03-26: LGD has reportedly decided to sell equipment for making OLED panels to Tianma; Apple could be making iPhones in India within the next 2 months; etc.

Chipsets

China semiconductor data shows that in 2016 Mainland China import value was still as high as CNY227.1B, which is 4 years continuously more than CNY200B, similar to import of crude oil. At the same time, the semiconductor export value was CNY61.38B, which was about CNY165.7B difference of import. According to MIIT, in 2016, 131.8B units of IC board were produced for electronics device, a 21.2% increased on year, However, China’s semiconductor manufacturing sector investment grew only 31%, compared to the current demand gap, the investment is still far from enough. (MIIT, press, Laoyaoba, China FPD)

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Qualcomm’s leadership in smartphone SoC is being challenged by MediaTek, with the latter penetrating the mid-to-low segment. To hold its position, Qualcomm is also strengthening its mid-range development, and it seems it has gained some good results. (Laoyaoba, Elecfans, EE World, Sohu, EE Focus)

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Taiwan-based Gudeng Precision Industrial, a semiconductor front-end equipment manufacturer specializing in mask solution products and wafer handling equipment, has enjoyed a pull-in of orders for new 12” fabs in China. SMIC, TSMC, UMC and Powerchip Technology are reportedly among Gudeng’s 12” foundry clients. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, Laoyaoba)

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United Microelectronics’ 12” foundry subsidiary in Xiamen, China will be ready for 28nm chip production in 2Q17 vying for orders from China’s local handset chip suppliers. UMC’s transfer of 28nm process technology to subsidiary United Semiconductor (Xiamen) has been approved by the Investment Commission of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, according to a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The transaction is estimated at USD200M. (Digitimes, press, UDN, CNYES)

SEMI estimates that in 2017-2020 there will be globally additional 62 production lines for semiconductor, 26 (42%) of which will be located in Mainland China. Accordingly, China currently has newly added 15 production lines, and will be put into operation in 2018. (SEMI, Laoyaoba)

Paul Scherrer Institute PSI has made detailed 3-D images of a commercially available computer chip using X-Ray. This marks the first time a non-destructive method has visualized the paths of a chip’s internal wiring (just 45nm wide) and its 34nm-high transistors clearly without distortions or deformations.  (Laoyaoba, Sohu, Phys, Ars Technica, Nature)

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MediaTek will start to recognize gains from the sale of its China-based subsidiary AutoChips in 2017. MediaTek indicated the sale of AutoChips will generate an additional pretax profit of nearly NTD12B (USD393.8M), which will be recognized in 3 years. Of the amount, MediaTek will recognize NTD5B in its financial statement for 1Q17. (Digitimes, press, LTN, China Times)

Touch Display

Tianma Microelectronics has declared to offer spending CNY10.685B acquiring the 100% stake in Xiamen Tianma and a 60% stake in Shanghai Tianma AM-OLED, meanwhile financing at most CNY1.9B. The 100% stake in Xiamen Tianma is estimated to be worth CNY10.072B, appreciating 7.37% and the 60% stake in Shanghai Tianma AM-OLED CNY613M, appreciating 5.72%. (4-Traders, CN Beta)

LG Electronics has decided to sell equipment for making OLED panels to Tianma Microelectronics as early as May 2016. It may start kicking off shipment in 2Q17, when equipment for making OLED panels will be carried to Wuhan plant, expected mass production of OLED panels in 2Q18. (Laoyaoba, TechNews, LED Inside, OLED-Info, 4-Traders)

The value of products involving flexible displays will surge to over USD200B within 5 years and approach USD300B within a decade, according to market research company Futuresource Consulting. However, ‘fully flexible’ devices will be viable within the next 1-2 years, allowing repeatedly foldable or rollable screens. (Digitimes, press)

Taiwan’s AU Optronics starts shipping a new AMOLED display for wearable (and other) applications. The new AMOLED is a square 1.3” (active area 23.28×23.28mm) panel with a resolution of 240×240 (261PPI). (OLED-Info)

