China and US trade war


2022-02-09

Banned by the US, ChuZhou HKC Shipments Unaffected For Now, Says TrendForce

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce recently issued the latest Unverified List (UVL) which includes ChuZhou HKC Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd., according to TrendForce’s investigations. The announcement states that if U.S. suppliers wish to ship products to companies on the UVL, they can still submit documentation to obtain a shipping license. According to TrendForce’s understanding, the primary reason ChuZhou HKC is included on the UVL is that it plans to import panel-related analytical instruments from the United States in the near future, and actions taken by BIS are not indicative of the Chinese panel industry as a whole. Currently, ChuZhou HKC is in the process submitting proposals and negotiating with its U.S. material suppliers, thus TrendForce’s assessment is that there is no impact on the supply and shipment of ChuZhou HKC products for the time being.

It should be noted that according to TrendForce statistics, HKC’s Chuzhou plant will account for only 3.8% of global LCD panel capacity in 2022, which is a fairly insignificant share. However, this plant accounts for 30% of HKC’s own capacity, thereby playing a pivotal role in company production. The Chuzhou factory primarily produces TV panels and monitor panels, among which TV panels account for nearly 80% of the factory’s production. If the current ban cannot be resolved smoothly, it will impact shipments of HKC TV panels.

In addition, the glass substrates used in HKC’s Chuzhou factory are sourced from multiple glass substrate suppliers, with approximately 40% coming from Corning, a U.S. supplier. Since Corning localized it production according to the location of panel makers, it is not expected to be limited by the restrictions on the export of U.S. production to China enumerated on the UVL, but detailed regulations are still awaiting clarification. At present, the supply of materials has not been affected, HKC’s Chuzhou plant maintains normal operation, and its clients have yet to move panel procurement away from the Chuzhou production line.

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

2021-07-29

Market Share of Top Three Suppliers of Base Stations Projected to Undergo Slight Decline in 2021 While Fourth-Ranked Samsung Scores Wins in Overseas Markets, Says TrendForce

Chinese and European suppliers of base station equipment are expected to once again account for a global market share of more than 70% in 2021, and the top three suppliers (along with their respective market shares) are, in order, China-based Huawei (30%), Sweden-based Ericsson (23%), and Finland-based Nokia (20%), according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Remarkably, although Huawei remains banned by the US government, the company still manages to dominate its competitors in terms of market share due to its products’ cost advantages as well as the enormous demand from the domestic Chinese market.

It should be pointed out that Samsung has similarly benefitted from its relatively low costs and successful 5G commercialization efforts, both of which helped propel its market share this year to 12.5% and secure the fourth place in the global ranking. Not only is Samsung supplying base station components to the three largest mobile network operators in Korea, but it is also collaborating with operators in the US (including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon) while having established supply agreements with NTT DoCoMo in Japan. On the other hand, Japanese supplier NEC has received its first ever overseas orders this year, from British mobile network Vodafone. Japan-based Fujitsu, likewise, has also been chosen by the British government as an alternative supplier of 5G base station equipment in place of Huawei.

TrendForce indicates that the proliferation of distance learning and WFH applications has brought about a massive 40% increase in average global network bandwidth consumption as the world works to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. As such, the 5G network is able to satisfy the current market demand due to its high bandwidth and low latency characteristics. Furthermore, as 5G commercial demand rises in various countries, the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) announced that “the number of announced 5G devices has surpassed 800 for the first time and now stands at 822 announced 5G devices”. These products, including both consumer and enterprise applications, have been released in response to the demand for faster, more convenient network connections across a broad range of applications. In sum, all of the aforementioned factors are drivers of increased 5G base station build-out worldwide.

Key to Huawei’s market share leadership, 5G users in China account for 90% of the global total in 2021

Owing to the ongoing China-US trade war, both Huawei and the three largest mobile network operators in China have been barred from engaging in investment-related activities with US companies. In addition, in July 2021, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) finalized a US$1.9 billion plan that subsidizes domestic telecom companies to replace base station components from Chinese suppliers, such as Huawei and ZTE, that the FCC considers a potential risk to US national security. Huawei and ZTE have subsequently become unable to acquire key RF front-end components from US suppliers, thereby prompting Huawei to shift its base station infrastructure business towards the domestic Chinese market instead.

Regardless, TrendForce’s findings indicate that, as of late-2020, the number of 5G users in China surpassed 160 million, which represented about 89% of the global total. As of July 2021, the three largest mobile network operators in China, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, have established 916,000 5G base stations domestically, which comprise 70% of the global total. Not only does this number point to the impressive magnitude of the Chinese telecom market, but it has also been the key to Huawei’s leadership in the base station market for nearly two years.

2021-07-13

An Overview of IC Design and Equipment Suppliers Funded by China’s Big Fund Phase Two

TrendForce’s latest investigations indicate that China has recently announced two additional investments funded via phase two of the CICF (China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, better known as the “Big Fund”). The first of these investments was announced on June 8, 2021 and totaled CN¥1.65 billion, which has been used to establish a joint venture called Runxi Microelectronics, co-funded with CR Micro and the Xiyong Micro-Electronics Industrial Park.

Runxi will operate a semiconductor fab specializing in 12-inch wafer fabrication, with a production capacity of 30K/M (that is, 30,000 wafer starts per month). The second investment, announced on July 2, 2021, will total about CN¥2.5 billion and be put towards AMEC’s efforts to raise capital for establishing an industrial center, a headquarter located in the Shanghai Lin-Gang Special Area, and an R&D headquarter.

