02-12: MediaTek says its investment subsidiary will acquire 40% stake in Airoha Technology Corp; GlobalFoundries will open a new factory to make cheap wireless chips in Chengdu, China; etc.

Chipsets

GlobalFoundries will open a new factory to make cheap wireless chips in Chengdu, China in 2018. The new fab in China, a joint venture with the municipality of Chengdu, will produce chips on 300mm wafers using standard manufacturing techniques. (Laoyaoba, Elecfans, EE World, PC World, NY Times)

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Global 8” wafer fab utilization rate is about 88%, almost equivalent to full utilization rate. 8” wafer fab mainly produces 100~200nm chipsets. Due to increase of fingerprint chipsets demand, wafer fab orders have increased. Following the trend of IoT, MCU, etc., production also increases. Utilization rat will continue to increase in 2017 and 2018. (SEMI, Laoyaoba)

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Significant and noticeable IC market growth is closely tied to significant worldwide GDP since 2010, with worldwide economic growth being the primary influencer of IC industry growth, according to IC Insights. IC Insights forecasts similar restrained annual growth rates for worldwide GDP and the IC market through 2021. (IC Insights, press, Digitimes, OfWeek)

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MediaTek says its investment subsidiary will acquire 40% stake (24.2M shares) in Airoha Technology Corp, with total of NTD1B~2.666B (about USD575M). (Laoyaoba, 16RD, Reuters, Reuters, TWSE)

Chipset is China’s key pillar of industrial program, with a huge government subsidy of USD150B. US is concerned that subsidies in China will distort markets and impact US domestic industries, jeopardize US dominance in related technology and threaten national security. According to Bain & Co, China’s annual consumption of semiconductor value more than USD100B, a near 1/3 of global shipment. (China Times, article, Laoyaoba)

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Nvidia has reported fourth quarter (ending January 29, 2017) Fiscal Year 2017 revenues of USD2.17B, up 55% from USD1.40B a year earlier, and up 8% from USD2.00B in the previous quarter. For Fiscal 2017, revenues reached a record USD6.91B, up 38% from USD5.01B a year earlier. (Digitimes, press, Forbes, Market Watch, 163)

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Touch Display

The cost up of LCD panels in 2016 has caused trouble to the mobile phone industry. Industry analysts expect in 1H17 the supply demand of LCD panels will be more stable, and 2H17 depends on the market demand. In overall the whole year of 2017 is a good profitable year for LCD industry. (Laoyaoba, FPDisplay, China FPD, article)

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BOE Technology will cooperate the government of Hefei City, central China, to establish an OLED platform in the city. The platform will see a total investment of CNY1B (USD145M) and BOE will invest CNY600M for a 75% stake. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Huawei and BOE has established a collaboration to develop video market in Russia. BOE marketing executive Dong Fuzhi indicates that the collaboration model would be BOE to supply TV, Huawei to provide communication network, and with local operators, they can push 4K high-def products into the Russian market. (OfWeek, Xinmin)

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Memory

Western Digital and Toshiba have jointly announced that they have begun initial production on 64-layer 3D NAND in 512Gb capacities. (Laoyaoba, Hexun, Extreme Tech, Custom PC Review)

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Connectivity

Hiroshima University, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and Panasonic announced the development of a terahertz (THz) transmitter capable of transmitting digital data at a rate exceeding 100Gbps over a single channel using the 300-GHz band. This technology enables data rates 10 times or more faster than that offered by 5G mobile networks, expected to appear around 2020. (New Electronics, India Times, Futurism, NICT, Laoyaoba)

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Nokia has announced that they are working on what they are calling WING, a Worldwide IoT Network Grid. The project combines multiple connections, like cellular, satellite, and Wi-Fi, to create a worldwide network with nearly gapless coverage all over the map. (Android Headlines, Total Tele, Tech Republic, IT168)

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As the number and kinds of connected devices multiply, so have the security risks so IBM, Nokia, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and Trustonic are joining forces to help tackle the top Internet of Things (IoT) security challenges. The companies formed what it calls the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance to research and raise awareness of ways to better secure the IoT ecosystem. (Hexun, Digitimes, press, ZOL, Watchstor)

Qualcomm Technologies, along with Telstra, Netgear, and Ericsson, held “The Gigabit LTE Experience” event in Sydney, Australia to celebrate the arrival of the world’s first Gigabit LTE mobile device and network. (Laoyaoba, XDA-Developers, WCCFTech, Semi Accurate, Qualcomm)

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Smartphones

According to China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), In Jan 2017, China mobile phone shipment reached 468.64M units, 5.1% decreased on year. There were in total 63 new models launched in the market, a 22.2% decreased on year. Smartphone shipment reached 450.31M units, 4G phones reached 451.26M units. (Laoyaoba, CAICT report[cn], CAICT report, CN Beta)

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Makers in the Apple iPhone supply chain will start delivering parts and components for production of the next-generation iPhone series later in 1Q17, earlier than the schedule in previous years, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, GSM Arena, 163)

Huawei’s consumer business group reportedly only made USD2B in profit in 2016 compared to USD2.2B in 2015. In 2016, the Huawei consumer business unit’s revenue increased by 42% to USD26B, indicating that while revenue increased dramatically, expenses increased even more so. Various factors at play in the drop in profitability, including increasing component costs and a massive upswing in marketing costs. (CN Beta, Android Authority, The Information)

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Xiaomi says it has begun making phones in a new plant in Indonesia, with the capacity to churn out up to 1M units a month and specifically for the local market. Located in Batam, the manufacturing facility already had produced its first device, the Redmi 3S, which was unveiled at a soft launch earlier 2017. (Laoyaoba, ZDNet, Tech in Asia)

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Tablets / PCs

Because of weak demand for all-in-one (AIO) PCs, worldwide AIO PC shipments fell 4.8% on year to total only 12.11M units in 2016, the third consecutive year of on-year declines. However, the shipment volume is expected to return to growth in 2017, up 1.5% on year, as the market starts to stabilize after a 3-year decline, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, press)

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Internet of Things

Ford Motor Company announced a USD1B investment over the next 5 years in a startup called Argo AI (Pittsburgh), founded by 2 top AI robotic talents Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander.  (EE Times, Ford, 36Kr, Fast Company)

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According to BigData Research, in 2016 China shared bike service ofo led the market with 51.2% share, follows by Mobike (40.1%). The city coverage of ofo is 3 times of Mobike’s, and the number of bikes available is 1.6 times of Mobike’s. (CN Beta, BDR, report)

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