03-06: China smartphone shipment will be slow continue to early 2Q17; Xiaomi and LeEco reportedly have reduced their orders for parts and components recently as their smartphone sales have been affected by recent price hikes; etc.

Chipsets

According to IC Insights, as of Dec 2016, Taiwan led all regions/countries in wafer capacity with 21.3% share, a slight decrease from 21.7% in 2015 when it first became the global wafer capacity leader.  In Taiwan, TSMC and UMC held 73% of the region’s capacity while in South Korea, Samsung and SK Hynix represented 93% of the IC wafer capacity installed in 2016. (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

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United Kingdom’s University of Exeter has demonstrated a new technique that could be used to create the next generation of computers. The team used microfluidics technology to develop a new method of engineering computer chips that is easier and less expensive than the current methodology. Microfluidics uses minute channels to control the flow and direction of tiny quantities of fluid. (Digital Trends, Science Daily, Sohu)

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TCL Corp Chairman and CEO Li Dongsheng hopes that the country will increase its support in semiconductor display and chipset industry in next 5 years. Mr Li suggests that: 1. implementing value-added tax rate of 6% in the industry; 2. maintaning the government financial suport and project capital investment; and 3. exempt from corporate profits to increase capital to pay enterprise income tax. (EE Trend, Laoyaoba)

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Touch Display

Nikkei’s new forecast is for Apple iPhone 8 to carry a 5.8” OLED screen. There will be a 4.7” LCD Apple iPhone 7s and a 5.5” LCD Apple iPhone 7s Plus. (Phone Arena, Asia Nikkei, Apple Insider, 163)

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FocalTech Systems has landed integrated driver controller (IDC)  orders for a number of new smartphones slated for launch in 2017. The company has reported net profits of NTD210M (USD6.77M ) for 2016, down 17% on year. (China Times, Digitimes, press, China Times)

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Memory

SK Hynix may join hands with Foxconn to acquire a chip unit of Toshiba. Toshiba could sell 100% of its chip unit to offset the massive loss at its US nuclear power plant construction business — instead of the initial plan of selling a 19.9% stake. This may reap a profit of more than USD8.7B from the sale. This has made things trickier for SK Hynix, who reportedly holds around KRW4T (USD3.4B) in cash assets.  (TechNews, The Investor)

Biometrics

Goodix revealed an in-display fingerprint sensor that can transform any part of the display into a fingerprint sensor. Goodix fingerprint sensors are currently found in Huawei, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE, LG, Nokia, and ASUS phones, the company said.  (Business Insider, Next Powerup, Business Wire, C114, Kejixun)

goodix-in-display-fingerprint-sensor

Camera

According to the infographics by LensVid, The global camera market, based on the latest published numbers for 2016 have shown a 35% drop in cameras shipped for the calendar year with only 23M units. 2010 was the top year ever for the camera industry with 121M cameras that were produced. (Digital Trends, LensVid, press, Sohu)

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In the old days of the Lumia 1020 and PureView 808, Nokia was known for using Carl Zeiss lenses and PureView imaging technology. Now that Nokia phones are manufactured by HMD Global, and the latter confirms that future Nokia phones will not use Carl Zeiss technology. (CN Beta, Neowin, Vtechgraphy)

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Battery

The U.S. Department of Commerce that on 1 Mar 2017 announced changes to the antidumping duties (AD) that are imposed on PV cell imports from Taiwanese suppliers during 2014~2016. The Commerce Department decided to substantially lower the AD rates for Taiwanese cell suppliers. The initial ruling had some of them pay the highest rate of 27.55% and the lowest rate of 11.45%, while the rest would have to pay 19.5%. The majority of Taiwanese suppliers, however, now pay a rate of 4.09%. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, Laoyaoba)

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John Goodenough, a 94-year-old professor at the University of Texas Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering—and the co-inventor of the lithium-ion cell claim their new battery can charge faster than current lithium-ion designs, and is noncombustible. The latter quality is due to the battery’s solid-state design, which replaces the flammable liquid electrolyte used in current lithium-ion battery cells with a solid material. (VentureBeat, Engadget, Univ. of Texas Austin, Scientific American, Sohu)

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Smartphones

Asustek decided to separate brand and ODM in 2008, and officially spun out Pegatron to separate brand and ODM in 2010. After few years of independently developing business, now Asustek is the top 5 PC brands, while Pegatron has exceeded Quanta, Compal and Wistron becoming 2nd largest professional electronics ODM, competing with Foxconn. (Laoyaoba, UDN)

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun indicates that the most difficult time of Xiaomi has passed, and he believes that Xiaomi will be more competitive after a series of learning experience. (91.com, Laoyaoba, CS.com)

xiaomi-ceo-lei-jun

Xiaomi and LeEco reportedly have reduced their orders for parts and components recently as their smartphone sales have been affected by recent price hikes, according to sources from Taiwan’s handset supply chain. The price hikes came even after the 2 vendors saw their smartphone shipments decline 42.4% and 39.5%, respectively, on quarter in 4Q16. (Digitimes, press, Sina, 163, Laoyaoba)

digitimes-xiaomi-leeco-price-rise

According to Pu Deyu, analyst of Yuanta Investment Consulting, China smartphone shipment will be slow continue to early 2Q17. According to supply chain, vivo, Huawei have reduced their orders by about 10%, whereas OPPO has increased its orders. Xiaomi and other vendors shipment is also weak. Yuanta thus readjust their forecast of 20% decline on quarter to 25% decline. According to Nomura, China’s domestic smartphone shipment will increase from 450M units in 2016 to 464M in 2017 and 468M in 2018. (UDN, Laoyaoba)

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Apple’s Eddy Cue has a potentially “transformative acquisition” in mind for Apple and has met with Paramount Pictures and with Sony’s TV and film teams. (Phone Arena, NY Post, CN Beta)

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Wearables

Video games have been stuck. Stuck since 1996 and the release of Super Mario 64, says Graeme Devine, the Chief Game Wizard at Magic Leap. Magic Leap wants to do that with its still relatively mysterious head-mounted virtual retinal display. (Laoyaoba, Upload VR, VRandFun, Polygon)

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Economy

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said that India’s gross domestic product grew 7% on the year for 4Q16. Though below the 7.4% rise for 3Q16, the figure is far better than most had expected: Markets had priced in growth in the lower 6% range. Even the Finance Ministry had pegged growth for October-December, as well as the current quarter, at 6.5%-6.75% in a white paper released at the end of Jan 2017. (Live Mint, Asia Nikkei, TechNews)

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China has opted for the lowest economic growth target in over a quarter century, pegging it at 6.5% in 2017. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.7%, the slowest in 26 years, but within the government’s target of 6.5%-7%. There has been a deceleration in China’s growth, which was in double digits till 2010, and is impacting overall global growth. (India Times, Barron’s, MSN, Sina, Hexun)

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