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The Tech Week that was January 6-10 2020

The Tech Week that was January 6-10 2020
by Mark Dyson on 01-13-2020 at 6:00 am

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.

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