Articles


2021-01-11

Power Outage at UMC’s Lixing Fabs Results in Large-Scale Voltage Drops in Vicinity, Forecasted to Cause Minor Impact, Says TrendForce

An abnormality which caused a power outage in the GIS (gas insulated switchgear) equipment at UMC’s facilities on Lixing Road, Hsinchu, resulted in a voltage drop for other fabs located in the surrounding area, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

Affected foundries include TSMC, Vanguard, and PSMC. However, TrendForce’s investigations also reveal that, apart from the temporary power outage at UMC’s Lixing fabs, facilities operated by TSMC, Vanguard, and PSMC experienced only a temporary voltage drop. While the uninterruptible power supplies of the facilities kicked in shortly after the outage, normal manufacturing operations resumed following certain equipment crashes that occurred during the transition from one power source to another. UMC’s Lixing fab has currently resumed operations after about four hours of power outage, and TrendForce expects the impact from this incident to be minimal.

TrendForce believes that the total production capacity in the affected area accounts for about 20% and 4% of the respective global production capacity of 8-inch wafers and 12-inch wafers. Although the affected area is a strategically significant location of semiconductor production, investigations show that this incident resulted in a mere voltage drop for the immediate surroundings, and the affected parties have resumed operation after making adjustments.

As such, their overall production capacities have not been substantially impacted. With regards to UMC, the power outage primarily took place at its Fab 8A(B), which focuses on the 0.25~0.5µm processes mainly used to produce power discretes such as MOSFET, whereas Fab 8C/D, which primarily produces DDIs and PMICs with 0.35~0.11µm processes, sustained minimal impact from the voltage drop. The incident’s impact on UMC is expected to come to less than 1% of the foundry’s yearly revenue, which can be essentially compensated for through hot runs.

TrendForce indicates that UMC manufactures driver ICs (mainly with 8-inch 0.11~0.15µm processes) at Fab 8C/D for certain desktop and notebook monitors. With regards to driver ICs, the power outage incident is expected to have very limited impact on their global supply. However, as large-sized driver ICs have been in shortage since 2H20, this incident may exacerbate the industry-wide panic over the availability of driver ICs, thereby resulting in additional upward momentum ensuring persistent price hikes for large-sized driver ICs and IT display panels.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-01-11

Global TV Shipment Expected to Reach 223 Million Units in 2021, with Ultra-Large-Sized TVs Becoming Latest Focus for TV Brands, Says TrendForce

Thanks to the stay-at-home economy brought about the by the COVID-19 pandemic, TV shipment in North America saw the start of an upturn in late March last year, while demand in the European market also gradually ramped up in 2H20, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. On the whole, global TV shipment rebounded from rock-bottom levels in April and peaked in October 2020. Nonetheless, recent shortages in IC products from upstream semiconductor suppliers led TV brands to push back their 4Q20 shipment schedules, resulting in a global TV shipment of 217 million units in 2020, a 0.3% YoY decline.

Looking ahead to 2021, TrendForce is not ruling out the possibility that the Tokyo Olympic Games and the UEFA European Championship, which were originally planned for 2020 but subsequently delayed due to the pandemic, will take place this year instead, despite the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. These sporting events are expected to drive global TV demand to yet another record high. In this light, TrendForce expects global TV shipment to reach 223 million units in 2021, a 2.8% YoY increase.

Survival of tier two and tier three TV brands will be challenged in light of IC shortage and surging TV panel prices

Whereas the supply of TV panels dwindled in 2020 owing to the reduction in Korean panel manufacturers’ production capacities and the slowdown in new Chinese panel manufacturers’ mass production ramp-up, demand skyrocketed thanks to extended stay-at-home times induced by anti-pandemic measures. Given such imbalanced supply and demand, prices of 40-inch to 55-inch TV panels rose by more than 60% within a mere six months, while prices of 32-inch panels more than doubled, in turn posing a great challenge for white-label TV manufacturers, which had traditionally survived in the market by offering low-priced TVs.

TrendForce further indicates that the tightening supply of TV panels throughout 2020 and faster-than-expected demand recovery in 2H20 both indirectly exacerbated the existing shortage of wafer capacities for IC products. Therefore, upstream suppliers, including foundries and panel makers, have become increasingly selective of their clients, and tier one TV brands have an advantage in securing wafer capacities from foundries due to their massive order volume. Case in point, year 2020 marked the first time when the combined market shares of the top five TV brands surpassed 60%. For tier two, tier three, and white-label manufacturers, the strained supply of panels and IC products will make it harder than ever for them to compete against tier one brands in the market.

