driver IC


2022-01-10

Impact of Components Shortage on Whole Device Shipments Continues, PCs and Notebooks Least Affected, Says TrendForce

Driven by forces such as the pandemic, geopolitics, and the digital transformation of everyday life, there has been a shortage of global foundry production capacity for nearly two years and shortages have been especially severe for mature 1Xnm~180nm nodes, according to TrendForce’s investigations. Although all foundries are furiously increasing capital expenditures to expand capacity, unrealized future expansion does not ease existing supply issues. In addition, the uneven distribution of supply chain resources that has exacerbated the shortage of parts and components has yet to be definitively alleviated. Circumstances as a whole will continue affecting shipments of related whole devices. Only the PC category is expected to emerge largely unscathed in 1Q22.

Moving into 1Q22, TrendForce states, due to the limited increase in production capacity, the market’s supply situation is expected to be approximately the same as in 4Q21. However, some end products have entered their traditional off-season cycle and the slowdown in demand momentum is expected to alleviate the immediate pressure on OEMs and ODMs regarding supply chain stocking.

In terms of the whole servers, the FPGA delivery cycle is currently at over 50 weeks at most, while the delivery cycle of Lan chips has improved significantly, from the original 50+ weeks to approximately 40 weeks. However, escalating purchase order activity caused by the uncertainty of the pandemic combined with an accumulated backlog of demand (Back order/backlog) have pushed the SMT capacity of ODMs to full load in general. The aforementioned phenomenon have not only accelerated the consumption of ICs such as FPGA and PMIC, but the demand for additional purchase orders of FPGA, PMIC and MOSFET is still compelling. The overall market remains tight and the production of server motherboards in the future may face hidden issues. TrendForce has ascertained a more crucial matter. Taking the L6 server as an example, its production scale in 1Q22 will be roughly the same as the previous quarter. However, whole server shipments will show a seasonal decline with a decrease of approximately 8% QoQ.

In terms of mobile phones, material shortages have gradually eased from the second half of 2021 partly due to the discretionary adjustment of mobile phone specifications. Mobile phone brands can adjust their specifications and configurations based on available materials. Currently, the supply of four components remains relatively tight. Among them, 4G SoC (30-40 weeks) and OLED DDIC/Touch IC (20-22 weeks) have a significant impact on the market. The former will affect brands that focus on selling 4G mobile phones. The latter is affected by oligopolistic market structure and the adjustment of foundry capacity. Thus, there are rumblings of insufficient supply. Though the supply of the remaining two items, PMIC and A+G Sensor, remains tight, material shortage risk can be largely mitigated through alternative material replacements or the adjustment of specifications and configurations. In terms of production, the 1Q22 supply chain will essentially carry on its performance from the previous quarter. However, due to disappointing holiday demand at the end of 2021, mobile phone brands must adjust the distributed inventory level of finished products in a timely manner. Combined with uncertainty caused by disruptions stemming from a winter-time pandemic, 1Q22 production performance is estimated to fall by approximately 13% QoQ.

In terms of PCs and laptops, starting from November 2021, material shortages have been partially alleviated. Therefore, the shipment volume of PC ODMs in 4Q21 has been revised upwards. Compared with mobile phones and whole servers, the impact of under/oversupply of materials on end PCs and notebooks is relatively minor. Except for the SSD PCIe 3.0 controller, current tightness exhibited in component supply is due to delays in the transition of Intel’s new platform. This temporary shortfall has led to a delivery cycle of approximately 8-12 weeks while any tightness in the supply of Type C IC, WiFi, and PMIC is gradually abating. TrendForce expects that, as overall supply chain stability recuperates, notebook shipments from ODM brands in 1Q22 will only decrease by 5.1% QoQ. However, if the component shortage factor is discounted, subsequent sales originating from various distribution channels will be another major variable TrendForce must consider.

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

2021-09-30

Unchanged Prices or Slight Price Hike Expected for Driver ICs in 4Q21 Amidst Falling Panel Prices and Rising Foundry Service Prices, Says TrendForce

Display panels contain certain semiconductor parts, including driver ICs, TCONs, and LCD PMICs; the price trends of these ICs used in different applications depend on their respective supply and demand situations. Not only has demand for driver ICs used for TVs, Chromebooks, and consumer IT displays declined ahead of other applications, but panel suppliers have also accumulated a considerable inventory of driver ICs for these aforementioned products, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Hence, these driver ICs may see their prices stagnate in 4Q21. Nevertheless, although driver IC suppliers will not be able to offload the foundry costs for driver IC manufacturing to panel suppliers entirely, panel suppliers are still expected to procure additional driver ICs in order to avoid possible shortages, since demand for commercial IT displays and driver ICs used in these displays still exists. TrendForce therefore expects driver IC prices to experience a minor price hike in 4Q21.

