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12-29: Samsung Electronics is considering to start investing in a microLED TV production facility and equipment in 1H20; China has said its Beidou Navigation Satellite System that emulates the U.S. Global Positioning System will be competed with the launch of its final 2 satellites in 1H20; etc.

Chipsets

According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), the size of the world semiconductor market in 2018 was USD468.778B, an increase of 13.7% year-on-year. With the rise of information technologies such as AI, 5G, and IoT, the semiconductor industry has ushered in a cyclic inflection point and entered a high-boom cycle. Six major needs of 5G, IoT, AI, automotive electronics, blockchain, and new energy have begun to rise, and the number of downstream equipment terminals and hardware usage will increase significantly, forming a business cycle resonance, bringing opportunities for the development of the semiconductor industry. (TF Securities report)

On the mobile phone side, the cost and quantity of radio frequency (RF) components will be increased. It is estimated that the RF front-end cost of a single 5G smartphone is USD34, and that of a single flagship 4G LTE smartphone is USD19. For other smart phones, TF Securities estimates that the average RF front-end cost is about USD8.7 per unit. In terms of shipments, it is expected that the first batch of 5G smartphones will be shipped in 2019, and it will reach 200M units in 2020. The comprehensive single-unit RF front-end cost will reach USD18.5B in 2019 and USD24.3B in 2020, with a CAGR of 18.8%. (TF Securities report)

Touch Display

Samsung Electronics is considering to start investing in a microLED TV production facility and equipment in 1H20. Samsung is currently offering the consumer microLED “The wall Luxury” displays – based on tiled 960×540 modules that use 0.84mm microLED pixels. (Small Tech News, ET News, My Drivers)

Mini LED is mainly used as backlight for display, TV, tablet, notebook and others. According to AVC data, the total sales of LED small-pitch in China in 2018 is about 90,000m2. GF Securities assumes that the size of the mini LED chip is 150×150µm, and it requires 172 pieces of 2” per m2. Assuming each TV / tablet / notebook backlight modules require 30K / 6K / 10K chips, respectively. Under the assumption that the penetration rate of only 5%, it requires 608K pieces per month of 2” pieces, which is about 5.9% of the global LED chip supply in 2018. (GF Securities report)

Leading manufacturers in mainland China are also making rapid progress in Mini LED. In the chip segment, San’an Optoelectronics Mini / Micro chips have been supplied to Samsung and other brands. In 2Q19, it announced that it invests CNY12B in Hubei Gedian to expand Mini / Micro chips; HC SemiTek has launched a series of new Mini LED chips and already supply in volume; For packaging, Nationstar has mass-produced 4K / 8K and Mini LED lamp beads for backlighting; Refond Optoelectronics has started to supply Mini LED backlight modules to Konka and other customers in batches; For integration, Unilumin and Planar have released a variety of Mini LED specifications display. (GF Securities report)

Camera

The increase in the number of cameras can allow mobile phones photography to achieve more functions, closer to SLR cameras. According to the requirements of “main + wide-angle + macro + zoom + bokeh, at least 5 rear cameras are required, plus 1-2 at the front, in total at least 6 cameras. Considering that there are 3D cameras in the future, a mobile phone needs to be equipped with 7-8 cameras. (Founder Securities report)

According to Sigmaintell, in 3Q19, dual-cam smartphones accounted for 30%, tri-cam 26%, quad-cam 22%. Driven by the demand for multiple cameras, 3Q19 phone camera sensor shipments reached 1.3B units, a year-on-year increase of 14%. The proportion of high-pixel shipments continues to increase, with 48MP and above 3Q19 shipments reaching 9%. The supply of high-pixel sensors continues to be tight. It is estimated that the global shipment of 48MP camera sensors will exceed 450M in 2020. (Great Wall Securities report)

The components of a camera are mainly: CMOS sensor, module assembly, optical lens, voice coil motor, infrared filter, etc. In the camera industry chain, module assembly produces / purchases various components for module assembly and molding, and ship them to mobile phone, automobile and other end customers. (Great Wall Securities report)

Connectivity

China has said its Beidou Navigation Satellite System that emulates the U.S. Global Positioning System will be competed with the launch of its final 2 satellites in 1H20. Project director Ran Chengqi has indicated that the core of the positioning system was completed in Dec 2019 with the launch additional satellites bringing its total constellation to 24. (TechCrunch, Asia Nikkei, AP News, DW News, Xinhuanet, Yicai)

At the base station side, with the commercialization of 5G, the number of base stations and the cost of a single base station will both increase, and the superposition will bring huge market space. According to the calculation of cellular communication theory, to achieve the same coverage, the number of 5G macro base stations in China is expected to be about 5M units, which is 1.5 times the number of 4G base stations. (TF Securities report)

Phone

CICC predicts that in 2020 driven by 5G, global smartphone sales will recover 2.4% to 1.568B units after the recession of 2018/2019. Among them, 5G phone sales are expected to reach 250M units, of which China is expected to reach 152M units. From an overseas perspective, CICC believes that the 5G process depends on the operator’s 5G network deployment speed. The United States, South Korea, Japan, the Middle East, and some European regions are at the forefront of 5G applications. They believe that 5G mobile phone shipments in 2020 and 2021 are expected 250M and 450M units. (CICC report)

From the bill of materials (BOM) point of view, Xiaomi believes that the cost of the first batch of 5G phones is about CNY700 (about USD100) more expensive than before. Moreover, in the design of the mobile phone, the 4G version needs to be consistent with 5G. In terms of the middle frame, heat dissipation, internal layout, etc., the cost of the 4G version is also upgraded to a certain extent compared to the previous one. (CICC report)

Robotics

Toyota Motor has unveiled an upgraded version of its human-shaped T-HR3 robot. The robot, which is controlled remotely by a person wearing a headset and wiring on his or her arms and hands, now has faster and smoother finger movements because the controlling device is lighter and easier to use. (CN Beta, Tech Insight, Industry Week)

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