Now that the Big Fund Phase 2 has invested in semiconductor equipment for the first time, more equipment suppliers are expected to receive investment capital from Big Fund Phase 2 going forward

Established in October 2019, Phase 2 of the Big Fund consists of CN¥204.15 billion in capital, some of which was subsequently invested into 12 companies across the IC design, IC fabrication, package testing, and equipment sectors, as of July 5, 2021. In terms of funding allocation, IC fabrication take the lion’s share with 78.2% of the aforementioned investment, followed by IC design at 11.6%, equipment at 7.7%, and package testing at 2.6%. To date, about CN¥36.6 billion of the Big Fund Phase 2 has been invested.

Investment in AMEC marks the first time that the Big Fund Phase 2 has purchased shares in domestic suppliers of semiconductor fabrication equipment. As fabrication equipment is the key determinant of whether China can achieve its goal of semiconductor independence, suppliers that previously received Phase 1 funding (including Naura, ACM Research, Piotech, Sky Technology Development, and Shanghai Wanye Enterprises), as well as those that have yet to receive investment from the Big Fund (including SMEE and Hwatsing), are likely to receive Phase 2 funding for their expansion projects going forward.

China’s Big Fund provides the domestic semiconductor industry considerable leverage against US sanctions as AMEC receives financing unaffected by US blacklist

As a major supplier of semiconductor etching equipment in domestic China, AMEC specializes in substrate etching technologies. The company provides products which are used for 8-inch/12-inch wafer fabrication and are compatible with 65nm-5nm process technologies. In addition, AMEC has also been actively developing CVD (chemical vapor deposition) equipment, making it an indispensable part of the Chinese semiconductor supply chain.

AMEC effectively had its overseas financing sources cut off after being blacklisted by the US Department of Defense in January 2021. Now that the Big Fund Phase 2 has infused AMEC with CN¥8.207 billion of investment capital, the company is no longer threatened by its inclusion on the economic blacklist. Hence, the substantial Big Fund Phase 2 has also become an important instrument in China’s fight against US sanctions amidst a persistent trade war currently taking place between the two countries.

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

2021-07-07

For Importation of US Semiconductor Equipment into China, Slow Progress Is Good Progress

The inclusion of certain Chinese semiconductor companies on the US Commerce Department’s Entity List in the past few years has created repercussions throughout industries and markets, with the semiconductor industry coming under heavy scrutiny by both China and the US. After SMIC was hit with a string of sanctions last year, including the EAR and the NS-CCMC List, recent rumors of further US actions on China are now once again making the rounds on social media platforms.

In particular, there have been rumors saying that the US has prohibited TSMC and UMC from importing 28nm process technology equipment into China for their fabs there. Conversely, some industry insiders from China point out that, although the US did not impose such prohibition, the export approval process for the aforementioned equipment has been conspicuously lengthy.

In reality, the Department of Commerce has levied procurement restrictions on SMIC specifically, while foundries unspecified on the Entity List have not been explicitly barred from importing semiconductor equipment for use in their China-based fabs. Although some are noting that the approval processes for semiconductor equipment exported to fabs located in China have been unusually lengthy recently, these processes are not specifically aimed at equipment for the 28nm process technology.

Instead, they apply to all semiconductor equipment exported from the US to China. It should also be noted that the approval processes for some exported equipment are currently progressing well, and foundries have already taken the extended lead times into account, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Hence, the lengthy approval processes have not been observed to have any negative impact on the semiconductor industry at the moment.

(Cover image source: ASML

2021-06-16

An Overview of the Most Competitive Domestic Equipment Substitutes as China Ramps up Its Semiconductor Independence Efforts

In recent years, China has been aggressively pursuing the build-out of an independent semiconductor supply chain as it attempts to eschew dependence on foreign suppliers. The key to China’s success is whether it can establish domestic suppliers of semiconductor equipment.

Looking at the current state of China’s semiconductor independence, it should be pointed out that Chinese suppliers of semiconductor equipment have been making the greatest progress on the CMP, etching, and cleaning fronts, while lagging behind in terms of deposition, ion implantation, and photolithography.

CMP equipment is used for polishing silicon wafers and metallic/non-metallic thin films. TrendForce estimates that about 26% of all such equipment procured by Chinese foundries in 2020 was sourced from domestic companies. CMP equipment manufactured by Chinese brands can support process technologies as advanced as the 14nm node, which is sufficient for meeting the current demand of Chinese foundries.

An indispensable aspect of silicon or dielectric etch applications, about 24% of all etching equipment procured by Chinese foundries in 2020 was sourced from domestic companies. Chinese-manufactured etching equipment can currently support process technologies as advanced as the 5nm node.

Used for cleaning wafers after the deposition process, CMP process, etching process, and ion implantation process, about 23% of all cleaning equipment procured by Chinese foundries in 2020 was sourced from domestic companies.


Cleaning equipment manufactured by Chinese brands can support process technologies as advanced as the 14nm node. Remarkably, more Chinese companies have been entering this market segment compared to other semiconductor equipment, while some Chinese suppliers are already able to compete with major foreign suppliers in terms of market shares.

Used for PVD, CVD, and ALD processes, about 10% of all deposition equipment procured by Chinese foundries in 2020 was domestically sourced. Chinese-manufactured deposition equipment can support process technologies as advanced as the 14nm node. However, as the technological barrier for manufacturing these products is relatively high, Chinese suppliers are still in the process of catching up to their global competitors in terms of technology. Hence, it remains difficult for Chinese suppliers to continue raising their market shares in the short run.

Likewise, as the technological barrier for manufacturing ion implantation and photolithography equipment is relatively high, equipment from Chinese suppliers is unlikely to support advanced process technologies in the short run despite these suppliers’ aggressive R&D efforts. In terms of self-sufficiency, about 5% and 1% of all ion implantation equipment and photolithography equipment, respectively, procured by Chinese foundries in 2020 was domestically manufactured.

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

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