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Konica Minolta and Pioneer will setup a joint venture, which will be called Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED. The new 50:50 JV company will be established in May 2017 with an initial capital of JPY490M (about USD4.4M) and a focus on OLED lighting for automotive applications. (Konica Minolta, OLED-Info)

konica-minolta-flexible-oleds

First-O-Lite (FOL) was established in 2010 in Nanjing, China with an aim to become an OLED lighting developer and producer. Based on its hybrid tandem architecture, FOL has a 2-Gen OLED lighting production fab that is currently producing 70lm/W OLED lighting panels. (OLED-Info)

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Paper-like thin patch attached OLED, flexible OLED are expected to become the main TV products with OLED. Inkjet printing process that can reduce production cost of large-size OLED panel, which uses soluble material is close to commercialization. UBI Research has revealed that the future OLED will have a higher performance, diversity, and investment costs are expected to gradually reduce. (Laoyaoba, Glass, KK News)

Taiwan-based PMOLED maker Wisechip has demonstrated 3 flexible OLEDs –  1.8” 160×32 panel and a 1.36” 128×16 panel. Both monochrome (white) panels. The third display is a 256×64 one. The curvature radius of Wisechip’s displays is 40mm.  (OLED-Info, Digitimes, Yam, CTimes)

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Camera

Coasia Microelectronics distributes CMOS image sensors mainly for Samsung, while Sunnic Technology & Merchandise sells Sony’s CMOS image sensor components. Demand for CMOS image sensors is expected to increase substantially in 2017, thanks to a growing number of new smartphones including entry-level and mid-range models that will feature a dual-lens setup, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, China Times, Digitimes, Wtoutiao)

Sensory

Along with the fast development of self-driving technology, there will be increased demand for driver sensing systems used to monitor drivers for determining whether they are able to take over driving when self-driving breaks down, with the global market value for such sensing systems used in level 2 (partial self-driving combined with autonomous functions) and above self-driving to rise to USD2.34B in 2025, 3.2 times that in 2015, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

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Battery

Thanks to the discovery of a new material by University of Utah engineers, jewelry such as a ring and your body heat could generate enough electricity to power a body sensor, or a cooking pan could charge a mobile phone in just a few hours. They have found that a combination of the chemical elements calcium, cobalt and terbium can create an efficient, inexpensive and bio-friendly material that can generate electricity through a thermoelectric process involving heat and cold air. (CN Beta, Daily Mail, Phys)

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Japan Osaka-based Kaneka Corporation has presented a new silicon-based solar cell that has is able to achieve stunning 26.3% efficiency, which is a new record. (CN Beta, Ars Technica, TNW, Nature)

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Smartphones

Apple could be making iPhones in India within the next 2 months. Wistron will reportedly start making iPhone 6 and 6S models in tech hub Bangalore in the next 4~6 weeks. Almost all preparations have been done for launching Apple’s first phase project in Bangalore through Wistron. (CN BetaCNFOL, Market Watch, NY Post, Daily Mail, Wall Street Journal)

In terms of shipments, the iPhone 6s from Apple bested all competitors for sales in 2016, according to new analysis from IHS Markit. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 ranked fifth and ninth, respectively. The combined shipments of S7 and S7 Edge in 2016 were 10M higher than S6 and S6 Edge over the same period. (IHS, press, Digitimes, 36Kr, Sina)

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J.D. Power has surveyed 7,994 people in Oct-Dec 2016 who had their current smartphone for less than 1 year, and were customers with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, or U.S. Cellula, with limited its scope to Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and LG. (Apple Insider, CN Beta, JD Power, report)

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Millennials now play an increasing role in commercial and brand success in China. Increasing millennial loyalty requires understanding of the distinct attributes they seek in brands. Consumers of all ages want products or services that offer quality, are trustworthy, and help make their lives better but Millennials are more likely to favour brands that are famous or trendy. BrandZ research reveals the most successful brand at increasing millennial loyalty was mobile phone handset brand OPPO, up 157% since 2014. (CN Beta, report, WPP)

