DVCON US 2020 Banner 1

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China in 2020 Lower profits more bankruptcies and new challenges doing business This is the fifth and final part of the series For many industrial businesses, 2019 has been tough. Profits lower across the board – light and heavy industry, state-owned and private businesses. Labor costs rising while ex-factory prices are not. Access to debt restricted. The gap between high performers and laggards widened further, with leaders raising capital expenditures 20 percent plus over last year as they double down on deploying robotics, IoT, blockchain, and other productivity enablers in their supply chain. Laggards are edging closer to bankruptcy. There are strong signs that we will see more bankruptcies in 2020. More banks will be allowed to fail beyond the four shuttered so far in 2019. The PBOC declared in its 2019 Financial Stability Report that it had closed 1000 P2P lenders in 2019 and that they evaluate close to 600 smaller banks (13 percent of the total) as “risky”. Their solution will have “Chinese characteristics”: failing banks will almost all be bailed out through merging with one of China’s larger banks. More property companies will find they are financially extended beyond the level at which black-market lenders will support them. Industry consolidation will be the main solution. Investors will see more dramatic falls in share prices for specific stressed listed companies in the mainland and Hong Kong, along the lines of the 90 percent plus falls at Kasen, ArtGo and Tibet Water in recent weeks. This is a positive, companies that had been clogging up their sectors are finally being cleared out. Business will need to be alert to the financial state of their customers and suppliers. High growth sectors in 2020 will be clustered in consumer facing services, many internet-enabled. Healthcare, education, travel, and leisure will all remain strong. Sectors where the Chinese government actively encourages investment have been clearly laid out– from semiconductor, to AI and smart cities, to manufacturing IoT, to biotech and advanced materials. Making money in these sectors directly in the short term may be tough, but making money out of supplying to these sectors can be very attractive.

Hong Kong and business

Hong Kong entered a recession driven by the downturn in tourists (nearly 1 million fewer travelers through Hong Kong airport last month with 20 percent fewer arrivals from mainland China) and by locals pulling back on spending. More than 50 conferences and exhibitions have been postponed or moved elsewhere. Popular hotels and restaurants have utilization down below 40 percent, even with 40-60 percent discounts, and are putting staff on unpaid leave. Retailers from clothing to jewelry have sales down as much as 50 percent from last year. Businesses clustered in industries in and around the financial markets have been less impacted. Financial markets have not closed and IPOs are still happening. But changes are being considered. While they won’t make overnight changes to a successful operating model, many are now starting to think through the what ifs and could act on them in 2020. For some multinationals, asking the basic question of why a large regional headquarters is in Hong Kong and why it is of the scale that it is can return slightly uncomfortable answers. For a good number, the answer is little more than it has always been like that – a location decision that was made rationally 20 or 30 years ago had not been challenged since then. Plus their senior executives like the low tax rates on offer in Hong Kong. For China focused businesses, more regional activity could be undertaken in the mainland, without material additional cost. Asean and North Asian businesses may have grown to the scale to justify their own regional hubs. With mainland visitor numbers to Hong Kong looking unlikely to recover soon, luxury brand businesses are questioning just how many outlets they should retain in Hong Kong. If clients from the mainland now prefer to meet in Shenzhen, it is straightforward to upgrade a Shenzhen office, to accommodate more permanent staff. Shenzhen or other local governments may even offer GBA policy incentives to do so. Looking forward into 2020, business leaders in Hong Kong face tough organizational challenges such as sustaining a culture in which mainland and local staff work effectively, and persuading Hong Kong staff to continue to take opportunities in the mainland. Few corporate leaders in Hong Kong are well prepared for these fundamental people challenges. There will likely be public instances where they fall short in 2020.