It should be pointed out that certain TCONs and LCD PMICs are experiencing either shortages or excessive lead times. Furthermore, TSMC will raise the prices of their mature foundry process technologies in 4Q21 by a relatively high margin. Taking these factors into account, TrendForce expects TCON and PMIC prices to remain in an uptrend for the quarter. With regards to smartphone TDDI, the decline in client orders for 4Q21 means that smartphone TDDI will not continue to undergo a price hike in 4Q21. Conversely, smartphone OLED DDIC prices are likely to remain bullish in 4Q21 for the following reasons: First, foundries’ production capacities for smartphone OLED DDIC are currently insufficient. Second, this product category involves a high level of technological barrier to entry in terms of IC design, meaning there are very few IC design companies capable of offering a stable supply of OLED DDIC; smartphone manufacturers are therefore scrambling to book OLED DDIC orders for next year’s handsets.

On the other hand, IC design companies have traditionally sold driver ICs, TCONs, and PMICs as a bundle to panel suppliers during shortages because bundling these components not only increases their sales volumes, but also ensures that panel suppliers receive these components in matching inventory levels. Despite rumors pointing to a possible price hike of driver ICs, TrendForce believes that, given the ongoing shortage of TCONs and PMICs, products sold as a bundle are likely to undergo successful price hikes.

After experiencing component shortages for more than a year, panel suppliers are projected to more carefully address issues of IC procurement and inventory management. On the whole, driver IC prices for 4Q21 will likely remain relatively unchanged from the previous quarter. Looking ahead to 2022, TrendForce expects the demand for display panels to trend downwards during the cyclical downturn of 1H22. This bear market, along with the fact that display manufacturers still need to use up their existing inventory of display panels, means that panel suppliers will almost certainly revise down their driver IC procurement. At the same time, as certain foundries gradually ramp up their driver IC production, the gap between supply and demand of driver ICs will in turn diminish. In other words, potential risks of driver IC shortage will also become slowly mitigated. For driver IC suppliers, their primary challenge for 2022 will be the ability to dynamically adjust their operations between peak demand and low demand periods. Consequently, IC suppliers that possess more robust operations and more diverse product portfolios will also hold the competitive advantage.

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

2021-08-17

Prices of Notebook Panels Expected to Plummet in Late 4Q21

The current state of the notebook panel market shows that prices of notebook panels are likely to follow the same trend set by TV panels and monitor panels in 4Q21. In other words, notebook panels may see their prices plummet from the previous uptrend during the quarter.

Notebook brands are confident that a wave of demand for commercial notebooks will take the place of the prior demand for consumer notebooks. Objectively speaking, however, as soon as enterprises return to pre-pandemic business operations, they are unlikely to immediately spend a considerable amount of their budget on refreshing their existing hardware, including notebook computers.

On the other hand, although consumer purchases comprised most WFH demand for notebooks within the past year, these notebooks were purchased with subsidies funded by the buyers’ workplaces. Once consumers return to physical offices for work following the termination of WFH, their purchased notebooks will then be returned to the workplaces as well. Hence, notebook brands which previously anticipated an upcoming wave of replacement demand for business notebooks may be overly optimistic in their expectations. As such, although notebook shipment has remained bullish in 3Q21, notebook sales are likely to gradually slow down going forward, meaning notebook vendors and brands alike may enter into a key period of inventory adjustment in 4Q21. At the same time, notebook manufacturers will also decelerate their procurement activities for panels across their entire range of notebook computers.


The four largest notebook panel suppliers still exert significant influence over the market’s overall supply of notebook panels, although newcomer HKC is not to be underestimated in terms of its potential to do the same, even pertaining to quotes. While HKC did not ship a single notebook panel in 2020, the company has ambitiously targeted an annual shipment of 10 million units this year in light of the expanded production capacity for IPS panels at its Mianyang fab. In 1H21, however, the display industry suffered a severe shortage of driver ICs, whose manufacturers first sought to ensure a steady supply of driver ICs for their more established clients. Being a notebook panel supplier that had had no business foundation, HKC, as was typical of such upstart companies, had its supply of driver ICs accordingly “adjusted” by driver IC suppliers. HKC was hence unable to effectively raise its shipment for 1H21.

As the demand for panels from various end-product segments slows down in 2H21, the shortage situation of driver ICs is also expected to either lessen somewhat or even turn into a supply-demand equilibrium. As such, HKC is likely to procure more driver ICs from its suppliers and subsequently step up its notebook panel shipment to 3.5 million units in 3Q21 and 4 million units in 4Q21. HKC’s increase in panel shipment for 2H21, if proven successful, will place downward pressure on notebook panel prices, thereby weakening said prices going forward.

TrendForce believes that 11.6-inch panels, the market for which has been relatively bearish, will most likely experience a decline in quotes starting in early 4Q21. At this size, even Full HD/IPS products, quotes for which have been relatively high in 3Q21, are likely to see their quotes hold flat in November 2021 and experience a sudden downward pressure on prices at the end of the year. Should the COVID-19 pandemic be brought under control on a global scale, demand for consumer electronics would likely return to its cyclical downturn in 1Q22, and the notebook panel market, despite its relatively robust supply chain, would see a more severe overall price accordingly.

