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04-15: OnePlus is not working on a foldable phone but it is further ahead in the development of a TV; Meitu has announced plans to close its smartphone business by middle of 2019; etc.

Chipsets

Unclear product positioning and customer orders will likely leave a substantial portion of production capacity idle in China’s IC foundry sector, where more 12” and 8” fabs are set to come online, according to Digitimes. China became the world’s 2nd-largest market for semiconductor manufacturing equipment in 2018, when total sales climbed to a record-high USD64.5B, according to SEMI. Equipment sales in China surged 59% on year to USD13.11B in 2018, outperforming other regions in terms of growth. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press)

Huawei will reportedly significantly increase the production of TSMC’s 7nm chip in 2H19. Huawei will introduce the Kirin 985 chip with 7nm+EUV (Ultraviolet Lithography) process in 2H19. The self-sufficiency rate of Huawei smartphones using the HiSilicon processor in 2H18 was less than 40%. It has risen to 45% in 1H19 but is expected to increase to 60% in 2H19. (GizChina, My Drivers, IT Home)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is set to move 7nm EUV process technology to volume production in 2Q19, according to Digitimes. In addition, TSMC will introduce an enhanced version of its N7+ for the fabrication of Apple A13 chip. Dubbed N7 Pro, the process will be ready for volume production later in 2Q19. As for TSMC’s 5nm node, risk production has already kicked off at the foundry’s new Fab 18 at the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP). (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press, Yahoo, China Times, CTEE)

Touch Display

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau says that OnePlus is not working on a foldable phone but it is further ahead in the development of a TV, Lau calls “smart display”. Lau says that they do not do anything fundamentally different from current phones. Folding screens do have potential, but not in phones, not yet. (GizChina, My Drivers, GSM Arena, Indian Express)

Taiwan-based makers in the panel supply chain, including those producing OLED panels, polarizers, chemicals and masks, are gearing up efforts to develop related materials for the production of foldable smartphones, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Yahoo, Digitimes, press)

Sensory

Companies selling optoelectronics currently dominate the ranking of the top-10 O-S-D (optoelectronics, sensors/actuators and discretes) suppliers, according to IC Insights. 9 of the top-10 companies sell optoelectronics, while 6 offer sensor/actuator semiconductors, and 5 provide discrete products. Only 4 of the top-10 companies sell products in all 3 O-S-D market segments, said IC Insights. The 10 largest suppliers in the ranking accounted for 39% of combined worldwide O-S-D revenues in 2018, which is the same percentage as in 2017. (IC Insights, press, HQEW, Elecfans)

Phone

Meitu has announced plans to close its smartphone business by middle of 2019. In Nov 2018, Meitu and Xiaomi reached a global strategic cooperation arrangement that gave exclusive license to Xiaomi to use Meitu brand, image-related technologies and certain smart hardware products for 30 years. The firm will continue to handle after-sales service of previously sold Meitu brand smartphones. (CN Beta, Caijing, Sina, My Drivers, China Daily)

Apple is reportedly investing heavily to get its upcoming Apple Arcade game subscription service off the ground, with Apple sinking upwards of USD500M into the more than 100 titles expected at launch. (Apple Insider, Financial Times, FT Chinese, CN Beta)

Home

Canalys forecasts the worldwide smart speaker installed base will grow 82.4% from 114.0M units in 2018 to 207.9M in 2019. The US is expected to maintain its lead in terms of smart speaker adoption, accounting for 42.2% of the global smart speaker installed base by the end of 2019. Furthermore, it expects smart speaker ownership will overtake that of tablets by 2021, when units sold through to consumers could approach 600M. (VentureBeat, Canalys, press)

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