1. Insufficient consumer demand, customers of semiconductor equipment manufacturers continue to cut orders
According to Korean media reports quoted by Fast Technology, several semiconductor equipment industry leaders revealed that many orders were received in the first half of last year, but after multiple delays, customers said that they would reduce investment by more than 50% in 2023 and cancel orders. It remains unclear when customers will be able to place orders again in the near future, raising the possibility of losses for semiconductor equipment makers.
South Korea’s SK Hynix canceled most semiconductor equipment purchases at the end of last year. After requesting delayed delivery in the second quarter of last year when the semiconductor market was sluggish, it turned to completely canceling orders in the fourth quarter. Samsung has not significantly reduced its investment this year like other semiconductor companies. Once Samsung also cuts orders, the pressure on the semiconductor equipment market will be even greater.
2. Apple, AMD, etc. compete for TSMC production capacity for AI chips
According to IT House citing Taiwan Economic Daily, Apple, AMD, and Nvidia are fiercely competing in the AI field. It has been reported that they have recently placed urgent orders with TSMC, and related chips will be gradually produced after April.
The legal person estimates that with the urgent orders for AI chips from the three major customers, the quarter-on-quarter decline in revenue denominated in NT dollars in the second quarter of TSMC is expected to be reduced to about 3%, and it is moving towards the road of growth against the trend for the whole year. Industry insiders pointed out that the current PC and Netcom’s high inventory depletion pressure mainly affects the utilization rate of TSMC’s 6/7nm production capacity, but the AI accelerators and chips of the three major customers are mainly produced by TSMC’s 5nm family process, which makes the utilization of TSMC’s 5nm family capacity Rates remain firm.
3. The operating rate of Korean chip foundries continues to decline and is expected to continue until the second quarter
According to foreign media reports quoted by TechWeb, the operating rate of production facilities of Korean chip foundries continues to decline, and this trend is expected to continue at least until the second quarter of this year. Demand for chips from Korean chip foundries such as Samsung, DB Hitek, Key Foundry, Magnachip and SK Hynix System IC has also declined as demand for chips has slumped due to slumping demand for consumer electronics.
In early December 2022, foreign media reported that the capacity utilization rate of many South Korean foundry companies has dropped sharply, except for Samsung Electronics. Today, Korean media said that for 8-inch wafers, the operating rates of Samsung, DB Hitek and Key Foundry are all between 60% and 70%. But for 12-inch wafers, the operating rate of Samsung’s 12-inch fab remains at around 80%.
4. Renesas Electronics launched a new gate driver IC for automotive electronics
On January 30, Renesas Electronics launched a new gate drive chip RAJ2930004AGM, which is used to drive high-voltage power devices such as IGBTs and SiC MOSFETs in electric vehicle inverters. The RAJ2930004AGM can be used with IGBT and SiC MOSFET devices from Renesas and other manufacturers.
In addition to traction inverters, this gate driver IC is ideal for various applications using power semiconductors, such as on-board chargers and DC/DC converters. Samples of the RAJ2930004AGM gate driver IC are available now, with volume production planned for Q1 2024.