Shipment of 65-inch (and above) TVs will likely reach 30% YoY growth in 2021

As the prices of TV panels underwent MoM increases every month throughout 2H20, the profitability of 32-inch to 55-inch TV units, which were the market mainstream, gradually plummeted as well. In response to declining profits from these low-priced products, TV brands began to redirect their procurement activities towards larger-sized panels. In particular, this period saw a 23.4% and 47.8% growth in 65-inch (and above) and 70-inch (and above) TV panel shipments, respectively. Under the assumption that panel prices will not undergo a substantial decline in 2021, TV brands will likely accelerate their product strategies for ultra-large-sized TVs. Therefore, TrendForce forecasts a potential 30% YoY growth in the shipment of 65-inch (and above) TVs this year.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-01-07

LiDAR Revenue Expected to Reach US$2.9 Billion in 2025, with ADAS/Autonomous Vehicles as Primary Applications, Says TrendForce

The LiDAR market encompasses such applications as ADAS, autonomous vehicles, industries, deliveries, and smart cities; while these applications are estimated to have driven the LiDAR market to reach US$682 million in revenue in 2020, total LiDAR revenue is projected to further expand to $2.932 billion in 2025, a 34% CAGR, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

TrendForce indicates that, with regards to automotive LiDAR applications (ADAS and autonomous vehicles), automakers have continued to release NEVs in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on the global automotive industry in 2020. Furthermore, these automakers are also equipping ADAS on high-end conventional gasoline vehicles and NEVs alike. As an essential component in SAE levels 4-5 autonomous vehicles, LiDAR systems are used by automakers to both build their databases and increase vehicle location accuracy. In addition to the aforementioned vehicles, automotive LiDARs are also featured in autonomous buses, robo-taxis, and self-driving trucks. Total automotive LiDAR revenue is expected to reach $2.434 billion in 2025. At the moment, major automotive LiDAR suppliers include Velodyne, Valeo, Quanergy Systems, Inc., ibeo, Continental, LeddarTech, INNOVIZ, HESAI, LeiShen, and Luminar, while major LiDAR laser suppliers include OSRAM, Laser Components, Excelitas, and Hamamatsu.

With regards to delivery and logistics, the rising popularity of e-commerce has prompted online vendors and delivery companies to lower their last-mile delivery costs by performing deliveries with autonomous delivery robots, bicycle couriers, and self-driving trucks, thereby leading to an increased demand for delivery robots with self-navigation and autonomous decision-making capabilities. Major e-commerce companies that have been promoting these delivery methods include Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and Jingdong (also known as JD.com).

Likewise, the growth of the industrial automation market has been lackluster due to the pandemic, with most companies having deferred their previous expansion plans in consideration of budgets, although certain companies wary of potential future shortages in human labor are investing additional capital into industrial automation development against the market downtrend. Having undergone various deferred developments throughout 2020, the European and North American markets are expected to see surging demand for industrial automation applications starting in 3Q21. On the whole, TrendForce forecasts a $469 million revenue for the industry and delivery LiDAR markets in 2025. Major LiDAR suppliers in these markets currently include SICK, Hokuyo, OMRON, and Velodyne. With increasing market demand on ADAS, autonomous vehicles and industrial automation, LiDAR market value will be encouraged by rising LiDAR usage volume.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-01-06

Global Notebook Computer Shipment Expected to Reach 217 Million Units in 2021, with Chromebooks Accounting for 18.5% of Total Shipment, Says TrendForce

Owing to the stay-at-home economy brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, not only did yearly notebook computer shipment surpass 200 million units for the first time ever, but the 22.5% YoY growth was also the highest on record, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

However, in comparison with 2Q20, during which production lines resumed operations, and notebook demand saw an uptick, the current global market is plagued by the ever-intensifying pandemic, with various countries instating border control and lockdown measures, making it impossible at the moment to accurately forecast the state of the notebook market in 2H21. Nevertheless, TrendForce currently expects global notebook shipment for 2021 to reach 217 million units, an 8.1% increase YoY. Incidentally, it should be noted that the increasing popularity of distance education has also galvanized a rising demand for Chromebooks, which have contributed substantially to the growth of the overall market. Chromebooks accounted for 14.8% of the global notebook shipment in 2020, while this rate is expected to rise to 18.5% in 2021.

As WFH becomes the new normal for office work, online meeting functionalities will be a major focus of business notebook designs

Since 2020, various companies worldwide have announced the implementation of WFH measures, with certain companies adopting WFH until September this year. In order to meet the audiovisual demands of online meetings, as well as the personal and entertainment needs of end users, notebook brands have been making improvements to their business notebooks’ functionalities, including AI, camera modules, sound quality, background noise removal, and image qualities. In particular, HP, Dell, and Lenovo are each releasing new mid-range and high-end mixed-use business notebooks in response to the commercial opportunities generated by the aforementioned user demands. Demand for this product category is expected to peak in 1H21 and in turn massively raise overall notebook shipment for the period as well.

In addition to mixed-use business notebooks, the new normal in the post-pandemic era has compelled brands to quickly establish dominance in the Chromebook market as well. Although Chromebook shipment reached 29.6 million units in 2020, an impressive 74% YoY growth for year, current demand from most educational markets has yet to be met. This, along with continued Chromebook adoption in Central America, South America, and the Asia-Pacific regions, resulted in peak Chromebook demand. At the moment, TrendForce projects yearly Chromebook shipment to exceed 40 million units in 2021, a 37% YoY growth. Moreover, given Google’s aggressive product strategies, this projection may have even further room for growth.