Closing

2020 is the final year in China’s decade long challenge to double its GDP. The government will be able to declare success (potentially with a little support from statistical revisions). US tariffs will continue to have minor impact on Chinese growth. Domestic consumption and investment will remain the key economic drivers, and China will deploy targeted stimuli to maintain momentum. Many businesses will find 2020 a challenging, stressful year in China – more bankruptcies, more regulation, more unpredictable risks to reputation, and more selective consumer consumption. Yet China will only grow in importance to the majority of global businesses – as a source of global demand, of innovation, of capital, and of newly emerged world class competition. In spite of external pressure to deglobalize, global businesses will evolve their supply chain, their operating model, and even their ownership structure if needed to remain relevant in China.
[post_title] => China in 2020: Lower profits, more bankruptcies, and new challenges doing business [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => china-in-2020-lower-profits-more-bankruptcies-and-new-challenges-doing-business [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-15 19:14:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-16 03:14:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281738 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 280996 [post_author] => 16 [post_date] => 2020-01-15 06:00:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-15 14:00:21 [post_content] => You know that a technology is becoming a trend to watch when the Economist writes a piece on the topic. We know how big an investment goes into monetizing visual content for our phones, pads and TVs, through the likes of Warner Media, Disney and Netflix. Now there’s a big push into monetizing our ears, driven by Apple and others on the hardware side and Spotify and Liberty Media on the content side. The audio market is still much smaller but it’s growing fast. Apple’s AirPods are guessed to be the fastest growing of all its product lines and are expected to top $15B in sales next year. Spotify and others are aggressively expanding in streaming and also, interestingly, podcasts. Podcasts apparently have better economics than music for audio streaming services. Bluetooth These directions and more are encouraging further advances in connectivity to our ears. The Bluetooth SIG announced at this year’s CES their latest 5.2 advance to the core Bluetooth specification, and a new software framework on top of the standard called LE Audio. Together these offer higher quality at lower power in wireless earbuds, along with some amazing new possibilities. TWS I’ve written before on the topic of true wireless stereo (TWS) in earbuds. Pre 5.2, Bluetooth is a single-channel wireless connection. Left and right audio channels must be transmitted together through that one audio channel to one earbud, say the left. From there, the right audio channel is transmitted wirelessly to the right earbud. This runs batteries down faster and introduces a delay between L and R channels. Vendors have built proprietary solutions to overcome the latency problem but they’re a hack and obviously not shareable between different phone models. 5.2 adds isochronous communication channels over BLE so can transmit L and R simultaneously. Latency problem solved, no longer any need to run down earbud batteries in wireless forwarding and the solution is based on a standard so should be shareable between phone and earbud models. This goes further. An additional channel is supported for voice; you can speak at the same time you’re listening. Full duplex conversations through your earbuds! LE Audio The Bluetooth SIG has bigger ambitions still. LE Audio is a software framework on top the core standard; it is expected to be ratified some time in 2020. It adds a new LC3 codec, allowing for tuning between audio quality and power and enabling higher quality than the existing standard, when appropriate. LE Audio supports many-to-one and one-to many connections. You can connect to multiple sources: a music player, your phone and a TV, and be able to switch between these, even allowing all to be active simultaneously, one dominant and the others turned down. For one-to-many, you can share your audio stream with others. You’re listening to a great song and want your friends to hear it too? Just share the stream. Or you can all watch a video on a phone or laptop while each enjoying a direct audio stream to your own earbuds. Here's another cool thing you’ll be able to do. You’re at a sports bar, lots of screens showing lots of games, but all silently. It would be a mess if the audio from each was playing at the same time, right? You walk into the bar, see a game that interests you and grab the audio stream from that game. Now you can watch and listen. Or you’re in an airport departure lounge, trying to keep up to date on messages that might affect you flight. This is the reverse of the sport bar. Announcements in airports are all full volume, overlapping and competing for your attention. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to grab an audio stream for announcements just on your flight? And turn all those loudspeakers off? There’s good news also for hearing-aid users. With these kinds of capabilities, they should be able to better hear suitably-equipped speakers in presentations and in other noisy surroundings. CEVA is a broad-line supplier for Bluetooth solutions including Low Energy (supporting LE Audio) and Dual Mode (supporting Classic Audio and LE Audio). They also provide a wide range of related audio solutions: voice pickup, VAD, audio input and beamforming, AEC and ANC and speech recognition. And they provide solutions for gestures detection. taps, head movements. You can learn more about the Bluetooth platforms HERE and audio, voice and speech solutions HERE. [post_title] => A Bundle of Goodies in Bluetooth 5.2, LE Audio [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-bundle-of-goodies-in-bluetooth-5-2-le-audio [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-06 14:03:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-06 22:03:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=280996 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281066 [post_author] => 19 [post_date] => 2020-01-14 10:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-14 18:00:45 [post_content] => Even California Cant Save Hydrogen
Fisita World Mobility Summit 2019 in Nagoya, Japan, brought together powerful perspectives on everything from vehicle architectures (Visteon), to open source software (Synopsys), mobility (METI), and connectivity (Bosch). The most enigmatic juxtaposition at the event, however, came in a panel discussion I moderated between General Motors’ Vice President, Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronic Hardware, Dan Nicholson, and Dr. Kazunari Sasaki, professor (hydrogen energy systems) and senior vice president, Kyushu University. These two executives stand at the fulcrum of vehicle propulsion facing tectonic forces tearing at the automotive industry. For Professor Sasaki, residing as he does in the energy desert of Japan, hydrogen is the future – promising a clean, energy independent path to future mobility. For Mr. Nicholson of GM, all roads lead away from proven profitable propulsion technologies such as diesel and internal combustion engines. The third slide Nicholson showed in his presentation was of a diesel-powered, extended-cab Chevrolet pick-up truck towing a massive trailer. His fifth slide was an artist’s rendering of GM’s new global electric vehicle platform. The existential crisis posed by these two perspectives is hard to ignore. For Sasaki, the choice of hydrogen is clear, clean, and rational if not downright essential. As noted by a Toyota Advanced Development (AD) executive, James Kuffner, in the closing presentation of the Fisita event: “Hydrogen has an energy density that is 3x higher than gasoline and an overall higher maximum efficiency. If you combine a hydrogen fuel cell with an electric motor, the efficiency is 2x or 3x more efficient than a conventional gas engine.” Sasaki was also quick to note that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and that the primary byproduct of the hydrogen energy cycle is water vapor. When put this way, opponents of hydrogen would appear to be either ignorant or foolish – or “fuelish” to borrow Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk’s disparaging assessment of hydrogen’s prospects. For Nicholson, GM is in the midst of a massive corporate pivot away from smaller passenger cars toward crossovers and SUVs, away from internal combustion engines to electric powertrains, and away from human-centric driving to autonomy. This is Clayton Christensen’s “creative destruction” on steroids threatening 40% of the legacy ICE supply chain and a good portion of the vehicle assembly workforce – painful for GM having just recently concluded a month-long UAW strike. Unfortunately for Nicholson the Fisita event occurred prior to GM’s latest earnings report and before the company announced plans for a new EV battery assembly plant (a joint venture with LG Chem) in Lordstown along with its intentions to build an EV pickup truck in Hamtramck by 2021. As a result, Nicholson was noncommittal as to the timing of GM’s wider deployment of EV technology. What is clear, though, is that the shift to EV technology, by Nicholson’s own description, has significant implications for the role of software and connectivity in future electrified vehicles. These implications are touching the entire architectural underpinnings of the vehicle – which was reflected in the domain consolidation strategy described by Markus Schupfner, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Visteon speaking at the Fisita Summit. As bleak (and promising) as the picture may be for a legacy ICE-oriented manufacturer like GM, the prospects for the promoters of hydrogen are more grim and hold important lessons for auto makers. The merits of hydrogen propulsion are both indisputable and debatable – and they are likely to be debated until that massive ball of hydrogen and helium in the sky implodes. The automotive poster child for hydrogen propulsion is Toyota’s Mirai. This vehicle offers an important example of both the lengths and limits to which an automobile company can stretch to promote a vehicle it desperately wants to be successful – in the face of massive consumer indifference. After four years, Toyota claims to have put 6,000 hydrogen-powered Mirai’s on the road in the U.S. These have been hard won sales with a range of consumer incentives including: ·      A complimentary fuel cell card worth $15,000 ·      $2,500 in loyalty cash ·      $7,500 in bonus cash ·      1.9% financing for 72 months The incentives are necessary given the limits of the current network of fueling stations confined mainly to California. The limits of existing fueling options and the weakness of the current hydrogen infrastructure was made clear when