Current U.S. sanctions on China have extended their reach to strike at HPC and sectors such as aerospace, automotive market, and military industry. TrendForce indicates, the market for high-end computing chips (including CPU, GPU, etc.) has borne the brunt of these restrictions at this stage, while those providing related storage such as DRAM and NAND Flash also face potential supply disruption. At present, this not only includes domestic companies in mainland China but also extends to related US-based suppliers. Among them, server companies that rely on high-intensity computing will face greater scrutiny.
Impact analysis on server terminal shipments
In terms of server terminal shipments, since relevant component suppliers have not yet been able to confirm whether services provided by the four major cloud service providers (CSPs) in China, Baidu, ByteDance, Alibaba, and Tencent, involve military use, before CSPs sign MOUs (memoranda of understanding), component manufacturers may temporarily delay shipments to the Chinese market. However, TrendForce believes, due to the fact that current CSP buyers’ component inventories remain sufficient, the short-term impact on global server market shipment performance is relatively low and long-term impact depends on the evolution of the US Department of Commerce’s rules.
Huawei and Sugon, two companies that have received attention at this stage due to the US ban, have previously withdrawn from the x86 server market and turned into cloud business providers and whole server delivery has been transferred to other domestic OEMs and outsourced computing power leasing, so as not to be affected by sanctions. However, due to the previous CPU ban, Sugon has turned to AMD to obtain authorization for localized chips, which may be significantly curtailed by this ban. In 2022, Sugon’s market share in the overall server market will be approximately 2.3% and 8.5% of the Chinese market.
TrendForce believes, it cannot be ruled out that relevant Chinese OEMs may have server products that may be rendered to government supercomputing centers in the future. Inspur, H3C, and Lenovo will face more exacting future scrutiny and, if consequences intensify, the mainland Chinese industrial chain may feel direct effects. Although commercial servers are not currently on the list of directly restricted items, if friction between the United States and China intensifies in the future, it cannot be ruled out that the U.S. Department of Commerce will add more potentially risky Chinese server OEMs and CSPs onto the UVL list. If certification cannot be realized within 60 days of being included in the UVL list, these entities will be included on the entity list. The worst case scenario will be a future trend of negative growth in Chinese server demand.
Since the restrictions enumerated in this ban are primarily concentrated in the HPC field, the greatest factor affecting Sugon is the company largely providing server OEM to government departments including in supercomputers, military aerospace, and government server farms. At present, there are 8 national-level supercomputing centers in mainland China and the supercomputer located in the center of Wuxi is the headquarters of China’s self-developed chips including the self-developed Sunway TaihuLight. As the U.S. Department of Commerce continues to strengthen its sanctions, China’s supercomputing technology and domestic research capabilities will be severely damaged in the future.
Impact analysis on GPU and CPU sectors
At present, companies utilizing high-end graphics cards are primarily concentrated in the HPC sector. In terms of CSPs, Alibaba and Baidu are the largest companies in mainland China. These two CSP companies account for up to 60% of the market share of GPU usage in China. Before the previous ban at the end of August, Chinese CSP operators had to submit purchase applications before procurement but they could not apply at all after the ban. However, based on the premise that buyer inventory levels on hand remain high and the supply of goods through distribution channels is sufficient, no effect on demand is forecast until 1H23. Nonetheless, it will be a challenge in the long-term. Since the ban expressly prohibits supercomputing center applications such as HPC, TrendForce assesses that GPU servers used by supercomputing centers will be directly affected, which accounts for up to 30% of China’s GPU market.
In terms of chip computing performance control, ECCNs 3A090 and 4A090 are newly added sanctioned items and chips with a total processing performance of more than 4,800 (inclusive) calculated by TOPS will be restricted. GPUs are usually used to directly assist in performing complex operations. Basically, NVIDIA’s A100 PCIe Gen4 and AMD’s MI250 OAM Module exceed the 4,800 limit. With new high computing performance products restricted in the future, development of server acceleration computing in China will take a hit.
However, the computing performance of most server CPU products is generally lower than the provisions of the ban. Only Chinese-made chips such as Tianjin Haiguang face direct restrictions and other CPUs such as Intel and AMD servers will not be subject to prohibition. At this stage, Intel and AMD will sign MOUs with relevant mainland Chinese manufacturers to ensure that related products cannot be used in military and supercomputing fields before shipment. In today’s server CPUs, the computing performance of the commonly used Intel Ice Lake CPU series does not reach the limit imposed by U.S. sanctions.
Impact analysis on the memory sector
At present, Samsung and SK hynix have also suspended their supply of product to Sugon. If Sugon can clarify procured memory is not used for supercomputing, domestic server products, etc., the parties will be able to reach a consensus for shipment. In the long run, Korean companies are evaluating whether they need a written commitment from each customer to disavow using purchasing memory products in supercomputers. Therefore, some memory shipments may be affected before documents are signed. The industry generally believes that market inventory remains relatively abundant and there will be no substantial damage to the market in the short term. As far as SSD is concerned, the greatest utilization remains in the category of AI/DL (Deep Learning), since most of the data trained from DL must be stored in faster and more convenient SSDs for use in inference scenarios. If the suspension of shipments caused by the current ban cannot be rectified by relevant buyer agreements, the development of Chinese server manufacturers in related AI/DL fields may be hamstrung and a calamitous decline in the market penetration rate of enterprise SSDs from international manufacturers cannot be ruled out.
