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07-29: IC foundries have seen their 8” fabs run at full utilization; The recent ramp capacity of Chinese vendors could lead to oversupply for the memory in 2019; etc.

Chipsets

Intel has confirmed the 10nm processors aiming for high-end computers will not arrive any sooner than the 2019 holiday shopping period.  (Apple Insider, CNBC, CN Beta, Laoyaoba)

Tracking toward even stronger growth than forecast last year, 200mm fabs worldwide are gearing up to add more than 600,000 wafers per month from 2017 through 2022, an 11% growth rate that will lead to a new high of 6M wafers per month by the end of 2022, according to the SEMI.  (SEMI, press, EE News, China Flash Market, Laoyaoba)

IC foundries have seen their 8” fabs run at full utilization, but order visibility for their 12” fab capacity is becoming unclear, according to Digitimes. The order visibility for 8” capacity has been extended through 2019, buoyed by growing chip demand for IoT and automotive electronics applications. (Digitimes, press, OfWeek, HQEW, EEPW)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 720 is rumored to feature a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) for artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration. It is known to be an enhanced version of the Snapdragon 710. The new rumour also includes that at least 3 vendors are currently developing Snapdragon 720-powered models, of which Samsung is expected to be the first to utilize the chipset on its mid-range Galaxy series. (My Drivers, Gizmo China)

Touch Display

Tianma Microelectronics to invest about CNY14.5B In Wuhan unit for its Gen-6 LTPS AMOLED output expansion. (Laoyaoba, JRJ, East Money, Yahoo)

BYD’s Hao Jiang industrial park is about 927 acre with investment of CNY2.8B for 2 separate projects: “cloud track” project and 3D glass production project. The 3D glass production aims for 2D, 2.5D and 3D smartphone cover glass, with area of 430 acre and CNY1.3B investment. (Laoyaoba, China FPD, East Day, Dahua Wang, EE Focus)

Apple reportedly will remove its force touch functionality for its new iPhone to be launched in 2H19. TPK is the main supplier of force touch sensors, which expect to contribute 32% of its revenues in 2018. Thus, Apple’s move in 2019 could impact TPK’s revenues. (Laoyaoba, TechNews, UDN, CNYES, Asia Nikkei)

Storage

The USD121B global memory chip industry has enjoyed an unprecedented boom since late 2016, with profits surging to record highs and margins rising above 70% thanks to disciplined production after years of consolidation. But the industry’s shift to a newer technology of 3D NAND flash stacks – which are cheaper to assemble than outgoing 2D chips – has seen output grow faster than demand this year and forced smaller players to aggressively cut prices to keep market share. Average NAND flash memory chip prices have nearly halved from a peak in 2017, and concerns of further declines sent.  (Laoyaoba, HQEW, Money DJ, Reuters)

Prices of DRAM memory chips – which help servers, gaming PCs and cryptocurrency mining devices process large amounts of streaming data – are up more than 20% in 2018. But they are losing momentum amid a Chinese price-fixing probe against industry heavyweights such as Samsung. Beijing has made the semiconductor sector a priority under its “Made in China 2025” strategy, and three firms – Yangtze Memory Technologies, Innotron Memory and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit – are getting ready to mass-produce memory chips.  (Laoyaoba, HQEW, Money DJ, Reuters)

As the second largest manufacturer of DRAM, SK Hynix has shared plans for a USD3.1B investment into a new manufacturing facility in South Korea. Following a USD1.6B share buyback program, SK Hynix will be building out its capabilities even though there is currently an inflated supply of DRAM that is causing prices to drop. Due to how quickly memory technologies are advancing, SK Hynix has not yet decided what type of memory will actually be produced at the new plant.  (CN Beta, Techspot)

Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) will be delivering a much-anticipated keynote address to reveal its ground-breaking technology – Xtacking. YMTC CEO Simon Yang will illustrate how the company’s new technology can increase NAND I/O speed up to DRAM DDR4 while delivering industry-leading bit density, marking a quantum leap for the NAND market. (CN Beta, PR Newswire, My Drivers)