a catastrophic fire and explosion occurred at an Air Products hydrogen plant in Santa Ana, California, in June of this year knocking out hydrogen supplies for Northern California for five months. The Air Products disaster forced owners of hydrogen-fueled vehicles to idle or trade them in. (The high cost of luxury car insurance was noted by some as a reason for turning their cars in. Toyota representatives said the company took on the lease or financing payments for some Mirai owners.) The developments in California could and should be seen by many as the end of the hydrogen car conversation in the U.S. Hydrogen may make sense for commercial vehicles and public transportation, but the vulnerability of an already fragile and fledgling charging network is likely to be too much for even the greenest of green-leaning car buyers to tolerate. There are two valuable takeaways here. First, California, like Japan, has geographic and geologic reasons for taking a regulatory interest in the automotive market. Both Japan and California are concerned about emissions. But Japan has an abiding interest in energy independence and California has a perpetual struggle with air quality. These circumstances of geography give both regions common cause to promote both electrification and hydrogen fuel technologies. California has been willing to put its thumb on the scale for electrification with stringent emissions and fuel efficiency standards – but neither Japan nor California have provided incentives for hydrogen-fueled vehicles. This has put companies like Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda in the awkward position of advertising, promoting, and selling hydrogen-powered cars that may be green but are complicated and expensive to operate from a cost, charging, and insurance standpoint. The array of incentives offered by Toyota on the Mirai represent a case study in how a car company tries to sell a car against the headwinds of consumer indifference. It is instructional to compare the enthusiastic funding of charging and the range of discounts and discounted financing Toyota is offering for the Mirai against the lack of aggressive promotional activity by BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and other auto makers for their electric vehicles. I can remember visiting local Chevrolet dealers in the earliest days of the Volt extended range electric vehicle and finding the car being offered at a premium price with dealers claiming ignorance of a well-documented low-cost lease option. The Volt met its demise in early 2019 and GM expects to sell a measly 20,000 Bolt EVS annually. It’s hard to get excited about a car when you lose money on every one you sell. It’s clear that the Bolt is being allocated sparse marketing dollars. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a television advertisement or a dealer-advertised incentive offer for a Bolt. The vehicle is increasingly looking like a gig-economy fleet offering for the foreseeable future. Comparing the promotional effort applied to the Mirai by Toyota and the paucity of promotion allotted by the legacy ICE-based vehicle makers for EVs, it is easy to see why Tesla has scampered away with the lion’s share of the EV market and is threatening the sales leadership of traditional ICE-based luxury cars. Car companies are refusing to back up their nascent EV efforts with muscular marketing campaigns. The latest losers (in the estimation of automotive journalists and some analysts) have been Audi’s E-tron and Jaguar’s I-pace – both posting a few thousand vehicle sales in their first months on the U.S. market in the face of more than 111,000 Tesla Model 3 sales. Alternative propulsion technologies, whether electric or hydrogen-based, remain an awkward talking point for auto makers. Key takeaways are that car buying decisions remain emotional – not rational. The biggest challenge isn’t making the cars that people want, it is making people want the cars that have been made. Alone among EV auto makers, Tesla appears to be making the cars that people want. It remains one of the few car makers if not the only one struggling to keep pace with advance orders. The real challenge for Tesla’s EV rivals like General Motors may not be the electrical architecture of their vehicles. It will be rewiring their marketing and dealer networks to support and promote EV-based vehicles.
[post_title] => Even California Can't Save Hydrogen [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => even-california-cant-save-hydrogen [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-12 17:11:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-13 01:11:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281066 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281115 [post_author] => 28703 [post_date] => 2020-01-14 06:00:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-14 14:00:38 [post_content] => Physical design team tackles challenging SoC When describing the complexity of deep sub-micron systems on chip (SoCs), most engineers and their managers tend to refer to a combination of gate count, amount of embedded memory, and frequency of operation. If one's task is to assess the complexity of the physical design effort for a given SoC, then there are numerous additional factors that can create challenges far more significant than the sheer size or frequency of the design.An example of one such SoC is clearly illustrated by recent experience in performing the physical design work for a customer's SoC project. Traditionally focused its efforts on very large SoC designs, usually containing many millions of gates, megabits of memory distributed over hundreds of individual RAMs, and with frequencies of operation well over 200 MHz. In contrast, this customer's design had less than one million gates of logic. It had about 500 kilobits of embedded memory spread over 23 standard RAMs plus 6 megabits of memory in a single MoSys 1-T SRAM. Its primary frequencies of operation were 162 MHz and 81 MHz. From these statistics alone, most physical design engineers would not consider this SoC to be extremely challenging, yet when one looks into the next level of details the unique challenges become apparent. Small Chip, Big Constraints This specific SoC was the second chip of a two-chip set. This situation forced certain constraints upon the design that were non-negotiable. The biggest constraints were with respect to functional I/O locations, and specifically, the LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) interface. The LVDS interfaces on both chips and the board were designed such that the two chips' LVDS interfaces would basically abut. This constraint provided no latitude on where the LVDS I/O pads could be located. Being differential, these I/O pads were very wide and occupied the majority of one side of the chip. From a timing perspective, the first chip and board consumed the majority of the available timing budget for the LVDS interface. This imposed a very tight data valid window and, hence, an extremely tight clock skew requirement on the interface. Besides I/O location, minimum area was another major constraint of the design. While certainly a common constraint for most SoCs, this chip had a single memory that occupied half the active area. This essentially locked the dimension of the chip in both directions; the X direction was determined by the width of the MoSys RAM, the Y direction by the overall area limit for the design. This forced all other components into a very small, very dense fixed size region. This region had to include three mixed signal components, 23 embedded RAMS, and a CPU. The floorplanning options of this region were quite limited. The fixed positions of the I/O largely fixed placement of the associated mixed signal components. Additionally, the mixed signal components had a large "keep out" area where standard cells, macros, and routing were not allowed. The embedded RAMs needed to be placed such that the design was routable, while avoiding the mixed signal components and yet fitting into the available X and Y dimensions. Together these factors compressed the area available for the core logic and increased the already high utilization. In such situations designers need to quickly explore floorplan alternatives. The floorplan in subsequent iterations could be easily modified , GDS Builder, can place objects relative to other objects or reference points (for instance, place macro2's lower left corner next to, or a certain distance from, macro1's lower right corner). GDS Builder was used to automate chip construction. GDS Builder automatically kicked off Synopsys AstroExpress place and route jobs, as well as timing, IR drop and electromigration analysis on the entire design overnight. Overnight full-chip builds enabled us to explore the multiple floorplanning alternatives using the production placer and router. In doing so we came up with the optimal floorplan that met all the constraints implied by the design. There was 100 percent timing and area correlation between these early floorplan explorations and the final taped out chip. Mountains and boulders Hard macros are a constant source of distress for physical design engineers for a variety of reasons. In very large SoC designs, there can be a good deal of flexibility where these macros are placed in order to create an optimal floorplan. In the case of this design, there were a large number of hard macros that needed to be placed in a very small area. The largest of these macros was the MoSys 1-T embedded memory that occupied half the active area of the chip. If the other embedded memories were considered to be boulders in the sea of standard cells, the MoSys memory would then be a mountain. Although signals between the I/O pads and standard cell core could be routed over the MoSys memory, it was too large a distance to go without buffering the signals. The only choice was to go around the MoSys memory, leaving narrow tracks along the top and the sides of the memory where GDS Builder's automated repeater insertion could place appropriate buffers along the way from the I/O pads to the standard cell core. Power distribution also proved to be a challenge with respect to the MoSys memory. Core power had to be routed from the top of the die over the MoSys to the standard cell core. Metal layers 5 and 6 were mostly available for this purpose, but with some irregularly placed obstructions. This forced us to construct a customer power cover cell that fed the standard cell core with adequate power. The adequacy of this power strategy with respect to IR drop and electromigration was then verified using Astro-Rail. One of the advantages from a system perspective of using MoSys memories is the high density and wide parallel data interface. From a physical design perspective, however, the wide interface also creates a significant amount of routing congestion near the data pins. To avoid this congestion, placement obstructions for standard cells had to be created. This, of course, required even higher utilization to be achieved in the standard cell core area. Placing the I/Os Our example