Impact analysis on the networking sector
There are three reasons for a relatively minor impact assessment on the well-connected suppliers in the networking sector. First, there are numerous networking suppliers and many of them are in China. Since the demand for key components is relatively small, Chinese suppliers should be able to keep up. Second, the mainstream process in this field is a mature process and future expansion is less restricted. Third, from the perspective of supplier shipments, after foundry assembly, packaging, and testing, there are multiple distribution channels for the circulation of the final product and it will be difficult to determine whether terminals are military use. However, from the perspective of long-term impact, there is a high probability that Chinese manufacturers will give priority to China’s local supply chain in the future to ensure future supply. This move will undoubtedly deepen the resistance of other suppliers’ shipments to China, so it is necessary to open up multiple shipping channels to stabilize market share.
Shipments of e-sports LCD monitors is expected to come in at 23.2 million units in 2022, with an annual growth rate of only 2%. Although branded and panel manufacturers are still actively promoting e-sports monitors, the Russian-Ukrainian war began to affect overall European consumer market demand starting in February 2022. After 2Q22, Europe was clearly hit hard by inflation and demand for consumer electronics products shrank sharply, steadily eroding e-sports LCD monitors sales. If sales in peak season 4Q22 are disappointing, gaming LCDs may not be able to maintain their growth momentum and will face the first year in which shipments declined.
Strictly control costs and inventory to maintain profitability and competitiveness
At present, there is no shortage of materials for e-sports LCD monitors and panel prices are falling month by month. Transit time was shortened by 2 to 3 weeks in 2Q22. In addition to sluggish consumer demand in Europe, product sales have slowed. Demand in 2H22 will also feel the heat of interest rate hikes in the United States. Therefore, branded manufacturers must clear their high-priced inventories in the shortest possible time and reduce the inventory levels of panels and whole devices as soon as possible to curb ballooning losses precipitated by cratering prices.
M-type development of e-sports products to increase product penetration
Looking forward to shipments of e-sports LCD monitors in 2023, e-sports merchandise is expected to remain a key product in continuous development at major branded manufacturers. However, overall market size will stagnate in 2023. Considering the limited market, manufacturers must raise the value of their products. E-sports products need M-type development if they wish to grow despite trends.
Firstly, is parity of low-end gaming products, such as narrowing the price gap between gaming products and standard products or reducing specifications and cost to replace prior 60Hz products with 100Hz products. Development of high-end e-sports products with higher resolution and higher refresh rates or new technologies such as QD-OLED, OLED, and Mini-LED should continue in order to improve and optimize said products and enhance the consumer experience. Hopefully, consumers will prioritize e-sports products when purchasing LCD monitors and its market share will continue to expand.
Although the overall economy is unstable, the use of automotive MCUs is still increasing gradually due to electric and smart vehicle trends. In order to meet market demand, IDMs have strengthened their investment in production resources. There will also be volume and price growth in 2022. Overall market size is estimated to reach US$8.58 billion, with an annual growth rate of 25.7%.
Automotive MCU market dominated by major international IDMs, 32-bit penetration rate will reach 80.1% in 2022
NXP, Renesas, and Infineon account for approximately 70% of global automotive MCU market share. In 2022, NXP will focus on the development of its S32 series and presented a S32M test chip featuring TSMC’s 5nm process, symbolizing a major milestone in the development of automotive chips. Renesas is focusing on its RH850 series, supplemented by the Low Power RL78 to stabilize development. Infineon’s automotive MCU development is focused on its AURIX series which features a self-developed TriCore core and is designed to perform mid-to-high-level automotive system control.
In general, major international IDMs have a complete line of automotive MCUs. With the increasing number of automotive functions, requirements for MCU computing power have advanced. Considering the optimization of major manufacturers’ product portfolios, the penetration rate of 32-Bit MCUs will also increase year by year and is forecast to grow to 80.1% in 2022.
Nuvoton ranks among top ten MCUs producers worldwide, Taiwanese manufacturers’ operations suffer headwinds after tide of shortages recedes
Taiwanese MCU manufacturers are represented by Nuvoton, Holtek, and Sonix. There are other manufacturers such as Generalplus, Nyquest, Hycon, and Megawin but their revenue scale is small and proportion of MCU is low. Overall, only Nuvoton is an IDM with a MCU market share ranked among the top ten in the world and readily available automotive MCU products.
Taiwanese manufacturers mainly focus on mid-to-low-end consumer electronics applications with low barriers to entry. Most of them are fabless manufacturers, meaning the barriers to entry for capital are also low. Therefore, it is difficult to compare their product portfolios with major international manufacturers. After the shortage of semiconductors subsided, operation in 1H22 inevitably encountered headwinds and demand for consumer electronics in 2H22 will continue to be weak, signaling the arrival of a cold winter for the consumer MCU market.