While the global DRAM market still remains robust currently, the recent capacity ramps by Micron Technology and the planned kick-off of commercial production by China-based Fujian Jin Hua Integrated Circuit and Innotron Memory (previously known as Hefei ChangXin) could lead to oversupply for the memory in 2019, according to Digitimes. The global DRAM market is expected to reach a peak of USD104B in 2018, before contracting by 1.8% and 2.6%, respectively, in 2019 and 2020. (Digitimes, press, Big Bit, My Drivers)

Sensory

MIT has been able to create what is believed to be cell-sized robots ever that can sense their environment, store data, and carry out computational tasks. The tiny robots are the size of a human egg cell and have tiny electronic circuits that are made of 2D materials. That material piggybacks on tiny particles known as colloids. (Android Headlines, SlashGear, MIT, 163, Baijiahao)

Connectivity

Broadband Development Alliance has released 20th “China Broadband Status 2Q18 Report”. Since China broadband downlink speed has exceeded 20Mbps in 1Q18, 4G network downlink has already exceeded 20Mbps. Based on different regions, east region 4G mobile has the fastest download speed, reaching 20.95Mbps. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Broadband Development Alliance, report)

Taiwan flexible PCB (FPCB) maker Flexium Interconnect will gradually deliver shipments of 5G-related products in 3Q18. The company CFO Arthur Hsiung indicates that Flexium plans to set up 2 plants in southern Taiwan and Kunshan of China in 2 years at capital expense of NTD9.4B (USD3.07B) for the production of high-frequency transmission products. (Digitimes, press, CNYES, Apple Daily)

Singtel and Ericsson will launch by 4Q18 Singapore’s first 5G pilot network at one-north, the country’s science, business and IT hub. Using Ericsson’s 3GPP standards compliant 5G technology with the trial spectrum allocated by Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), the pilot network can deliver 5G coverage with enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) speed and low latency communications.  (CN Beta, Ericsson, Singtel)

Wearables

Samsung launches new Gear IconX wireless earbuds. The IconX features touch-based gestures for music playback and controls. The built-in equalizer features Bass Boost, Soft, Dynamic, Clear and Treble Boost presets. (Sammy Hub, Samsung, Sam Mobile, China Byte)

According to Canalys, Apple’s smartwatch performed strongly in 2Q18, with 3.5M shipped worldwide, 30% more than in the same period last year. Overall, global smartwatch shipments reached 10M units on the back of stellar performances by, among others, Fitbit and Garmin, as vendors capitalized on the wearables trend and diversified their portfolios to target distinct customer segments. (Canalys, press, Apple Insider, eBrun, CCTime)

Tommy Hilfiger introduced Tommy Jeans XPLORE, a new line of clothes and accessories that all come bugged with “smart chip technology,” which tracks how often owner wears them and where owner goes with them on. Owner can use to earn rewards like gift cards and concert tickets. (Digital Trends, Engadget, Business Insider, Yahoo, Sohu)

Automotive

German engineering and electronics company Bosch has joined forces with Finnish weather expert Foreca to inform self-driving cars about the road conditions they are operating on. This cloud-based, cloud-detecting technology could play a key role in one day making autonomous cars suitable for places that experience extreme weather. (Digital Trends, Bosch, Sohu, iFeng)

Artificial Intelligence

vivo has set up artificial intelligence (AI) research institutes in 4 Chinese cities — Shenzhen, Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing — and one in San Diego in the US state of California. (Sina, Laoyaoba, Yicai Global)

Snap40, a Scottish startup that has developed an AI-enabled wearable device to help health professionals monitor patients either on the hospital ward or at home, has raised USD8M in seed funding. The round is led by ADV, with participation from MMC Ventures, and brings total funding to USD10M. (TechCrunch, BBC, Business Wire)

Developed by the University of South Australia in partnership with the University of Stuttgart, Flinders University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany, the research uses state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms to demonstrate a link between personality and eye movements. Researchers tracked the eye movements of 42 participants as they undertook everyday tasks around a university campus, and subsequently assessed their personality traits using questionnaires. (CN Beta, Eureka Alert, Daily Mail)

E-Commerce

A federal jury in Delaware awarded IBM USD82.5M after finding that deals site Groupon had infringed on e-commerce patents owned by the technology giant. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, CNET, Reuters)

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