SoC had only 246 total bond pads. This number is considered relatively small by today's standards, yet this pad ring proved to be one of the greatest challenges of the design. To begin with, there were four different I/O libraries utilized. The first library was chosen to minimize die size since it had low profile standard I/O cells with integrated bond pads. The second I/O library was required for the LVDS interface. It contained high profile and large width cells that did not include bond pads. To accommodate non-LVDS I/O adjacent to LVDS cells, a third library was required. This was a high profile library with narrow pitch and non-integrated bond pads. The fourth I/O library was for analog I/O and was also high profile. Cells from different libraries with differing heights were mixed on the same side of the chip. This forced the creation of special filler and corner cells to interface between the different height cells. Special consideration was required as to how the different height I/O power pads were to connect to the internal power grid. Figure 1 shows the transition from the low profile I/O cell to the high profile I/O cell through a custom filler cell. The special connections from the low profile I/O cell power pads to the core power ring are also visible. To further complicate matters, there were seven distinct power domains associated with the I/O ring. These domains were for the LVDS interface, the various analog domains, and the primary 3.3 volt and 1.8 volt power domains. The LVDS portion of the pad ring proved to be especially challenging. As these signals were the most timing sensitive in the design, it was decided to place LVDS related "edge logic" in the actual pad block that contained the LVDS I/O pads. This approach allowed us to meet a very restrictive timing budget required by the customer. Smaller is not always easier As you consider your next SoC project, it is important to look beyond the obvious metrics such as gate count and frequency when estimating the complexity, effort, and schedule required for physical design. Factors such as I/O complexity, the use of unique IP, and number of constraints imposed on the design can play a major role in determining the effort and schedule of a complicated SoC, whether it is considered to be a large or small design. [post_title] => Physical design team tackles challenging SoC [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => physical-design-team-tackles-challenging-soc [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-12 17:51:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-13 01:51:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281115 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281651 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2020-01-13 10:00:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-13 18:00:39 [post_content] => Digital Retaliation of Iran – Top 6 Likely Cyberattacks The United States and allies' national cyber response may soon be tested with the latest escalating conflict in the middle east. The U.S. conducted an airstrike that killed a revered Iranian general while in Iraq. This was in retaliation to a number of attacks against U.S. personnel and most recently the U.S. embassy in Iraq that was purported to be orchestrated by Iran and specifically General Qassem Soleimani who was killed in the airstrike. Soleimani, also spelled Suleimani, was the top military official for Iran and a very powerful figure in the region. Iran has vowed to retaliate. Iran has significant resources, both traditional kinetic weapons as well as mature cyber warfare capabilities. Direct military attacks could draw both countries into an undesired war. Political condemnation is likely to be seen as insufficient by the Iranian leadership. The other play is to go down the route of cyberattacks. Cyber attacks, attributed to Iran, have taken place in the past but most were denied by the government and overall not too severe. Many in the cybersecurity community, including myself, believe that for years Iran has been conducting digital reconnaissance and spoiling attacks to gain footholds in western critical infrastructure that could be used at a later date as beachheads for large-scale attacks. This may now be the moment that Iran chooses to use their nation-state supported cyber warriors to directly target the United States government, economy, and critical infrastructure. Unlike the clandestineness and denials of the past, attacks would likely be openly attributed as retaliation by Teheran and intended to cause enough harm to show strength and be a deterrent for future acts. Here are my predictions for how Iran will respond with cyberattacks against the United States. These are the six potential attacks that Iran might choose to pursue. Most likely one of the following will occur or be attempted, in the coming weeks. Top 6 Likely Cyber Attacks by Iran:
  • Cyber attacks disrupting U.S. regional electrical power grids. The goal would be a shut-down for several hours to a few days, in a major urban center.
  • Cyber attacks against North American telecommunications and Internet services, to disrupt the availability for several days across a modest region of the country.
  • Damaging attacks to U.S. government servers, data, and digital services. Likely targets would be the Pentagon facilities and other Department of Defense (DoD) bases around the world. The objective would be to disrupt intelligence, logistics, communications, planning, and operations.
  • Digital attacks against the U.S. Executive branch, including the White House or Embassies around the world. Also with a goal of disrupting communications, logistics, services, and operations.
  • Cyber attacks against the financial sectors to temporarily impact the economy. Specific targets might include one or more of the U.S. exchanges, major banking services, and Federal Reserve. Perhaps taking down the stock markets, federal lending functions, disrupting inter-banking transfers, or interfering with financial services (ATMs, deposits, withdraws, bill-payments, etc.) in a limited way for a few days would send shockwaves throughout the public.
  • Cyber attacks against U.S. oil production, refining, and distribution capabilities. This has a two-fold impact. It raises the price of global oil and it may force the U.S. to once again rely externally on other nations for petroleum, bringing relevance back to the Persian Gulf and the power that Iran has to control the Strait of Hormuz.
Most of these attacks would be designed to be temporary and given as a show-of-force as to what Iran can and is willing to do. They would want attacks to be public and potentially inconvenience U.S. citizens. There is a balance, however. Iran will want to convey strength and may also seek to convince Americans that the U.S. government cannot protect their nation's critical infrastructure so as to cause infighting among the voters. I believe Iran would not want to go so far as to cause serious harm to the citizen population as it may unify and embolden Americans and her allies to war. The U.S. has a tremendously formidable military and is willing to deploy it when the country is unified against an enemy. Not many countries want to poke that tiger. In another scenario, the United States may not be the direct target. Instead, U.S. allies like Israel, Saudi Arabia, or pro-American leaders in Iraq, might be pursued. Lastly, there is a chance that digital attacks might accompany kinetic strikes. Many U.S. allies are well within the range of Iranian missiles, military insurgents, and asymmetric warfare practices. This may include terrorist attacks and the kidnapping of Americans, diplomats or workers, from U.S. companies abroad. It worked as leverage against America during the Iran hostage crisis, where diplomats and citizens were held for 444 days in the besieged U.S. Embassy in Teheran (Nov 1979 – Jan 1981). Predicting the Next Evolution of Cyberwar  I am concerned that the response to the recent regional conflicts, potentially by both sides, will include cyber-attacks. Any digital attacks by a nation-state inadvertently pushes forward the evolution of cyberwar and sets new standards for what is deemed plausible for future responses. It is an escalation that can impact people across the globe. The world of warfare is about to change again. It will not be limited by geography, distance, or brute military might like in the past. This time, it will include the emergence of the digital battlefield. [post_title] => Digital Retaliation of Iran – Top 6 Likely Cyber Attacks [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-retaliation-of-iran-top-6-likely-cyberattacks [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-12 18:09:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-13 02:09:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281651 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281646 [post_author] => 28497 [post_date] => 2020-01-13 06:00:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-13 14:00:06 [post_content] => Semiconductor Weekly SummaryHappy New Year to everyone.. lets hope 2020 is a great year.. The indicators are all pointing in the right direction but it will not take much to derail it if external factors change. Here is my weekly summary of all the important news from the semiconductor industry around the world. 2020 is starting very differently from 2019 with much optimism around. This article in Semiconductor Engineering surveys CEO’s across the industry to get their views on 2020. 5G, AI and big data are all factors that should be big this year and help drive the recovery. CES was held last week with many new consumer ideas on display. Smart homes was certainly one of the hot topics with smart speakers for the shower, smart frying pans that weight your food and smart cooker hobs that you can control by voice, smart shelves for monitoring your groceries amongst some of the items on display. One item that would certainly be useful in Singapore was a device that instantly cools the object placed in it, like a reverse microwave, it can cool a can of beer in 2minutes. 8K TV’s were on display as were foldable computers, and of course there were lots of robots and AI applications. Here are some articles about the technology on display in the show. An overview from the BBC, the standout gadgets by the Guardian, the key takeaways by the Verge. The Taiwan foundries ended the year on a high. TSMC hit another record high for the quarter, the second successive quarter it achieved this. Q4 revenue was US$10.5billion, up 8% sequentially. December revenues were down 4% sequentially at US$3.44billion but was up 15% on a year ago. UMC saw revenues surge in December up 17.4% from a year ago, reporting revenues of US$445million. Q4 revenues were also up 17.4% on a year ago, mainly due to the additional revenues from the taking full control of Mie Fujitsu foundry in Japan. Specialty foundry Vanguard (VIS) didn’t fair quite so well in Q4, reporting Q4 revenues were down 2.2% on year ago at US$87million. For the back end assembly test provider ASE reported Q4 revenue up 8.9% YoY at US$2.27billion and up 4.1% sequentially for the ATM group. December revenue was up 2.5% on November with revenue of US$771million, this was up 16% on a year ago. Market research company IC Insights reported that the pure play foundry market decreased 2% globally in 2019 compared to a year ago. China was the only region to see an increase in pure play foundry market last year growing 6%. Taiwan foundry TSMC reported that approx. 