, 2023, Texas Instruments said on October 24 that due to falling demand in the industrial market, revenue and profits are expected to be lower than expected in the fourth quarter of 2023, and it will cut production to reduce inventory and maintain gross profit margins.

TI said sales in the industrial market, the company's largest revenue share, fell by more than a dozen percent in the third quarter, with declines in all regions except Japan.

Although the industry had previously believed that the end of the global epidemic would lead to a significant rebound in demand, this rebound did not materialize as most people expected.

Analysts said TI's forecast reflects a further deterioration in demand in the industrial sector that is likely to persist for at least the next few quarters.

05. Kioxia, Western Digital halt merger talks amid SK Hynix's objection

October 28, 2023, Japanese chipmaker Kioxia Holdings Corp. and its U.S. peer Western Digital Corp. have halted merger talks after they found it difficult to gain approval from South Korea's SK Hynix Inc., a major investor in Kioxia, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

06. Global smartphone market drops just 1% amid resurging regional demand

Canalys’ latest research reveals that the global smartphone market fell slightly by 1% to 293.4 million units in Q3 2023 with vendors pushing new models following a healthy inventory level in Q2. Samsung held the pole position and shipped 57.4 million units with a 20% market share, thanks to an early update of its foldable devices. Apple followed in second place, shipping 50.0 million units and gaining 17% market share, driven by strong initial demand for the iPhone 15 series with USB-C upgrade. Xiaomi took third place, shipping 41.5 million units, achieving an annual growth of 2%, owing to strong performance in emerging markets. OPPO (including OnePlus) secured the fourth position with 26.4 million units of shipment, capturing 9% market share. TRANSSION Group (includes Tecno, Infinix and iTel brands), maintained its fifth position as it continued its strong momentum from the previous quarter and defended its top five position, shipping 26.0 million units.

07. Global PC Shipments Continue Normalization in Q3 2023

Global PC shipments declined 9% YoY in Q3 2023 as the market continued to be weighed down by weak demand amid a slowdown in consumer and enterprise purchases. However, global shipments grew sequentially for the second straight quarter in Q3 2023 helped by moderate seasonality. We reiterate that the PC market has already bottomed out and are expecting gentle shipment recovery along with several new product launches over the next couple of months, especially from AI function-enabled models.

Lenovo’s shipments saw a single digit percentage YoY decline in Q3 2023, outperforming most PC OEMs except HP, whose Q3 2023 shipments registered mid-single digit YoY growth in percentage terms as the company benefitted from robust consumer and educational demand. However, other tier 1 PC vendors such as Dell, Apple and Asus still struggled to find strong shipment drivers to boost shipments across the board. Fortunately, we are now entering the first replacement cycle after the COVID-19 pandemic along with a potential pick-up in AI PC momentum as we move into 2024.

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