Samsung


2022-02-16

Intel Kills Two Birds with One Stone as Tower Acquisition Strengthens Mature Process Platforms and Regional Production Capabilities, Says TrendForce

Intel officially confirmed on February 15 that it will acquire Israeli foundry Tower Semiconductor for nearly US$6 billion, and the deal will likely contribute to the growth of Intel’s foundry business if it reaches a successful conclusion, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Tower was 9th place in the global ranking of foundries by revenue for 4Q21 and operates a total of seven production sites across Israel, the US, and Japan. Tower’s foundry capacity in 12-inch wafer equivalents accounts for about 3% of the global total. The majority share of Tower’s foundry capacity is for 8-inch wafers, and Tower’s share of the global 8-inch wafer foundry capacity is around 6.2%. Regarding manufacturing process platforms, Tower offers nodes ranging from 0.8µm to 65nm. It has a diverse range of specialty process technologies for manufacturing products in relatively small quantities. Products that Tower has been contracted to manufacture are mostly RF-SOI components, PMICs, CMOS sensors, discretes, etc. As such, the Tower acquisition is expected to help Intel expand its presence in the smartphone, industrial equipment, and automotive electronics markets.

Although Intel undertook a series of business strategies to compete with TSMC and Samsung, IFS (Intel Foundry Services) has historically manufactured with platform technologies for processors such as CPUs and GPUs. Furthermore, competition still persists between Intel and certain foundry clients that require advanced processes below the 10nm node, such as AMD and Nvidia, which have long histories of developing server products, PC CPUs, GPUs, or other HPC-related chips. Intel’s preexisting competitive relationship with these companies may become a barrier to IFS’ future expansion because IFS will be relatively unlikely to attract them as customers.

Taking the aforementioned factors into account, TrendForce believes that the Tower acquisition will likely expand IFS’ business presence in the foundry industry through two considerations. First of all, the acquisition will help Intel both diversify its mature process technologies and expand its clientele. Thanks to advancements in communication technologies and an increase in demand for new energy vehicles, there has been a recent surge in demand for RF-SOI components and PMICs. Tower’s long-term focus on the diverse mature process technologies used to manufacture these products means it also possesses a long-term collaborative relationship with clients in such markets. By acquiring Tower, Intel is therefore able to address IFS’ limited foundry capabilities and limited clientele. The second consideration pertains to the indigenization of semiconductor manufacturing and supply allocations, which have become increasingly important issues in light of current geopolitical situations. As Tower operates fabs in Asia, EMEA, and North America, the acquisition is in line with Intel’s current strategic aim to reduce the disproportionate concentration of the foundry industry’s supply chain in Asia. As well, Intel holds long-term investments and operates fabs in both the US and Israel, so the Tower acquisition will give Intel more flexibility in allocating production capacities, thereby further mitigating risks of potential supply chain disruptions arising from geopolitical conflicts.

In addition to the aforementioned synergy derived from acquiring Tower, it should also be pointed out that Intel is set to welcome an upcoming partnership with Nuvoton. Tower’s three Japan-based fabs were previously operated under TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor, a joint venture created by Tower and Panasonic in 2014, with Tower and Panasonic each possessing 51% and 49% ownership, respectively. After Nuvoton acquired PSCS (Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions Co.) in 2020, Panasonic’s 49% ownership of the three fabs was subsequently transferred to Nuvoton. Following Intel’s Tower acquisition, Intel will now possess the 51% majority ownership of the fabs and jointly operate their production lines for industrial MCUs, automotive MCUs, and PMICs along with Nuvoton. Notably, these production lines also span the range of CIS, MCU, and MOSFET technologies previously developed by Panasonic.

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

2022-01-25

TV Shipments Estimated to Reach 217 million units in 2022, High-end Competition White Hot, Says TrendForce

The shipment performance of TV brands in 1H21 benefited from COVID-19 economic relief funds in the U.S., driving a continuing boom in North American shipments, according to TrendForce’s investigations. At the same time, TV brands continued to replenish panel inventories, pushing up panel prices. As the pandemic slowed down in Europe and the United States in 2H21, life returned to normal and pandemic stimulus no longer applied, challenging demand levels. In addition, rising raw material and freight prices pushed up whole device cost, forcing TV brands to pass costs onto retail pricing. Even though TV brands staked their hopes on the two major annual yearend sales promotion events of Singles Day in China (the biggest shopping day of the year globally, online and IRL) and Black Friday, sales performance was poor due to high costs leading to a slump in end-user demand and eventually causing TV shipments to decline by 3.2% annually to 210 million units in 2021.

