08-08: Zeiss might acquire 45% stake of Leica; Foxconn has reported plans to open a facility in Michigan to work on self-driving vehicle technologies; etc.

Chipsets

TrendForce’s latest research on semiconductor fab plans in China after 2016 finds that a total 17 new fabs are slated for construction so far. 5 of these plants will be for processing 8-inch wafers and the remaining 12 plants will be for processing 12” wafers.  (Laoyaoba, TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press)

Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) shipped 496Kpcs 8” wafers in 2Q17, which is less than 507Kpcs last quarter, but it similar to that of 497Kpcs in 2Q16. VIS expects 3Q17 demand for 0.18µm and 0.25µm process will increase. (Laoyaoba, KK News, VIS)

Touch Display

After panels enjoying some good time in 1H17, the costs of panel start to drop from Jul 2017, and expecting the costs will continue to go down on quarter basis. The profit of 2H17 will be impact by the dropping costs, the panel makers still make sizeable profit. However, panel business peak has already passed. (Laoyaoba, UDN)

FocalTech’s AMOLED touch solution has been adopted by Meizu for PRO 7 series. The back display (dubbed “painting display”) is 1.9” big, and using AMOLED with FocalTech touch solution. (Laoyaoba, China Times, 51Touch)

Samsung has reportedly decided to use “Substrate Like PCB” (SLP) as the main board for its strategic smartphone to be released in 1H18. The SLP is an advanced version of the current High Density Interconnect (HDI) circuit board. The stacked design, among other things, drastically improves space efficiency for battery whose size is getting bigger and bigger to high-end phones.  (EET China, TechNews, Laoyaoba, The Investor, ET News)

Foxconn VP Luo Zhongsheng has noted that potential Apple “iPhone 8” purchasers would have to pay a premium for the device. He claims a 40% defect rate of producing OLED screen because of custom cuts in the substrate that Apple is demanding for the device. (Apple Insider, My Drivers)

Camera

Buyout group Blackstone is allegedly in talks with potential buyers for its 45% stake in iconic high-end camera and sport optics maker Leica. Zeiss is potentially interested in Leica Camera, but would only agree to a deal if it was able to secure a majority stake. (Laoyaoba, Peta Pixel, Reuters)

Memory

On 2 Jul 2015, Chinese NOR Flash vendor Gigadevice was to merge with U.S. DRAM vendor Integrated Silicon Solution (ISSI), which had been bought by China’s Summitview Capital. This is a milestone for DRAM development in China. Yet on 8 Aug 2017, Gigadevice has announced to halt the acquisition. (TechNews, EET China, Laoyaoba, TechNews.co)

DRAM prices began to rise in 2H16 and have maintained a strong upward momentum through 1H17, according to TrendForce. The average contract price of PC DRAM modules rose by nearly 40% sequentially in 1Q17 to USD24 and then by more than 10% sequentially in 2Q17 to USD27. Furthermore, the average contract price of PC DRAM modules increased by about 4.6% between Jun / Jul 2017. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, Laoyaoba)

NAND flash memory delivery prices for manufacturers in July stood at around USD3.50, up 13% from a month earlier, for the benchmark 64 gigabit, triple-level cell type used in personal computers. DRAM memory prices rose 3% on the month to about USD3.10 for the standard 4Gb DDR3. (Laoyaoba, UDN, OfWeek, Asia Nikkei)

Smartphones

According to the China Securities Regulatory Commission, as of the end of Jul 2017, it has accepted 641 enterprises for IPO applications, 59 of which have been approved, and 549 are still pending. There are 8 companies from smartphone supply chain within these companies. (Laoyaoba, Sohu)

Vendors are changing their strategy based on the market change. CNY1000-phone share is declining in the market. Mobile China Alliance secretary Wang Yanhui indicates that China smartphone market is maturing, and phone exchange is sped up, consumers are more familiar with the smartphone brands. Consumers are looking for mid-to-high smartphone after their first smartphone. (CN Beta, IT Bear, IT-Times, Tencent, ZOL)

According to a study conducted by Tencent, 67.6% of Apple iPhone users reported they have encountered spam messages and iMessage spam bomb. Among them, 62.7% of users said that the spam is very offensive, that it has caused great trouble for daily life. Spam not only occupies mobile phone memory but also affect the user to view important information, 54.7% of users receive information and delete immediately. (Laoyaoba, My Drivers, IT Home, TechWeb)

Samsung officially announces Galaxy S8 Active – 5.8” 18.5:9 QHD Super AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, IP68 certified, USB 3.1, 4000mAh battery, USD850. (CN Beta, The Verge, BGR, TechRadar)

Ulefone S8 Pro is announced – 5.3” HD Sharp 2.5D curved display, MediaTek MT6737 processor, dual rear 13MP – depth-of-filed + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, rear fingerprint scanner, 3000mAh battery, USD79.99. (Gizmo China, Ulefone)

Wearables

NO.1 F4 Fitness Tracker is launched featuring a multi “Sport Mode”, IP68 certified, heart rate / blood pressure measurement, 130mAh battery. (Android Headlines, No. 1)

Internet of Things

LG, Sony and Sharp are ramping TV shipments at the expense of Samsung and major players in China, which reportedly are suffering a setback in their respective shipments, according to Digitimes. Samsung originally set to ship 48M TVs in 2017, up from over 46M units shipped a year earlier. However, the vendor is said to have been forced to lower its goal to 42M~45M due to sluggish demand for TVs. (Digitimes, press)

Foxconn has reported plans to open a facility in Michigan to work on self-driving vehicle technologies alongside artificial intelligence and deep learning. Estimates suggest the new project could cost as much as USD20B. (Android Headlines, 9to5Mac, TechSpot, SCMP, STCN, IT Home)

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