25% of it’s customers were in China. One of the side effects of trade wars is that it prompts countries to become more self sufficient. As a result of the trade war between South Korea and Japan, South Korea has announced Dupont will invest $28million in South Korea to develop advanced photoresists and other materials by 2021 to allow South Korea to be less dependent on Japan supplies. Similarly in China, China is pushing to decouple it’s technology from the US as a result of the US-China trade war which has lead to a boom for some Chinese tech companies. It appears that the US put a lot of pressure on the Netherlands to prevent ASML from delivering a EUV lithography tool to China and to cancel the sale. Despite the trade war and the ban on Huawei, Huawei still managed to grow it’s revenue in 2019 by 18% to US$121.7billion, though this was lower than originally predicted due to the trade war preventing the company access to source parts. Huawei said that 2020 will be a difficult year and it will not be able to grow as fast and only grow by 3.9%. It is reported that production was impacted at its Samsung Electronics Hwaseong plant due to a minute long power blackout. It is speculated that the incident caused million of dollars in losses. [post_title] => The Tech Week that was January 6th [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-tech-week-that-was-jan-6th [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-12 17:16:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-13 01:16:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281646 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281063 [post_author] => 19 [post_date] => 2020-01-12 10:00:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-12 18:00:44 [post_content] => 2020 The Year of Live In Car Remote Assistance After years of travel and computing remotely while on the road I have found that there are two magical experiences for the business traveler. One of those experiences is the hotline support I get from my preferred airline – United. The other is the live remote assistance I periodically receive from my company’s in-house IT department – you know, those moments when your colleague in IT takes over your computer and fixes everything you’ve managed to bollix up. I am taking a bit of a risk in describing both of these propositions – as they are quite different. But the implications for the automotive industry are significant and significantly underappreciated, misunderstood, and, in the end, will profoundly impact the future of the connected car. General Motors introduced the concept of the connected car in 1996 with OnStar, a system capable of connecting drivers with emergency services in the event of a crash. The service introduced the concepts of connectivity and access to live assistance to the driving public. In the process of doing so, GM learned about the high cost of delivering these value propositions and wisely chose to limit their application in the car. The reality, for GM or any car company, was and is that providing live assistance is as or more expensive than building in wireless connectivity. This had two impacts on the marketing and promotion of OnStar. First of all, most advertising made clear that OnStar was only for use in emergency circumstances and second of all, owners of OnStar-equipped cars would not be encouraged to use OnStar for other purposes. To be sure, other applications – such as concierge services – emerged over the years, but these were only available at a considerable cost. Meanwhile, even limiting OnStar’s applications did not prevent unanticipated and asymmetrical demand on GM’s in-house call center which forced GM to line up outsourced partners to manage demand – giving rise to a broader connected car live assistance industry pulling in companies such as Convergys and ATX, which is now owned by SiriusXM. Other companies have since joined the business including Intrado, Allstate, MyAssist (a travel industry-centric company now owned by Berkshire Hathaway), Agero, Bosch, and others. All of these companies recognized the power of connecting to consumers at a moment of need – particularly when those consumers are driving a moving vehicle. I mentioned earlier the magical experience of remote assistance, whether delivered by United Airlines or the IT department. The importance of this direct engagement is hard to overstate. Consider United Airlines. United came in last in J.D. Powers’ customer satisfaction survey in 2019. This finding only validates what fellow flyers have been telling me about their experiences on American and Delta vis-à-vis United. The overwhelming message to me, as a United flyer, in 2019 was: “United sucks!” These people weren’t talking about lost dogs, broken or lost guitars, or passengers dragged off United's airplanes. They were talking about the overall experience. I know precisely what they were talking about in 2019. I flew 230,000 miles on United in 2019 as a Global Services top tier customer. When it comes to a pleasing flying experience there isn’t much that United can do for me – unless they want to pick me up at my house and drive me directly onto the tarmack at the airport – something which United very nearly did this year for a neighbor of mine, another Global Services flyer. What United can do is provide live assistance to troubleshoot my travel troubles. This is where delight enters the equation for me at United. My loyalty to United is directly derived not only from my proximity to a United hub in Northern Virginia, but also to its dedicated customer service representatives. Sad to say, all the Polaris and (regular) United clubs, gate agents, flight attendants, pilots, various ground staff, and even the affable and outgoing CEO Oscar Munoz are worthless to me when it comes to defining my level of satisfaction with the airline. My experience is defined by my frequent interactions, over the phone, with United support. It is unlikely that American or Delta flyers using United would have the same experience I have when I fly the airline – because of my access to this dedicated network of call center personnel. But the real secret behind this United Airlines secret sauce is that the majority of these operators are working remotely from their homes. Ironically enough, United used to operate a large call center in Dearborn, Michigan, across the street from Ford Motor Company’s headquarters. But now, for the most part, the service is supported remotely. This is nothing new. McDonald’s experimented with remote drive-thru order takers back in 2005. More recently, in 2019, McDonald’s acquired Apprente, a startup developing voice recognition technology for the restaurant industry, with the goal of automating order taking. As call centers for connected cars evolved, GM continued to offer subscription-based concierge services while more or less discouraging customers from calling OnStar. The OnStar brand virtually disappeared from GM’s advertising and when the company launched its Maven service missed the chance to redefine OnStar’s market position into a broader transportation-centric customer engagement platform. GM is not alone in this auto industry struggle with call centers. Ford experimented with a MyAssist smartphone-based concierge service, ultimately terminating it as an expensive distraction that was not core to Ford’s business of selling cars. For a brief period of time, though, Ford had a MyAssist-enabled window into real-time driver assistance requirements focused mainly around different destinations. Google and Microsoft could have explained to senior Ford executives what the real long-term value of this information might represent – but Ford was not interested. (That's right, your car is a browser!) As 2020 dawns the automotive industry has yet failed to grasp the value of direct customer engagement and live call center assistance – whether in-house or remotely supported. Tesla Motors has so far failed to introduce an automatic crash notification capability equivalent to OnStar, but Tesla does offer 24/7 roadside assistance. The customer accounts of Tesla roadside assistance reflect the same kind of magical experience I have had repeatedly with United Airlines. Just as United’s call center operators have kept me a dedicated United flyer, Tesla’s roadside assistance has created rabid devotion to the Tesla brand one customer at a time – whether it be helping drivers extend the range of their EVs in real-time by adjusting vehicle settings or getting a flat fixed. We haven’t seen the same level of customer engagement from competing car companies leveraging their call center solutions. There is massive room for improvement here and I expect to see advancements in 2020 – especially as more car companies integrate digital assistants. But a real game changer – for Tesla or any car maker – will be the integration of IT department-style support derived from remote vehicle access.  The technology exists today to remotely access and correct in-vehicle systems and assist drivers – much like the IT department remotely takes control of your notebook computer. Companies like VNC Automotive and Microsoft (with Skype), possess this capability. I expect more than one car company to step up their connected car customer support offerings in 2020 to create a truly delightful experience for drivers and alter our relationship with cars. This is fertile ground for innovation and differentiation. United’s call center operators are transforming my experience with the brand and with the company nearly every week. Imagine what a properly deployed call center/live assistance solution could do for legacy auto makers. It’s not too late. [post_title] => 2020 The Year of Live In-Car Remote Assistance [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 2020-the-year-of-live-in-car-remote-assistance [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-10 17:20:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-11 01:20:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281063 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281106 [post_author] => 28686 [post_date] => 2020-01-12 06:00:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-12 14:00:15 [post_content] => China in 2020 Navigating the new policy landscape This is the fourth of a five part series Many companies saw 2019 as a year when more and more regulations piled on to them. CEOs who were the legal representative for their company in China got increasingly nervous as legal teams updated them on their personal responsibility under new regulations. Unfortunately for them, 2020 will see more new and evolved regulations targeting all companies operating in China.