TrendForce further indicates that panel supply and overall production capacity will be ample in 2022, dispelling severe TV panel price fluctuations while ushering in steady and moderate fluctuations as a replacement. After a sharp revision in TV panel prices in the 2H21, this year’s panel pricing is more advantageous to the planning of TV brands. In addition, the severe impact of the pandemic in Southeast Asia and emerging markets and high panel prices last year caused TV brands to reduce the scale of small-sized 23.6-inch, 32-inch, and 43-inch products, forcing a deferral of demand. In 2022, the pricing of small-sized panels will be close to panel manufacturers’ cash cost which will help TV brands recapture a larger proportion of small-sized panel shipments. The proportion of shipments below 39-inch will remain at 25%, medium-sized 40~59-inch panels will remain at 55%, and large-sized panels above 60-inch will remain the focus of international brands with market share expected to rise to 20%. Benefiting from the deferral of small-sized panel demand, TV shipments in 2022 will grow by 3.4% to 217 million units.

OLED TV growth to slow down in 2022, annual growth rate to settle at 27%

In 2021, OLED TVs benefited from soaring LCD prices in the previous two years. This was also the case with 55-inch 4K O/C products. The price difference between the two has narrowed from a multiple of 4.7 in early 2020 to 1.8 in mid-2021, thereby incentivizing more TV brands to switch to producing OLED TVs when LCD panel supply is limited and driving OLED TV shipments to 6.7 million units in 2021, or 70% growth YoY. Although Samsung Electronics intends to join the white OLED camp and simultaneously launch QD OLED TVs this year, the continuing falling pricing of LCD panels and the price of OLED TV panels (subject to LG Display’s strategy of increasing pricing as opposed to dropping them) may disrupt Samsung Electronics’ rollout of OLED TVs. If Samsung Electronics fails to launch spring OLED TV models, its original shipment target of 1.5 million units will inevitably be affected. However, whether it launches OLED TV models in spring or summer, Samsung Electronics will take advantage of its brand and channel advantages irrespective of other considerations to take the OLED TV market by storm and aim for a market share of 15%.

Annual growth rate of Mini LED TVs doubled, shipments push towards 4.5 million units

TCL has opened up new horizons for TV products after releasing its first Mini LED TV in 2020. In 2021, Samsung Electronics launched a series of 50-85-inch mid/high-end 4K and flagship 55-85-inch 8K Mini LED models, with shipments exceeding one million units in the first year, reaching 1.5 million units, and boosting overall Mini LED TV shipments in 2021 to 2.1 million units. In addition to Samsung Electronics and TCL continuing to utilize Mini LED in 2022, more TV brands will also join the fray. Overall Mini LED TV shipments will race towards 4.5 million units. SONY showed its 8K 85-inch and 75-inch TVs for the first time at CES at the beginning of the year. Sony’s flagship 4K 85-inch, 75-inch, and 65-inch models were the most notable at CES and Sony will join Samsung and LG Electronics as another international brand marketing OLED and Mini LED TVs, intensifying competition in the high-end TV market.

2022-01-24

Price Drop of NAND Flash Products for 1Q22 Expected to Taper to 8-13% QoQ Decline, Says TrendForce

NAND Flash prices for 1Q22 are expected to decline by 8-13% QoQ, compared to TrendForce’s previous forecast of 10-15% QoQ, primarily due to PC OEMs’ increased orders for PCIe 3.0 products and the impact of the lockdown in Xi’an on PC OEMs’ price negotiation approaches. To mitigate potential risks in logistics, NAND Flash buyers are now more willing to accept a narrower decline in contract prices in order to obtain their products sooner. However, as the Xi’an lockdown has not noticeably affected the local fabs’ manufacturing operations, the movement of NAND Flash contract prices going forward will likely remain relatively unaffected by the lockdown.

In addition, TrendForce finds that the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Xi’an has recently undergone a noticeable drop, and the local government has also announced that that the emergency level has been downgraded. As such, Samsung’s and Micron’s local production facilities are returning to normal with respect to workforce and operational capacity. Samsung’s local production base manufactures NAND Flash products, whereas Micron’s local production base is responsible for the testing and packaging of DRAM chips as well as the assembly of DRAM modules. The impacts of the lockdown mainly relate to delays in the deliveries of memory products to customers. On the other hand, the event has not caused a tangible loss in memory production.

Lockdown in Xi’an has not caused a notable rise in NAND Flash spot prices because most spot buyers already carry a high level of inventory

Regarding NAND Flash spot prices, suppliers temporarily suspended quote offering immediately after the event due to concerns about the fallout. As a result, the general decline in NAND Flash spot prices has more or less come to a halt. However, there has been no accompanying signs of spot buyers rushing to procure more products, and the overall transaction volume remains fairly low. TrendForce’s latest survey of the spot market finds that buyers still have plenty of stock on hand and are not in a hurry to procure NAND Flash products at the prices that are currently being offered.

