The analog IC industry is one with a long history of development and product adoption across various applications. Annual analog IC revenue reached US$53.9 billion in 2020. As the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control in China and the US this year, their domestic demand for telecom, automotive, industrial, and consumer electronics products has also kept growing, in turn generating strong demand for analog ICs. TrendForce therefore expects IC revenue for 2021 to reach US67.9 billion, a 22.1% YoY increase.
More specifically, analog IC demand from the automotive market is expected to undergo remarkable growth this year, primarily due to the recovery of the global automotive market and the continued trend towards automotive electrification as commercial opportunities from ADAS, EV, and automotive electronics enter a period of rapid growth. In response to demand from automakers and the auto market, various major IDMs have been placing a heavy emphasis on automotive analog IC development. Led by Infineon, NXP, Renesas, TI, and STM, the automotive IC market is expected to experience a 24.6% growth in 2021.
What is an analog IC?
The analog IC is an indispensable component in electronic devices. These chips can be divided into two categories according to their functions: general purpose analog IC and application specific analog IC. The former category encompasses amplifiers/comparators (signal conditioning), signal conversion, interface, and power management (general purpose). In sum, general purpose analog ICs are characterized by their low costs, single purpose, and universal compatibility.
Application specific analog ICs, on the other hand, encompass such use cases as consumer, computer, communications, automotive, and industrial/others. This product category refers to analog ICs that are designed and manufactured in accordance with electrical systems specified by the client. Compared to digital ICs, analog ICs are much more diverse in terms of product type, less costly, and more stable, while also having longer lifecycles.
The current state of the top three analog IC manufacturers
Almost all major analog IC suppliers are IDMs with long histories. In particular, longtime market leader Texas Instruments once against took pole position in the ranking of analog IC suppliers by revenue last year. With a range of analog ICs that includes more than 80,000 products, Texas Instruments possessed a 19% market share. The company is expected to maintain its dominance in 2021 thanks to its diverse product lines, high market acceptance, and high volume of client orders.
Infineon, which took second place on the ranking, registered a 19% YoY revenue growth on the back of its expansion into automotive and power management markets. Third-ranked STMicroelectronics benefitted from rising sales of its analog, MEMS, and sensor product portfolios. TrendForce expects Infineon and STMicroelectronics to continue their upward trajectories throughout 2021.
Whereas China is the largest market for analog ICs, the analog IC industry will see the highest growth in the US
China is expected to account for 42% of analog IC sales, the highest among all regions in 2021, with the consumer electronics segment comprising most of these transactions. However, the US is expected to undergo the highest growth in terms of analog IC sales with a US$10.6 billion revenue in 2021, a 25% YoY growth. This performance can mostly be attributed to the fact that the US economy has been recovering in the post-pandemic era owing to increasing purchases in the consumer electronics, telecom, and automotive markets.
Furthermore, the US government has been pushing for infrastructure developments with a focus on transportation, networking, and electricity generation, leading to expanded procurement of analog ICs used in these applications. As the markets welcomes the arrival of the traditional peak season for analog IC procurement in 2H21, growth in the US market will likely persist as well.
National governments in Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, have been instituting increasingly stringent pandemic control measures in response to the intensifying COVID-19 pandemic in these countries. Remarkably, these countries are all hotspots in the electronic component supply chain, and Malaysia, home to many semiconductor packaging and testing facilities as well as passive component fabs, has now come under the international spotlight as a result. In particular, Malaysia’s MCO 3.0 (Movement Control Order 3.0) lockdown, which was extended on June 1, specifically excludes the semiconductor industry, as this industry boasts relatively high market revenue. As such, packaging and testing facilities are currently operating normally in Malaysia, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.
On March 18, 2020, the Malaysian government first implemented similar pandemic control measures, under which only about 50% of private businesses were allowed to operate. The semiconductor industry and medical services were notably excluded from the restrictions at the time, given the former’s high revenue and the latter’s critical importance during emergencies. Despite the heightened lockdown of the MCO 3.0, under which only certain essential economic activities are allowed to function, some aspects of the MCO 3.0’s restrictions are relatively more lenient, as this policy specifies only 40% of private business employees must adopt WFH. Incidentally, as previously mentioned, the MCO 3.0 does not apply to the semiconductor industry.
As manufacturing operations and lead times of passive components become constrained, end clients’ procurement activities remain uncertain in 2H21
On the other hand, TrendForce indicates that the passive component market, which is also a key industry in Malaysia, will likely face supply-side bottlenecks as a result of the MCO 3.0, affecting such suppliers as Taiyo Yuden, Walsin Technology, NDK, and Epson. Under the latest restrictions, product lead times in the passive component supply chain, along with the state of the transportation industry (which determines shipping and delivery schedules of passive components), will become key determinants of whether client orders can be fulfilled on time.
In addition, brands in Europe and North America will begin adjust their orders for late-3Q21 in June and July. Notebook brands including Dell and HP are not only expected to maintain their orders for 2H21, but also taking measures to ensure a steady supply of IC components, while Apple will begin procuring components for its upcoming iPhone 13 from the passive component supply chain in July. Although these orders are expected to provide upward momentum for the passive component market in 2H21, the resurgence of the pandemic in Southeast Asia, as well as whether the shortage of semiconductor components will be alleviated going forward, will affect clients’ procurement activities for MLCC (multilayer ceramic capacitors) in 2H21.
On the whole, although the packaging and testing operations of major IDMs (Intel, Infineon, and Texas Instruments) and OSAT operators (ASE, Amkor, TFME, and Hua Tian) in Malaysia remain unaffected for the time being, TrendForce believes that the MCO 3.0 will likely have an impact on the supply and demand of the global passive component market in 2H21.
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