Anti-Monopoly

The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) will be more active in 2020 in tackling anti-trust, anti-monopolistic behaviors. Their investigations will have teeth. Fines can be as much as 10 percent of prior year revenue. Inquiries are already underway. —     15 courier companies are under investigation for their alleged anti-monopolistic practices based on complaints from customers about coordinated price increases and selective willingness to bid for business. Companies should recognize that inquiries will often be triggered by their customers, whether with legitimate complaints or simply a grudge. Ensuring that government affairs teams have a well-established relationship with local SAMR officials is a sensible preparatory step. —     20 e-commerce enterprises are under investigation for requiring exclusive listings on their sites, which is prohibited by e-commerce law and anti-monopoly law. Sellers on these sites should check their contracts to ensure they are not enabling behaviors that SAMR may find problematic. Businesses will be challenged by SAMR on whether they have sufficient insight and control over behavior by front-line employees to prevent collusion taking place locally. The best Chinese companies’ internal control teams deploy up to 100 people on this, and they act against hundreds of often small-scale breaches every year. Multinationals tend to have fewer resources, which may expose them to criticism.

Foreign Investment and National Security Review (NSR)

New foreign investment laws come into effect in January 2020 with elements favorable to foreign companies, solidifying announced market openings and reducing inconsistency in policy enforcement. Policies to support business should in future apply equally to both domestic and foreign enterprises. Foreign enterprises should also have equal access to government procurement and to domestic standards setting processes. There will be no distinction in how policy is applied to different vehicles for foreign investment (WFOE, EJV, CJV). Great intent, follow implementation closely. Areas of concern exist. The law details how indirect investment by foreigners will be treated, but does not detail the specific structures or ownership levels that will trigger review and registration. This is another area to watch, especially for financial investors. Perhaps the most important change is the revised national security review of foreign investment. Reviews are required for any foreign investment in national defense security (control not required) and any foreign investment in companies engaged in key industries that are somehow related to national security where the foreign investor has effective control. The second category is more relevant for most enterprises. Industries that fall into its scope range from agriculture to energy, infrastructure, technology, culture and the internet. While 50 percent ownership will certainly be seen as a trigger of effective control, a company could be deemed to have effective control at a much lower equity stake if the foreign investor is seen to be driving management decisions in areas such as strategy and HR. NDRC coordinates inputs from multiple ministries and other government stakeholders, convening an Inter-Ministerial Joint Committee to make decisions. If they do not reach consensus, decisions are pushed up to the State Council as final decision maker. Businesses should expect high profile decisions to be driven by geopolitics not just economics.

Data Protection

Multi Level Protection Systems or MLPS 2.0 have been front of mind for chief information officers in China for much of 2019 as they prepared for the launch of new data protection standards. Large foreign companies seem more aware and better prepared for these changes that their Chinese peers. All businesses are required to self-assess the data they collect and their protection of this data. Anyone processing data above a certain level of sensitivity must report to their Public Security Bureau. All data breaches or attempted breaches must also be reported. Use of Chinese hardware and China based cloud services is strongly encouraged as part of protection protocols. Government inspectors from the Public Security Bureau will have unrestricted access to data stored in and passing through corporate servers to ensure that companies have registered themselves and implemented protections appropriately. This oversight of compliance is not theoretical. In Jiangsu province alone, around eight cases per day have been processed and 140 enterprises have been deprived of their business licence over the last two years.