Decline in client SSD and UFS prices for 1Q22 is expected to narrow

Regarding the contract prices of major NAND Flash products, their overall decline has been narrower than previously expected. For instance, despite the weakening demand for Chromebooks, notebook production on the whole has been improving as component gaps become gradually resolved, while demand for commercial notebooks also provides some upward momentum for the overall shipment of notebook computers. As a result, the QoQ decline in notebook shipment for 1Q22 has been narrower compared to prior first quarters. Furthermore, lower-than-expected shipment of Intel’s latest Alder Lake CPUs, which support PCIe 4.0 interface, has led certain PC OEMs to ramp up their orders for PCIe 3.0 SSDs in order to meet their PC shipment targets for 1Q22. However, SSD suppliers have already begun gradually transitioning their material preparation to PCIe 4.0 SSD instead, thereby creating a gap between the supply and demand of PCIe 3.0 SSDs. As well, the Xi’an lockdown has prompted client SSD buyers to scramble to lock in their required delivery volumes. Taken together, these factors have lessened the decline in client SSD prices for 1Q22 from the previous 5-10% QoQ to 3-8% QoQ.

Regarding smartphones, not only has demand remained relatively sluggish, but smartphone brands are also still holding a relatively high level of eMMC/UFS inventory, meaning these brands are not particularly willing to negotiate prices for high volumes of mobile NAND Flash storage at the moment. On the other hand, thanks to increased orders from PC OEMs since November 2021, NAND Flash suppliers’ inventory levels have fallen somewhat. Hence, the decline in mobile NAND Flash storage quotes has in turn narrowed slightly. Contract prices of UFS products are now expected to decrease by 5-10% QoQ in 1Q22 instead of 8-13% QoQ as previously expected. Finally, contract prices of server SSD and NAND Flash wafers are expected to decline by 3-8% QoQ and 10-15% QoQ, respectively, in 1Q22, in line with prior expectations.

2022-01-19

Locked Onto Home Theater and High-End Commercial Display Markets, Revenue of Micro LED Large-sized Display Chips Will Reach US$4.5 Billion in 2026, Says TrendForce

LED

Micro LED large-sized displays will move towards the home theater and high-end commercial display markets and the revenue of Micro LED large-sized display chips is estimated to reach US$54 million in 2022, according to TrendForce’s latest research. By 2026, revenue is expected to grow to US$4.5 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 204%. In addition, technical obstacles will be conquered one by one over time. The development of Micro LED large-sized displays will peak from 2026 to 2030 and the one year revenue of Micro LED chips has the opportunity to reach tens of billions of dollars.

In recent years, major global brands in various regions have released Micro/Mini LED self-emissive large-sized display products. Samsung, the world’s leading TV manufacturer, released a 146-inch TV, “The Wall,” in 2018 and continues to release 75-inch, 89-inch, 101-inch, 110-inch, 219-inch, and 292-inch large tiled wall displays at CES every year. Due to the evolution of different application scenarios and technologies, the future development trend of Micro LED large-sized displays will be in home theaters, corporate headquarters, and boutique stores. Commercial indoor and outdoor large-sized displays are mainly based on Mini LED self-emissive large-sized displays. In order to satisfy the requirements of close indoor viewing, Micro LED large-sized displays require a theater-level experience, seamless tiled display splicing, pursuit of zero borders, thin design, and competitive pricing. Thus, active matrix (AM) would be the first choice for display design.

TrendForce states, current Micro LED large-sized displays still face the dual challenges of technology and cost including Micro LED chip cost, and the three key technologies of backplane technology, driving technology, and the mass transfer process. In terms of Micro LED chip cost, due to the enormous number of chips used and the need for consistent wavelength uniformity to achieve perfect display quality, the clean room level requirements for epitaxial and chip processes, control of process conditions, and inspection and maintenance during processes are very strict, greatly increasing relative process defect rate and overall cost. In terms of mass transfer, the current mass transfer technologies used in Micro LED large-sized displays include pick-and-place technology and laser transfer technology, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. TrendForce believes that, although current Micro LED mass transfer technology is still in the product development and adjustment stage, there have been no real quantitative achievements. However, in terms of pick-and-place mass transfer equipment capacity, using 10cm2 transfer stamps to transfer 34*58µm Micro LED chips, production capacity (UPH; Unit per Hour) is approximately 7 million units. If the laser mask opening of laser mass transfer technology is 8 square millimeters, production capacity is approximately 12 million units. No matter which kind of transfer technology, the mass transfer capacity of Micro LED large-sized displays needs to reach at least a 20 million unit level of efficiency and 99.999% yield in the future to meet the conditions for mass commercialization.

