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Infineon expands foundry orders and strengthens MCUs for advanced vehicles

1. UMC won an order for automotive MCU from Infineon, and manufactured products using 40nm process

According to China Taiwan Business Times, Infineon and UMC jointly announced on the 7th that they signed a long-term cooperation agreement on automotive MCUs to expand Infineon’s MCU production capacity in UMC to serve the rapidly expanding automotive market. This high-performance MCU product uses Infineon’s proprietary embedded non-volatile memory (eNVM) technology and is fabricated in 40nm process at UMC’s 12-inch Fab 12i in Singapore.

In 2022, UMC’s business volume of automotive chips will increase by 82% annually and reach 9% of the overall business. In recent years, UMC has expanded cooperation with international IDM factories such as Infineon and TI in automotive chips. In 2022, it will also cooperate with Japan’s Denso. The two parties will jointly build the first 12-inch wafer manufacturing IGBT in UMC Japan’s USJC factory. production line.

2. Infineon will acquire gallium nitride startup GaN Systems for $830 million

According to TechWeb citing foreign media reports, Infineon will acquire GaN Systems, a gallium nitride start-up company, for US$830 million in all cash, and the two parties have signed a final agreement. Infineon said the acquisition will be funded from existing working capital, subject to regulatory approval. GaN Systems is a startup developing GaN-based power conversion solutions headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.

The transaction will strengthen Infineon’s gallium nitride (GaN) product portfolio, allowing it to offer a complete range of power solutions. A key area Infineon hopes to benefit from the acquisition is automotive, where the company has been investing in developing on-board charging technology for electric vehicles.

3. IDM industry: The imbalance between supply and demand of automotive chips has improved a lot

According to Kechuang Daily citing Taiwan’s Electronic Times, although there have been rumors that the market’s momentum for automotive chips has weakened, European and American IDM players are still highly optimistic about the automotive chip market, and generally emphasize that the imbalance between supply and demand for automotive chips has come to an end. It has improved a lot, but the general direction of tightness has not changed, and some products may not reach a real balance until next year or two.

As for the uneven temperature in the market, people familiar with the automotive IC market point out that, on the one hand, it is because IDM companies have an absolute advantage in supplying key high-spec products, and on the other hand, they have a higher voice in automotive electronics design. These thresholds allow IDM operators to benefit from the business opportunities of new automotive chips for a long time.

4. The price war for mature process OEMs is heating up, and some fabs are rumored to discount by 20%

According to IT House citing Taiwan Economic Daily, the wave of bargaining for the mature process of wafer foundry has expanded, and it has even been reported that some fabs are willing to discount 10%-20% in exchange for customer orders. According to the industry, under the influence of weak market demand and the traditional off-season, the impact on mature manufacturing processes, especially 8-inch factories, is the greatest. The capacity utilization rate of 8-inch factories this season is generally only 50% to 60%. Because the 12-inch factory can support the production capacity of advanced processes, the machines can be deployed, and there are still demand support for vehicles, 5G communications, etc., the price drop is relatively small.

According to the industry, the mature foundry manufacturers are currently aiming to increase the utilization rate of production capacity. Now if the client has a “big order”, the bargaining space is more flexible than before, and the price discount ranges up to 20%. But it remains to be seen whether the strategy of lowering prices will work.

5. IDC: Global PC and tablet shipments are expected to drop by 11.2% in 2023

According to IT House, according to IDC’s latest forecast, global shipments of PCs and tablets will drop to 403.1 million units in 2023, a year-on-year decrease of 11.2%, which is also lower than IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracking Report in 2022. December’s forecast of 429.5 million units.

As consumers are no longer restricted by the epidemic and commercial orders for PCs are basically completed, the market has sent a clear signal in the second half of 2022: endpoint devices are no longer the focus, and 2023 will be about clearing inventory and adjusting priorities when. However, IDC predicts that 2024 will be the year of growth recovery, with shipments of PCs and tablets increasing by 3.6% from 2023 to 417.7 million units, surpassing pre-epidemic levels.