Blockchain

The government is determined not to fall as far behind in regulating emerging blockchain based industries as it did in the early years of the Internet. The strategy of just launching a business and begging forgiveness later will not be tolerated. Regulatory priorities are not to enable unfettered innovation, rather they are to ensure social stability and centralized control. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) recently announced that it had shut down over 170 crypto platforms in 2019. Specific priorities include: —     Ensure Chinese leadership in AI and IoT – an echo of Made in China 2025 priorities. —     Apply blockchain at scale in supply chain and quality control to dramatically reduce cost. —     Enhance food and drug safety – a broad middle-class priority which the government has struggled with for years. —     Accelerate the shift away from physical money, to reduce risk in the financial system and direct money to places that it wants it to go. —     Avoid dependence on the US for any aspect of blockchain technologies. President Xi’s recent speech on blockchain closed with two reminders. One to government officials to get on top of regulating this area, and one to innovators to focus their innovation on approved areas. In 2020, the most visible outcome of the speech will likely be local governments setting up funds to invest in local blockchain businesses. [post_title] => China in 2020: Navigating the new policy landscape [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => china-in-2020-navigating-the-new-policy-landscape [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-15 19:17:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-16 03:17:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281106 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281384 [post_author] => 14 [post_date] => 2020-01-10 10:00:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-10 18:00:12 [post_content] => ASML China EUV
  • Is ASML first clandestine shot in US war on China chips?
  • Will the action extend further to other chip equip cos?
  • China chip cold conflict warming up?
It would appear from a Reuters report yesterday that a behind the scenes "cold war" between the US and China in the chip business has just been exposed and has the potential to warm up a bit to include not just the Dutch company, ASML, but other US based companies. Reuters has publicly confirmed what had been rumored in the industry that ASML was not going to export an EUV tool ordered by SMIC (of China) almost 2 years ago. More importantly it is clear that the action is the result of direct US government pressure to deny the semiconductor equipment to China in the name of international security One tool doesn't matter but is this the tip of the iceberg? One EUV scanner doesn't really matter much in the larger scheme of the semiconductor industry. It hardly matters to ASML as there are more than enough takers for the tool if it doesn't ship to China and in fact may have already been shipped out to another customer...so the near term impact on ASML is essentially near zero. The question is the longer term impact. Will US companies be next to be pressured to stop exporting leading edge equipment....will the pressure increase to AMAT, KLAC & LRCX? What is the longer term impact for ASML? Will they never be allowed to ship and EUV tool to China?  China will likely become the largest single market for semiconductor equipment and for some companies it is already their biggest customer. Going back to a cold war footing? For many years US semiconductor equipment exports to China were highly limited to products at least two generations behind the leading edge and export licenses were tightly controlled.  While export license requirements still exist, their approval has been more of a rubber stamp over the last several years as trade with China has become a huge part of the industry. All it would take would be an enforcement of existing rules to stem the flow of equipment thus cutting off the oxygen that China's Chip industry desperately needs We predicted this exact scenario of ASML, SMIC & China in May of 2018 We have been warning about the problems between the US and China in chips for several years now, well before anyone else woke up to the issue. In fact we predicted that ASML's EUV tool would become the pawn in the US/China chip conflict in a note we sent out in May of 2018. We think it is worth your while to re-read this note we published in May 2018 as it describes the then current circumstances that we suggested would lead to the blockage of an EUV tool. Please click the link below: China Semiconductor Equipment China Sales at Risk We laid out the exact scenario we have now experienced.  ASML is the perfect pawn as it is not a US company and not seen as a "direct" US action.  It also limits fallout in the US as no US company is directly impacted. Now that the subterfuge has been exposed, whats next? China was not likely naive enough to believe that the Dutch government acted on its own and likely was aware of the clandestine activities being waged against them. This likely will impact current ongoing agreements and negotiations between China and the US and will not make things any easier. China will likely "triple down" on efforts to develop internal independent chip manufacturing capability. Since there is truly no alternative to the 100% lock that ASML has on the market, China will likely wage a huge pressure war on the Dutch to release the tool and allow further sales Will the embargo spread? While an EUV is clearly the linchpin and central tool of any advanced fab there are still a lot of other tools needed to enable to overall process.  Deposition, etch, metrology, inspection etc;. The US government could very easily start to slow down or curtail export licenses, as it did in the past, and slowly starve the Chinese chip industry of the infrastructure it imports.  For all we know this could already be in the works. Its difficult to tell the Dutch not to ship equipment to China while US companies are still sending boat loads of equipment there. It would be only logical for the US to take a closer look at export licenses granted to US companies if only to share the pain with the Dutch and do our part of keeping China at bay. Who's exposed and "at risk" of a spreading embargo? Likely at the top of our list is KLAC.  China represents not just KLAC" s biggest customer (taken together) but also the fastest growing region (others have been in longer term decline).  After lithography tools, metrology and inspection tools made by KLAC are the next most valuable as they help bring a process up to yield and figure out all the problems.  This is most essential to new start ups like the Chinese, who have a lot to learn about making chips. Applied and Lam are also very exposed and Applied has been a pioneer in China and has a huge operation there. Non US winners Obviously non US companies, such as TEL, Hitachi, ASMI, NVMI, Semes and a host of others all benefit as the Chinese will avoid US equipment like the plague (If they hadn't already learned this lesson at Jinhua's now shuttered fab...). The reality is that you can't have a leading edge fab without a significant amount of US equipment and it will take China a very long time to copy/steal a lot of the technology. The Stocks While the immediate impact is minimal, we think the China risk has just gotten a lot larger that US companies may be forced into being part of an embargo. We have already been of the view that the downside beta in the stocks was higher than the upside beta and this revelation has further added to the downside beta with a very high risk problem. There is no clear short or long term solution and exposing the can of worms to the light just enflames the situation.. We may want to be more defensive and look at "consumable" chip related stocks or some select foreign stocks to try to hedge against US based equipment risk. With memory's recovery coming along slowly a problem in China would further complicate the early stages of an industry recovery that we are in. We have to be very mindful of the fact that without China, the US equipment industry would be down significantly as compared to past performance so any China issues could cause negative results quickly. [post_title] => ASML EUV China Chip Equip Risk [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => asml-euv-china-chip-equip-risk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-09 16:27:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-10 00:27:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://semiwiki.com/?p=281384 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 281445 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2020-01-10 06:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-10 14:00:35 [post_content] => CES 2020 is being held this week in Las Vegas with over 4,500 exhibiting companies and over 175,000 attendees. The show includes a broader industry than just electronics, which led to it being renamed CES (previously the Consumer Electronics Show) and the sponsoring organization changing its name from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). CES now includes software, content and other supporting technologies. CTA projected the overall U.S. consumer technology market will hit $422 billion in 2020, up 4% from 2019. Smartphones continue to be the largest category at $77.8 billion and 166 million units. Laptop PCs are expected to amount to $33.3 billion and televisions $17.6 billion. These three large categories are growing relatively slowly, up 3% or less from 2019. In-vehicle technology is the fastest growing large category at $18.5 billion and 6% growth. In-vehicle technology is driven by increasing use of electronics for safety systems, driver assistance, navigation, communication and entertainment. Several emerging consumer electronics applications should show strong growth in 2020. Wireless earbuds are projected to grow 31%. Other strong growing categories are digital health devices at 16%, smart speakers (such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home) at 14%, and smart home devices at 4%. 2020 Consumer Electronics The "internet of things" (IoT) term was coined several years ago to refer to the broad range of devices which rely on internet connectivity for communication and control. At CES this year, the CTA proposed IoT should now stand for "Intelligence of Things" as artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing being adopted in devices.
What will the new decade bring us? Will we finally get flying cars? Not likely, but we should see more self-driving cars on the road by the end of the decade. According to CTA, we should also see the beginnings of flying taxis, electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, which can be summoned for a ride like Uber or Lyft. Bell (top) and Hyundai showed prototypes of these at CES. Electric cars should become more commonplace in the 2020s. A CES session on electric vehicles predicted electric vehicles (EVs) will have cost parity with traditional cars by 2025. EVs should have average lifetimes of at least 12 years compared to about 8 years for traditional gasoline/diesel cars. Most EVs should have a range of 250 to 300 miles. Growing networks of charging stations will enable recharges in 20 to 60 minutes. Self-driving cars are still in the experimental stage, but by the end of the decade they should be more common on roads. Audi, Hyundai and Toyota were among the companies displaying prototype self-driving vehicles at CES. Toyota display an EV van (e-Palette) which would include robots (Micro Palette) to make the final delivery. Mercedes-Benz displayed its Vision AVTR concept self-driving car. Inspired by the movie Avatar, Mercedes described the vehicle as "holistic, immersive and intuitive". CES covers a large range of technology including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, smart houses, smart cities, digital health, sports technology, travel & tourism, audio/video, virtual reality & gaming, drones, wireless and computing. A large area of CES was devoted to AI and robotics. Numerous robots were on display. Most were limited function robots such as vacuums, window washers, delivery platforms, information kiosks, and toys. There were robot dogs and cats which mimic pets without the feeding, waste disposal and vet bills. We have posted pictures of some of these robots on our website. Many of the products shown at CES are innovative and potentially useful. Others are questionable as to whether they fill a real need. Some of the more innovative products include a system which uses IR (infrared) signals to power nearby sensors, eliminating the need to charge or replace batteries. An experimental system is aimed at powering remote sensors by harnessing cellular radio signals and other radio waves in the air. A platform for stroke recovery uses a dance type video game. Some of the questionable products include a suitcase which follows you and a diaper with sensors to detect waste (isn't that what a nose is for?).
We at Semiconductor Intelligence attended the press conferences of Panasonic and Sony and the keynote address by Samsung president and CEO HS Kim. Panasonic's press conference promoted the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo where it supplies the displays and other technology at the Olympic Stadium. The conference included an appearance by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who will work with Panasonic along with other athletes. Panasonic supplies the displays used in Disney's new Star Wars sections of its theme parks in Florida and California. Automotive is a major focus for Panasonic. It is the largest supplier of EV batteries and supplies information and entertainment systems. Panasonic is working with Tropos Motors, which makes EVs including small trucks for deliveries. Panasonic and the state of Utah are developing a transportation data network. Panasonic is the largest supplier of inflight entertainment systems and is developing a system to cancel out airplane engine noise without headphones. The press conference also mentioned Panasonic's Lumix cameras, professional camcorders, and OLED TVs. Sony's press conference pushed its new 8K TVs and 360-degree reality TV. Sony will introduce its latest video game system toward the end of this year. The PlayStation 5 will feature 3D audio, ultra-high speed SSD and ultra HD Blu-ray. In sports, Sony will use 5G to transmit camera images without the need for cabling. The next megatrend, according to Sony, is mobility. They showed a prototype EV car which features Sony CMOS image sensors, a panoramic display, LIDAR, 33 sensors, and software updated wirelessly. Samsung Consumer Electronics president and CEO Hyun-Suk Kim gave one of the keynote addresses. He emphasized a new "age of experience" where most people will value experiences over products. He demonstrated Ballie, a softball type robot which follows you and can control home functions through voice commands. Samsung showed several health-related products including a Galaxy watch which detects stress and offers stress relief suggestions. An exercise system uses motion capture to evaluate yoga poses and other exercises and suggest improvements. A cardiac rehab system provided home-based guidance using wearables and smartphone. The process is supervised by a remote therapist. Samsung supplies several smart home devices including robotic vacuums and smart refrigerators which can suggest menus and order food. Samsung demonstrated a gait enhancement and motivating system (GEMS) which uses a gadget around a person's waist and legs along with VR glasses to analyze motion and provide coaching. The GEMS system can also be used in rehab. Samsung is targeting smart cities with energy sensors & controls and 5G telematics for transportation monitoring and control.
The future of consumer electronics is diverse. Vehicle technology and IoT (Internet of Things or Intelligence of Things) will be key drivers. Traditional drivers such as smartphones, televisions, laptop PCs and tablets are reaching saturation. However, smartphones will have a boost in the next couple of years due to 5G and televisions will see growth from 8K displays. Increasing use of AI in electronics should lead to practical self-driving vehicles and more functional robots by the end of this decade. But still no flying cars!
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China in 2020 Lower profits more bankruptcies and new challenges doing business This is the fifth and final part of the series For many industrial businesses, 2019 has been tough. Profits lower across the board – light and heavy industry, state-owned and private businesses. Labor costs rising while ex-factory prices are not. Access to debt restricted. The gap between high performers and laggards widened further, with leaders raising capital expenditures 20 percent plus over last year as they double down on deploying robotics, IoT, blockchain, and other productivity enablers in their supply chain. Laggards are edging closer to bankruptcy. There are strong signs that we will see more bankruptcies in 2020. More banks will be allowed to fail beyond the four shuttered so far in 2019. The PBOC declared in its 2019 Financial Stability Report that it had closed 1000 P2P lenders in 2019 and that they evaluate close to 600 smaller banks (13 percent of the total) as “risky”. Their solution will have “Chinese characteristics”: failing banks will almost all be bailed out through merging with one of China’s larger banks. More property companies will find they are financially extended beyond the level at which black-market lenders will support them. Industry consolidation will be the main solution. Investors will see more dramatic falls in share prices for specific stressed listed companies in the mainland and Hong Kong, along the lines of the 90 percent plus falls at Kasen, ArtGo and Tibet Water in recent weeks. This is a positive, companies that had been clogging up their sectors are finally being cleared out. Business will need to be alert to the financial state of their customers and suppliers. High growth sectors in 2020 will be clustered in consumer facing services, many internet-enabled. Healthcare, education, travel, and leisure will all remain strong. Sectors where the Chinese government actively encourages investment have been clearly laid out– from semiconductor, to AI and smart cities, to manufacturing IoT, to biotech and advanced materials. Making money in these sectors directly in the short term may be tough, but making money out of supplying to these sectors can be very attractive.

