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01-11: Samsung Electronics plans to supply its own Exynos chips to Audi starting from 2018; Samsung Display is considering a fresh investment worth USD2B in Vietnam to beef up production of OLED panels for smartphones; etc.

Chipsets

TSMC’s revenues for 2016 totaled NTD947.94B, rising 12.4% on year and hitting an annual high. Its consolidated revenues for Dec. 2016 are NTD78.11B (USD2.45B), down about 16% on month but up 33.9% on year. Revenues for 4Q16 climbed to a record high of NTD262.23B. (CN Beta, Digitimes, press, TSMC)

tsmc-2016-monthly-revenue

[CES 2017] Finbarr Moynihan, the general director of sales at mobile processor company MediaTek says that while overall growth worldwide might be slowing, large markets like India and China still have tons of growth potential. While high-end premium phone sales may be slowing, there might still be growth in the mid and lower end, along with the growth of using unlocked phones in the US. (Android Authority)

mediatek-finbarr-moynihan

[CES 2017] Samsung Electronics plans to supply its own Exynos chips to Audi starting from 2018, marking the first time for the Korean tech giant to supply its non-memory chips to a carmaker. (TechNews, The Investor)

[CES 2017] Automotive electronics solutions provider NXP Semiconductors has announced a long-term strategic partnership with China’s Geely Automobile Group. The companies will work together on a new platform for research and development to connect innovation in semiconductor technology more efficiently with demand in the automobile industry. (Motley Fool, Laoyaoba, Economic Times, NASDAQ)

Touch / Display

Samsung Display is considering a fresh investment worth USD2B in Vietnam to beef up production of OLED panels for smartphones. Samsung Electronics operates two plants in Vietnam that produce almost 50% of its handsets sold globally. (Android Headlines, The Investor, iFeng, Kejixun)

Apple’s patent for “Electronic devices having displays with openings” describes a method by which various components can be mounted behind perforations in a device screen that are so small as to be imperceptible to the human eye. This arrangement would allow engineers to design a smartphone or tablet with a true edge-to-edge or “full face” display. (Phone Arena, Apple Insider, CN Beta)

apple-full-display-patent

Japan Aviation Electronics Industry (JAE) will begin mass production of curved touch panels for automotive in summer 2017. They have developed a highly sensitive panel film sensor that is easy to see even under bright light. They have already received orders from a major automobile manufacturer. (Nikkan, TechNews)

jae-car-display

Memory

At the start of 1Q17, contract prices of server DRAM modules have already increased by over 25% on average from the same point in the prior quarter, according to TrendForce. The sequential contract price increases for some high-density server DRAM modules are even at nearly 30%. The average worldwide contract price of DDR4 R-DIMM 32GB modules has broken through the threshold of USD200, while the 16GB counterparts have also climbed to about USD100. (Laoyaoba, TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press)

Due to shortage, DRAM prices have been raising. It forecasts that the 2017 semiconductor operating profit of Korea’s 2 big memory vendors Samsung and SK Hynix will increase 50% on year, reaching KRW25T. After reaching bottom in Jun. 2016, memory market has rebound, from the lowest USD1.31 per storage unit increased to USD1.94 at year end.  Under situation of short supply yet over demand, the prices of memory will continue to increase throughout 2017. Lately Samsung is the main driver of increasing the price. At 1Q17, standard DRAM increase rate has exceeded 30%, mobile  DRAM is about 15%~20%, and server DRAM is about 25%~30%. (Laoyaoba, TTV, TechNews)

Smartphones

Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to adopt a stainless steel forging process for its new chassis frame instead of traditional CNC machining. Component orders are expected to be shared between Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) and US-based Jabil. the cost of the forging process is 30-50% cheaper than the current unibody CNC machine process, while quality control is also more stable. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Digitimes, press, 163, 10JQKA)