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HMD Global is launching its new Nokia lineup (Nokia 3, 5, and 6) in 120 markets – simultaneously from 2Q17. (Android Authority, GSM Arena, Nokia Poweruser)

Deloitte and STORES Media announce the 2017 Global Powers of Retailing. Retail revenue for the Global Powers of Retailing Top 250 companies totaled more than USD4.3T in FY2015, resulting in an average size of USD17.2B per company. JD.com is ranked 36th at overall retailer, and ranked at 2nd behind Amazon for e-retailers. (CN Beta, JRJ, Sohu, NRF, Deloitte, report)

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Lenovo launched the Moto M during 4Q16. Lenovo has reportedly sold more that 3M units so far in under 6 months. Moto M is equipped with 5.5” FHD display, MediaTek Helio P10 processor, 16MP + 8MP cameras. (GizChina, GSM Arena, ZOL)

lenovo-moto-m-3m-units

Lenovo expects sales of Motorola-brand smartphones to gain momentum in a number of markets in 2017, particularly in Asia-Pacific, according to William Tsai, sales director for Asia Pacific at Lenovo, the parent company of Motorola. Sales of Moto-brand smartphones have been making ground in Brazil, India, and the US, Tsai said. (Digitimes, press, Sohu)

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A Texas federal jury has hit Motorola Mobility LLC with a USD9M verdict, finding willful infringement of 5 patents s licensed by Saint Lawrence Communications LLC related to voice quality on phone calls and rejecting Motorola’s claims the patents are invalid. (Laoyaoba, Sina, Law360, The Marshall)

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group had revealed that more than 12M Huawei P9 and P9 Plus units had been sold globally so far. (Phone Arena, Playful Droid, My Drivers, Huanqiu)

Samsung has formally introduced the Samsung Pay in India, enabling the service to all who have a compatible Samsung phone. (Sammy Hub, India.com, Hexun)

OPPO has been actively tapping overseas markets, especially in North Africa and the Middle East, according to industry sources. OPPO has been pushing sales of its smartphones to a total of 27 markets, including New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan. The company also has set up a distribution hub in Egypt to expand sales in the Middle East and North Africa. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, CNYES)

Oukitel U16 Max is announced – 6” HD LTPS 2.5D curved display supplied by JDI, MediaTek MT6753 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB ROM, Android 7.0, fingerprint sensor, 4000mAh battery, USD109.99. (Gizmo China, Oukitel)

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Huawei Nova Youth Edition is announced – 5.2” FHD 2.5D curved display, Huawei Kirin 658 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 7.0, fingerprint sensor, 3000mAh battery. (The Android Soul, My Drivers)

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Tablets / PCs

Chassis maker Ju Teng International Holdings, currently the exclusive supplier of metal-alloy chassis used in Microsoft Surface-series notebooks and tablets, is expected to see large growth in metal-alloy chassis shipments in 2017 due to increases in Surface shipments, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

Wearables

Samsung finally has an LTE model of the Gear S3 Classic, equipped with 1.3” circular AMOLED display, and powered by Tizen OS. (Pocket-Lint, Engadget, Business Wire, 9to5Google, Android Authority, Samsung)

samsung-gear-s3-classic-lte

From Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and other sports garment leaders, to Apple, Google, Intel and other technology vendors, they all have announced entering the smart garment R&D. In Taiwan, big textile companies including Ruentex, Eclat, Far Eastern New Century, Formosa Taffeta, Hong Yuan and Tex-Ray have their own development of technologies to grab the opportunities. (TechNews)

Joel Breton, HTC Vive’s Vice President of Global Content criticized the investment strategy adopted by Oculus. Breton said Oculus is doing a disservice to the market with its approach to investing in virtual reality (VR) content. (Android HeadlinesGames Industry, Gamespot, HiAPK)

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Douglas Clinton, a managing partner with venture capital firm Loup Ventures, expects Apple to sell about 8M~10M AirPods in calendar 2017, compared with 10M Apple Watch units. In 2018, he forecasts Apple selling over 20M AirPods vs. 12M Apple smartwatches. (TechNews, Investors, Barron’s, blog, Loup Ventures, press)

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