Hong Kong and business

Hong Kong entered a recession driven by the downturn in tourists (nearly 1 million fewer travelers through Hong Kong airport last month with 20 percent fewer arrivals from mainland China) and by locals pulling back on spending. More than 50 conferences and exhibitions have been postponed or moved elsewhere. Popular hotels and restaurants have utilization down below 40 percent, even with 40-60 percent discounts, and are putting staff on unpaid leave. Retailers from clothing to jewelry have sales down as much as 50 percent from last year. Businesses clustered in industries in and around the financial markets have been less impacted. Financial markets have not closed and IPOs are still happening. But changes are being considered. While they won’t make overnight changes to a successful operating model, many are now starting to think through the what ifs and could act on them in 2020. For some multinationals, asking the basic question of why a large regional headquarters is in Hong Kong and why it is of the scale that it is can return slightly uncomfortable answers. For a good number, the answer is little more than it has always been like that – a location decision that was made rationally 20 or 30 years ago had not been challenged since then. Plus their senior executives like the low tax rates on offer in Hong Kong. For China focused businesses, more regional activity could be undertaken in the mainland, without material additional cost. Asean and North Asian businesses may have grown to the scale to justify their own regional hubs. With mainland visitor numbers to Hong Kong looking unlikely to recover soon, luxury brand businesses are questioning just how many outlets they should retain in Hong Kong. If clients from the mainland now prefer to meet in Shenzhen, it is straightforward to upgrade a Shenzhen office, to accommodate more permanent staff. Shenzhen or other local governments may even offer GBA policy incentives to do so. Looking forward into 2020, business leaders in Hong Kong face tough organizational challenges such as sustaining a culture in which mainland and local staff work effectively, and persuading Hong Kong staff to continue to take opportunities in the mainland. Few corporate leaders in Hong Kong are well prepared for these fundamental people challenges. There will likely be public instances where they fall short in 2020.

Closing

2020 is the final year in China’s decade long challenge to double its GDP. The government will be able to declare success (potentially with a little support from statistical revisions). US tariffs will continue to have minor impact on Chinese growth. Domestic consumption and investment will remain the key economic drivers, and China will deploy targeted stimuli to maintain momentum. Many businesses will find 2020 a challenging, stressful year in China – more bankruptcies, more regulation, more unpredictable risks to reputation, and more selective consumer consumption. Yet China will only grow in importance to the majority of global businesses – as a source of global demand, of innovation, of capital, and of newly emerged world class competition. In spite of external pressure to deglobalize, global businesses will evolve their supply chain, their operating model, and even their ownership structure if needed to remain relevant in China.
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China in 2020: Lower profits, more bankruptcies, and new challenges doing business

China in 2020: Lower profits, more bankruptcies, and new challenges doing business
by Gordon Orr on 01-15-2020 at 6:00 am

China in 2020 Lower profits more bankruptcies and new challenges doing business

This is the fifth and final part of the series

For many industrial businesses, 2019 has been tough. Profits lower across the board – light and heavy industry, state-owned and private businesses. Labor costs rising while ex-factory prices are not. Access to debt restricted. The gap between high performers and laggards widened

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by Bernard Murphy on 01-15-2020 at 6:00 am

Bluetooth

You know that a technology is becoming a trend to watch when the Economist writes a piece on the topic. We know how big an investment goes into monetizing visual content for our phones, pads and TVs, through the likes of Warner Media, Disney and Netflix. Now there’s a big push into monetizing our ears, driven by Apple and others on the… Read More


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Fisita World Mobility Summit 2019 in Nagoya, Japan, brought together powerful perspectives on everything from vehicle architectures (Visteon), to open source software (Synopsys), mobility (METI), and connectivity (Bosch). The most enigmatic juxtaposition at the event, however, came in a panel discussion I moderated

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When describing the complexity of deep sub-micron systems on chip (SoCs), most engineers and their managers tend to refer to a combination of gate count, amount of embedded memory, and frequency of operation. If one’s task is to assess the complexity of the physical design effort for a given SoC, then there are numerous additional… Read More


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The United States and allies’ national cyber response may soon be tested with the latest escalating conflict in the middle east. The U.S. conducted an airstrike that killed a revered Iranian general while in Iraq. This was in retaliation to a number of attacks against U.S. personnel and most recently the U.S. embassy in… Read More


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by Mark Dyson on 01-13-2020 at 6:00 am

Semiconductor Weekly Summary

Happy New Year to everyone.. lets hope 2020 is a great year.. The indicators are all pointing in the right direction but it will not take much to derail it if external factors change. Here is my weekly summary of all the important news from the semiconductor industry around the world.

2020 is starting very differently from 2019 with… Read More


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by Roger C. Lanctot on 01-12-2020 at 10:00 am

2020 The Year of Live In Car Remote Assistance

After years of travel and computing remotely while on the road I have found that there are two magical experiences for the business traveler. One of those experiences is the hotline support I get from my preferred airline – United. The other is the live remote assistance I periodically receive from my company’s in-house IT department… Read More


China in 2020: Navigating the new policy landscape

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by Gordon Orr on 01-12-2020 at 6:00 am

China in 2020 Navigating the new policy landscape

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ASML EUV China Chip Equip Risk

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by Robert Maire on 01-10-2020 at 10:00 am

ASML China EUV
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It would appear from a Reuters report yesterday that a behind the scenes “cold war” between the US and China in the chip business has just been exposed and has the potential… Read More


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by Bill Jewell on 01-10-2020 at 6:00 am

img 5e17c3a5e7140

CES 2020 is being held this week in Las Vegas with over 4,500 exhibiting companies and over 175,000 attendees. The show includes a broader industry than just electronics, which led to it being renamed CES (previously the Consumer Electronics Show) and the sponsoring organization changing its name from the Consumer Electronics… Read More