Chinese smartphone brands such as Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo all have their own production lines. In recent years, these brands have accelerated their overseas deployment due to rising labor costs in China, growing geopolitical risk factors, and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only will Xiaomi produce mobile phones in Vietnam, but the company will also continue to expand production lines in India and Indonesia in the coming years. OPPO has also set up factories in countries including India, Indonesia, and Turkey to meet the needs of neighboring markets. Vivo has successively set up factories in India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, and initiated its production lines in Turkey and Pakistan in 2021. Since current trends have the Chinese market declining more than the global market, OPPO and Vivo’s proportion of overseas production capacity is expected to increase gradually. As for Xiaomi, which has always been active in overseas markets, the company will continue to expand its production capacity in India and Vietnam.
Xiaomi’s achievements in expanding overseas markets are most outstanding, OPPO following suit, Vivo rushing to catch up
From the perspective of Chinese brands, Xiaomi has been deeply involved in overseas markets for many years. Its overseas revenue was only RMB9.1 billion in 2016, but by 2018, overseas revenue had exceeded RMB70 billion. Xiaomi currently has a market share varying between 10 and 25% in Europe, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. On the other hand, OPPO has been tackling overseas markets aggressively since 2018, and currently has a market share between 10-15% in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. As for Vivo’s late start, its market share in India, Pakistan, and the Philippines is approximately 10-15%.
If the overall market is divided into the Chinese market and the non-Chinese market, shipments from Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo to the non-Chinese market are estimated to account for 74%, 66%, and 46% of total shipments, respectively, in 2021. Since China’s smartphone shipments may decrease by 16% in 2022, and recovery is limited in the short term, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo are expected to focus more on overseas markets in the future and the proportion of non-Chinese market shipments is expected to increase further.
According to TrendForce, the global quantum computing market was valued at US$470 million in 2021, an increase of 16.7% compared to 2020. This market is mainly led by China and the United States, driving global quantum computing and its technological progress, especially in upper-layer software. In terms of algorithmic speed, small-scale problems have been put to the test through experimentation. The market is expected to reach US$580 million in 2022, with an annual growth rate of approximately 18.8%, and current growth rate expanding every year until 2027.
According to TrendForce, as stated in the Chinese government’s plan for software and information technology services, its quantum technology policy will be further implemented from a national level to departments including national defense, industry, and technology and more targeted policies will be released through tiered departmental levels such as for AI, quantum information technology, biotechnology, semiconductors, and autonomous systems. To this end, the Chinese government is establishing relevant laboratories in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hefei to promote the rapid development of quantum technology and quantum computing cloud platforms.
When China launched its “Five-Year Plan” in 2006 to promote economic and industrial development, it also focused on the development of quantum science and technological breakthroughs, as well as the deeply integrated development and application of quantum computing in emerging technologies such as AI, edge computing, big data, IoT, and cloud such as advanced space quantum communication technology and quantum computing combined with AI/ML, IoT, and cloud, providing assistance to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ quantum satellites, the University of Science and Technology of China’s quantum computer, and other quantum processors to achieve breakthroughs in technology and functional characteristics. Therefore, the cumulative investment in China’s quantum field is estimated to reach US$15 billion in 2022.
Main applications of China’s quantum computing market
Considering the immense size, extremely harsh operating environment, and high price of quantum computers, quantum computing applications are rapidly developing towards cloud platforms. Therefore, research on quantum computers primarily focus on four types of applications: simulation, optimization, cryptography, and machine learning. “Simulation” is most used in processes that occur in nature such as weather forecasting, mid- and long-term climate deductions, and polar climate change. It is also widely used in fluid mechanics, drug discovery, battery design, and high-frequency trading, derivatives, and options pricing in the financial industry.
“Optimization” is the use of quantum algorithms to determine the best solution among a set of feasible options and is mostly used for risk management in traffic arteries, logistics, self-driving navigation systems, and financial investment portfolios. “Machine learning” is used to identify patterns in data and statistics, enhance the training of machine learning algorithms, accelerate AI development, and introduced to self-driving cars and financial systems to prevent fraud and money laundering.
As enumerated above, the scope of quantum computing applications is gradually expanding, covering fields including supply chain, finance, transportation, logistics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automobiles, aviation, energy, and meteorology. Sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and new materials use quantum operations to analogize molecular properties, directly analyze and obtain large molecular properties through a computerized digital format, shorten the time for theoretical verification, and thereby accelerating drug research and development and the development of new materials.
In the automotive field, in order to accelerate the promotion of electrification strategies, major carmakers have applied quantum computing to chemical analogies and are committed to developing batteries with better performance. In the aerospace field, quantum computing is used to solve some of the most difficult challenges facing the aviation industry, from basic materials, product research and development, machine learning optimization, to complex system optimization, and are even changing the way aircraft are made and fly.