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

2021-06-30

Global LED Video Wall Revenue for 2021 Projected to Increase by 13.5% YoY to US$6.27 Billion as Market Recovers, Says TrendForce

LED

Affected by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, global LED video wall revenue for 2020 reached a mere US$5.53 billion, a 12.8% YoY decrease, with the European and US markets suffering the most significant declines, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In 2021, as overall market demand recovers, and certain components in the upstream supply chain undergo price hikes due to shortage, LED video wall manufacturers have raised their product prices in response. Hence, LED video wall revenue for this year is expected to reach US$6.27 billion, a 13.5% YoY increase.

TrendForce further indicates that the overall demand for LED video walls has been gradually recovering thanks to increased vaccinations worldwide, which have enabled a gradual easing of border restrictions as well as the resumption of major commercial and sporting activities, including UEFA Euro 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In addition, owing to the rising prices of materials in the upstream LED video wall supply chain, such as driver IC, PCB, and LED components, LED video wall manufacturers such as Leyard, Unilumin, and Absen are gradually raising their product prices in order to maintain product profit.

While demand in the Chinese market was the first to recover, the top eight suppliers collectively accounted for a 60% market share

Regarding the ranking of LED video wall suppliers in 2020, Leyard took the leadership position with an 11.3% market share even though its overall revenue declined due to the pandemic’s impact on Leyard’s overseas businesses. Likewise, Unilumin saw declines in its overseas businesses, which caused only a slight drop in its revenue because Unilumin had placed a greater focus on sales in the Chinese market. Unilumin took second place with a market share of 10.8%. Qiangli Jucai, on the other hand, primarily conducted businesses in domestic China. By aggressively strengthening its distribution channels, Qiangli Jucai was able to increase its revenue against the overall downtrend and take third place. Daktronics, Hikvision, Samsung Electronics, Absen, and Shanxi High-tech Huaye rounded out of the rest of the ranking by taking the fourth to eighth places in order.

On the whole, most LED video wall manufacturers, especially companies (including Leyard, Unilumin, and Absen) whose primary markets were Europe and the US, saw declines in their revenues for 2020 due to the pandemic last year. Conversely, companies with a primary focus on the Chinese market, such as Qiangli Jucai and Shanxi High-tech Huaye, benefitted from the recovering demand that began ramping up in 3Q20 and peaked in 4Q20. These companies were able to propel the combined market share of the top eight LED video wall manufacturers last year to 58%, which was four percentage points higher compared to 54% in 2019.

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

2021-04-28

Global LED Video Wall Driver IC Revenue for 2021 Projected to Reach US$360 Million, a 13% Increase YoY, Says TrendForce

LED

The LED video wall driver IC market has been suffering from insufficient production capacities on the supply side since 2020, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In order to ensure a sufficient level of wafer capacities at foundries, LED video wall driver IC suppliers therefore began raising prices for certain driver IC products by about 5-10% at the end of last year, and this price hike is expected to persist through 2021 as well.

On the demand side, various commercial activities and sporting events have been successively resuming as the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control. The resumption of these activities is expected to drive global LED video wall driver IC revenue for 2021 to US$360 million, a 13% growth YoY.

Chipone takes leadership position among suppliers in the highly oligopolistic LED video wall driver IC market

TrendForce indicates that that the LED video wall driver IC market is highly oligopolistic, as the top five suppliers collectively possessed more than 90% market share by revenue last year. With regards to the performances of the individual suppliers, Chipone took leadership position with a 36% share in the LED video wall driver IC market and dwarfed the other suppliers in terms of both revenue and shipment. On the other hand, Taiwan-based Macroblock, which primarily focuses on the high-end segment and holds relatively advanced technologies in its portfolio, took second place with a 20% market share.

Sunmoon took third place last year with a 13% market share. The company went public in December in an effort to raise more capital and strengthen its market position. Sunmoon has since become listed on China’s SSE STAR Market as a public company. Rounding out the top five list are Fine Made and Shixin Technology, which took fourth and fifth place, respectively. These two companies, along with others such as Developer Microelectronics, Sumacro, MY-Semi, and Xm-Plus, together constituted a 31% market share.

Tight 8-inch wafer capacities have led to noticeable price hikes for entry-level LED video wall driver ICs

Although the foundry industry expanded its 8-inch wafer capacities in 2021, driver IC demand for applications such as 5G smartphones, 5G base stations, automotive power devices, PMICs, and large-sized panel driver ICs remains strong. Incidentally, wafer capacities for driver ICs used in these aforementioned applications overlap with wafer capacities for LED video wall driver ICs to an extensive degree. At the same time, as small pixel pitch and ultra-fine pitch displays (LED video walls) become the market mainstream, LED video wall driver IC demand will likely undergo a corresponding growth as well.

However, in 2021, production capacities for LED video wall driver ICs will continue to be constrained by the demand for other products due to their low profitability. As a result, TrendForce expects prices of high-end LED video wall driver ICs to once again undergo a 5-10% increase in 2Q21, while entry-level ones will undergo a price hike of about 20-30% for the same period.

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

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