Meizu has announced that the company has managed to ship out 22M smartphones in 2016, 2M out of which is outside China. (CN Beta, Android Headlines, Gizmo China, Anzhuo)

meizu-sales-2016-22m meizu-sales-2016-22m-2

Google is reportedly prepared to pay up to EUR280M to settle a year-long probe into its tax arrangements in Italy. Italy’s financial police launched an investigation into Google’s tax affairs a year ago, subsequently accusing 5 executives at Google Italy and Google Ireland, the company’s regional base, of failing to declare corporate tax and evading around EUR800M between 2009 and 2013. (CN Beta, Reuters, Telecom Paper)

For 2016, Foxconn posted revenues of NTD4.356T (USD136.38B), down 2.81% from a year ago. The company’s Dec. 2016 revenue, however, grew 9.76% year-on-year to NTD449.63B thanks to orders for the approaching Chinese New Year holidays and the relatively robust demand for the Apple’s 5.5” iPhone 7 Plus model. (CN Beta, Mac Rumors, Asia Nikkei, ZDNet)

asianikkei-honhai-revenues

Samsung China reportedly might readjust its channel organization. If reorganization is done, all the brand offices will be closed directly, and will only be granted with power to sell devices, all the other powers will go back to the Beijing headquarter. If all the brand offices to be converted to operation offices, it might cause a massive layoffs. It will have 1/3 of power force to be laid off or to be transferred to other posts. (CN Beta, 163)

Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in South Korea is still undecided on whether to pursue arrest warrants for 2 senior executives at Samsung Group, President Chang Choong-ki and the conglomerate’s Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, following its investigation into political corruption in the country. (Android Headlines, Korea Herald, Yonhap News, Sina)

Wistron has announced equipment purchases for its subsidiary in Kunshan, China totaling no more than USD195M. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

The new legislation proposed by European Commission seeks to reinforce the right to privacy and control of data for European citizens, with messaging, email and voice services – such as those provided by Facebook, Google and Microsoft – forced to guarantee the confidentiality of conversations and metadata around the time, place and other factors of those conversations. (CN Beta, Reuters, The Guardian)

Wearables

Fitbit has acquired the UK-based smartwatch maker Vector Watch, which was founded in 2015. It is best known for making smartwatches like the Vector Luna and Vector Meridian featuring a monochrome screen display, a fully stainless steel case, a 30-day battery life. (Android Authority, Vector Watch, Leiphone, Tencent)

fitbit-vector-watch

The enterprise wearable market is experiencing a shift from wrist-worn devices to body- and head-worn wearables. ABI Research forecasts enterprise wearable shipments will grow from 30M shipments in 2016 to nearly 147M in 2021 with wrist-worn wearable shipments projected to triple by 2021 to reach 30M. Body-worn devices will surge from 20M to more than 116M over the same period. (Digitimes, ABI Research, press)

MGCOOL announces 2 new 4K action cameras Explorer 1S and 2 both featuring 4K video recording, 6 glass 170°wide-angle lens, image stabilization and 30m-depth waterproofing with the help of the special case. (Gizmo China, GizChina)

mgcool-explorer-1s-2

[CES 2017] Jack McCauley, one of Oculus’s co-founders, has talked about what Oculus needs to better going forward, with one of the big points being reducing the cost of the Rift. He also  believes that mobile VR is the way the market is heading, rather than PC-based VR. (TechRadar, Kit Guru, ChinaZ)

ZeniMax Media alleges the Oculus Rift was created with stolen technology sourced from ZeniMax employees. In the lawsuit, ZeniMax is seeking USD2B in damages. (Forbes, Upload VR, ZOL, YX Down)

Internet of Things

Amazon has reportedly acquired AI security startup harvest.ai for around USD20M. (TechNews, TechCrunch)

Mitsubishi Research Institute believes that while the use of robots is expected to create 5M work places by 2030, the artificial intellect will replace 7.4M people in traditional branches, leaving 2.4M Japan citizens without jobs. Japan is home to approximately 127M people. (CN Beta, Sputnik News, Zero Censorship)

Samsung and LG lost a battle with the US International Trade Commission for trade practices that “caused injury” to the US appliances industry. Whirldpool alleged that by selling washing machines in the US that were made in China, and also sold at a loss, Samsung and LG were actively damaging US appliance makers. (Laoyaoba, BGR)

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