Continued high demand for Chromebooks has resulted in shifts in the OS and CPU markets

With regards to operating systems, Windows remains the dominant choice in the notebook market. However, due to the rapid growth of Chromebooks in 2020, Windows’ market share dropped below 80% for the first time ever. Windows is unlikely to recover its lost market shares in the short run, since its decline is expected to persist going forward. TrendForce expects the market shares of Windows, Chrome OS, and MacOS to each stabilize at about 70-75%, 15-20%, and below 10%, respectively.

With regards to notebook CPUs, AMD’s Zen+ microarchitecture-based CPUs saw a major uptick in notebook adoption in 2019, with about an 11.4% market share. This figure rose to 20.1% in 2020 after a period of product ramp-up. In particular, the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs have been receiving excellent market feedback in the entry-level and mid-range notebook segments, thereby convincing notebook brands to start equipping their Chromebooks with AMD CPUs, bringing about a further and considerable growth in AMD’s market share.

The Apple Silicon M1 processors, based on the ARM architecture and officially released in November 2020, reached a mere 0.8% market share for the year. Apple adopted the ARM architecture primarily to optimize MacBook performances. Along with the release of Apple Silicon M1, Apple has also completed the integration between its hardware, software, and SaaS platforms. The company is expected to release 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, both of which will be equipped with Apple’s in-house CPUs, after 2Q21, raising Apple’s notebook market share to about 7%. The 7% and 20% market shares from Apple and AMD, respectively, mean that Intel will be faced with increasing competitive pressure in the market and need to deliver an appropriate product strategy in response.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-01-05

Global Smartphone Production Expected to Reach 1.36 Billion Units in 2021 as Huawei Drops Out of Top-Six Ranking, Says TrendForce

Owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global smartphone production reached a mere 1.25 billion units in 2020, a record-breaking 11% YoY decrease, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. The top six smartphone brands ranked by production volume for 2020, in order, are Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo. The most glaring change from the previous year is Huawei’s market share.

TrendForce indicates that Honor will formally separate from Huawei and operate as an independent smartphone maker at the start of 2021. The aim behind this spin-off is to ensure the survival of Honor, which has become a major brand in the global smartphone market after years of labor. However, it remains to be seen whether the “new” Honor can capture consumers’ attention without the support from Huawei. Also, Huawei and the new Honor will be directly competing against each other in the future, especially if the former is somehow freed from the U.S. trade sanctions at a later time. With the new Honor seeking to ramp up production, Huawei will have more difficulty in regaining market share for smartphones.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, TrendForce believes that the global smartphone market will gradually recover as people become accustomed to the “new normal” resulting from the pandemic. Moreover, this year will likely see a relatively strong wave of device replacement demand as well as demand growth in the emerging markets. Assuming that these conditions will materialize, the annual global smartphone production for 2021 is forecasted to increase by 9% to 1.36 billion units. Regarding the annual global ranking of smartphone brands for 2021, Huawei will experience a further and significant decline in its device production. This is because of the effects of the U.S. export restrictions and the spin-off of Honor as a separate entity operating in the smartphone market. Huawei is currently projected to tumble from third place in 2020 to seventh place in 2021. The top six for 2021, in order, will be Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and Transsion. Together, they will account for almost 80% of the global smartphone market. Nevertheless, the pandemic will remain the central variable (or the biggest uncertainty) in the production projection because it will continue to exert significant influence on the global economy. Besides the pandemic, the performance of smartphone brands during 2021 could also be affected by geopolitical instabilities and the lack of available production capacity in the semiconductor foundry market.

Penetration rate of 5G smartphones is likely to rise to 37% in 2021, while production will still be constrained by limited foundry capacities

Thanks to the Chinese government’s aggressive push for 5G commercialization in 2020, global 5G smartphone production for the year reached about 240 million units, a 19% penetration rate, with Chinese brands accounting for almost a 60% market share. While 5G will remain a major topic in the smartphone market this year, various countries will also resume their 5G infrastructure build-out, and mobile processor manufacturers will continue to release entry-level and mid-range 5G chips. As such, the penetration rate of 5G smartphones is expected to undergo a rapid increase to 37% in 2021, for a yearly production of about 500 million units.

It should be noted that, under the optimistic assumption that the pandemic can be resolved within the year, shipment for various end-products, including servers, smartphones, and notebook computers, will undergo a YoY increase compared to 2020. Case in point, the number of PMICs and CIS (CMOS image sensors) contained per handset will each double in order to meet increased smartphone specifications. On the other hand, major Chinese foundry SMIC has recently been added to the Entity List once again. This is expected to exacerbate the foundry industry’s already-strained production capacity.

TrendForce indicates that smartphone brands’ recent bullish outlook towards the 2021 market and their attempt to secure more semiconductor supplies by increasing their smartphone production targets can potentially lead these brands to overbook certain components at foundries. However, smartphone brands may adjust their component inventories from 2Q21 to 3Q21 and reduce their semiconductor procurement activities if actual sales performances fall short of expectations, or if component bottlenecks remain unresolved, leading to a widening inventory gap between bottlenecked and non-bottlenecked parts. Even so, TrendForce still forecasts an above-90% capacity utilization rate for foundries in 2021.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

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