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The Tech Week that was December 9th 2019

The Tech Week that was December 9th 2019
by Mark Dyson on 12-15-2019 at 6:00 am

The Tech Week that was December 9th 2019In a week that finally saw some good news in the trade war between US & China, here is a summary of all the key semiconductor and technical news from around the world that you may have missed.

On Friday, US and China announced agreement on the so called phase one agreement, as a result the extra tariffs due to be imposed on S180billion of Chinese goods from Dec 15th will now not be implemented and the tariffs already imposed on $120billion of goods from 1st September have been halved from 15% to 7.5%. This is particularly good news for the semiconductor sector as these tariffs impacted laptops, smartphones and many other electronic goods. For now the 25% tariffs on another $250billion worth of goods will remain in place. In return China has committed to purchase $32billion more farm products and other exports in the next 2 years..

According to Trendforce, foundry revenue in Q4 is due to increase 6% QoQ. TSMC has increased it’s market share by 2.2% since Q3 with 52.7% of the market due to strong demand for it’s advanced nodes. Samsung is second with 17.8% and Globalfoundries third with 8% market share.

November revenue figures for Taiwanse foundries and subcons have been released.  TSMC increased it’s monthly revenue 1.7% in November compared to October, whilst it’s 2 other Taiwan rivals UMC and Vanguard (VIS) saw sequential drops in revenue of 4.8% and 7.6% respectively.

TSMC’s reported November revenue of US$3.6billion, up 1.7% on October and up 9.7% yoy due to strong demand from it’s 7nm technology driven by high-end smartphones, initial 5G deployment and HPC-related applications. For the year to date TSMC has recorded revenue of US$32billion, up 2.7% on the same period a year ago.

UMC reported revenues of US$460million, down 4.8% sequentially but up 20% on a year ago. Despite the drop in November, UMC expects Q4 shipments to be up 10% compared to Q2, reporting sustained demand from new product deployment across communications and computing market segments. For the year to date UMC have recorded revenue of US$4.5billion down 3.6% on the same period a year ago.

Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) reported November sales of US$75million, down 7.6% sequentially and down 12.2% on year ago. Shipments were down due to high inventory levels at customers. For the year to date revenue VIS has recorded US$850million down 2.5% for the same period in 2018.

For the Backend assembly test suppliers the ASE ATM group which includes both ASE and SPIL subcons, reported revenues of US$751million, up slightly sequentially and up 7.3% yoy.

Broadcom reported it’s 4th quarter earnings this week. For the full year Broadcom’s revenue was a record US$22.6billion growing 8% despite the trade war however this was mainly due to growth from the software solutions sector. Semiconductor solutions revenue was US$17.4billion for the full year, down 8% YoY.   For Q4, overall revenue was US$5.8billion of which S4.6billion was from semiconductor solutions, this was up 5% QoQ but down 7% YoY. Looking ahead they forecast overall revenue to be US$25billion of which semiconductor solutions will be approx. $18billion.

According to IHS Markit, Samsung has clear lead in the 5G smartphone market holding 74% market share. Samsung is reported to have shipped 3.2million 5G handsets in Q3 2019. In second place was LG with 10% market share having shipped 400,000 units.

To support the expected recovery of the memory segment next year, Samsung is reported to be planning to increase it’s NAND memory capacity at it’s Fab in China. According to reports it is expected to spend $8billion to boost production in China.

Finally, according to research firm IDC, wearable device shipments grew 94.6% in Q3 compared to a year ago. Leading this market is Apple with a 35% market share due to it’s Apple watch and Airpod sales, having shipped 29.5million devices in Q3. 2nd is Xiaomi followed by Samsung and Huawei as smartphone makers dominate this market. The biggest category is earwear which grew 240% yoy, followed by wristband and smartwatch catagories which both grew around 48% yoy.

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