Active matrix design will abet the development of Micro LED technology

In terms of backplane and drive technology, passive matrix (PM) drive design is based on a PCB backplane with a passive drive circuit structure, using MOSFET as the current switching element. Therefore, overall structure is more complex and requires a wider placement area for circuit components. In addition, when dot pitch is reduced to less than P0.625, the PCB backplane will encounter the challenges of line width and line space mass production limitations and rising cost. Thus, the current technological state of the passive matrix (PM) drive design is more suited to large-sized display applications utilizing dot pitches greater than P0.625 and equipped with a Mini LED. However, for consumer Micro LED TVs employing a dot pitch less than P0.625, active matrix (AM) drive design will become the new direction of display design. Since a TFT glass backplane with LTPS switching technology is considered mature technology by panel manufacturers, it is necessary to adjust certain portions of the manufacturing process and parameters to precisely control and drive Micro LED current.

In addition, in order to achieve seamless tiled display splicing technology, glass metallization and side wire electrode glass will become further technical challenges. As resolution moves higher and the dot pitch is reduced, the front circuit of TFT glass must be guided to the back along the side or by using through-holes. At this time, glass metallization technology becomes key. Since current glass metallization technology is still afflicted with technical bottlenecks resulting in high cost due to low yield, when these bottlenecks are resolved with future technology, the launch of mass production glass metallization will become the advantage of active matrix backplanes. Future active matrix (AM) drive design with Micro LED chips and seamless splicing technology have the opportunity to become the mainstream technology of Micro LED TV development and the key to unlocking a new wave of Micro LED large-sized display cost optimization.

2022-01-12

Mobile Phone Camera Module Shipments Estimated at Approximately 4.92 Billion in 2022 with Triple Camera Modules as Mainstay, Says TrendForce

In recent years, the biggest trend of smartphone camera modules is the increasing number of rear camera modules, according to TrendForce’s investigations. According to TrendForce research, triple camera modules surpassed dual camera modules to become mainstream in 2020 and drove the continued growth of smartphone camera module shipments. Annual smartphone camera module shipments in 2022 are expected to reach 4.92 billion units, or 2% growth YoY.

However, the trend towards multiple cameras started to shift in 2H21 after a few years of positive growth. The previous spike in the penetration rate of four camera modules was primarily incited by mid-range smart phone models in 2H20 when mobile phone brands sought to market their products through promoting more and more cameras. However, as consumers realized that the macro and depth camera usually featured on the third and fourth cameras were used less frequently and improvements in overall photo quality limited, the demand for four camera modules gradually subsided and mobile phone brands returned to fulfilling the actual needs of consumers. In addition, increases in the pricing of semiconductor chips such as PMICs and Driver ICs, as well as increased shipping costs, have driven the cost of mobile phones up sharply. Without the ability to effectively pass this cost onto consumers, any remaining allowance to economically install low-end cameras has been effectively eliminated.

Camera resolution upgrades: fastest growing market share encompasses 49-64 million pixel cameras

Although camera shipment growth has slowed, camera resolution continues to improve. Taking primary cameras as an example, the current mainstream design is 13-48 million pixels, accounting for more than 50% of cameras in 2021. In second place are products featuring 49-64 million pixels which accounted for more than 20% of cameras last year with penetration rate expected to increase to 23% in 2022. The third highest portion is 12 million pixel products, currently dominated by the iPhone and Samsung’s flagship series. However, a 48 million pixel primary camera is expected to be introduced to the iPhone 14 Pro series (tentative name) that Apple will release this year, further reducing 12 million pixel products to a 15% share in 2022.

In addition to the original Samsung and Xiaomi brands employing 108 million pixels cameras, Vivo and Honor also introduced similar resolution cameras in 2021. There is a chance 200 million pixel products will be ready for commercial use in 2022, driving the penetration rate of ultra-high pixel products to an expected level in excess of 5% in 2022. However, such ultra-high pixel products primarily focus on enlarging photographs without losing image quality. Therefore, TrendForce believes that any marginal benefits these products bring to consumers will gradually decrease and the penetration rate will not grow as quickly as 49-64 million pixels products.

Overall, TrendForce believes that the number of camera modules mounted on smartphones will no longer be the main focus of mobile phone brands, as focus will return to the real needs of consumers. Therefore, triple camera modules will remain the mainstream design for the next 2~3 years.

  • Page 4
  • 15 page(s)
  • 72 result(s)