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30 August 2018

Electric cars will change the component marketplace

electroniccarThe automotive industry is undergoing a radical transformation. And the electronic components sector will undeniably have to adapt to the changing needs of a rapidly growing and evolving market.

The advancement of hybrid- and electric-powered engines are a disruptive influence that’s changing how cars are designed and manufactured. Component manufacturers, distributors and companies at all levels of the supply chain will have to adapt to this shift.

According to a recent report published by GlobalData, registrations of electric cars will rise from roughly 1% of all global vehicles in 2017 to more than 15% by 2030.

In terms of numbers, Global Data predicts over 300 million electric cars will be traversing our road networks in the next twenty years.

This shift will change buying patterns throughout the whole automotive supply chain. Component manufacturers will have to keep pace with growing demand and offer a portfolio of products that are commercially and technologically suitable for use.

This will mean increased R&D expenditure and unprecedented market disruption. Buyers of electronic components will have to contend with increased demand and therefore, will have to budget and act accordingly.

You only need to look at the ongoing shortage of multi-layered ceramic capacitors to see how franchise markets react to sudden surges in demand. Don’t be a passenger; make sure that you are planning your path forward.


21 August 2018

European Semiconductor Sectors Seeks EU Backing

ecselWith competition in the global electronics industry intensifying, the European electronics sector has come together and called on the EU to help bolster its competitiveness.

The report, submitted by the ECSEL, highlights the continents need to invest in and embrace new technologies and spearhead investment in the next-generation of semiconductor architecture.

Examples given include high-growth and high-tech sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous driving.

It also requests that the financing of an existing research and development programme, launched in 2014, be doubled to nearly £9 billion.

Other suggestions put forward was the creation of a pan-European ‘Design Alliance’ that would act as a centralised hub for multinational design houses and the formation of an education and skills task force.

After a period of decline, Europe’s semiconductor £250 billion sector is showing signs of growth.

Though, this resurgence is under threat. With trade tensions mounting, Europe’s semiconductor must increase its self-reliance, especially with protectionist policies being pushed by the likes of the United States and China.


16 August 2018

Computer Virus Hits TSMC

tsmcA computer virus that struck TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is expected to cost the chip manufacturer in the region of £130 million.

The virus hit the firm’s computer network late last week and quickly spread to the machinery used to manufacturer chip and processors, TSMC said in a statement on Monday.

The press release went on to say that the virus caused equipment to crash or enter a reboot cycle, and was a variant of the WannaCry ransomware that made global headlines last year.

TSMC said the disruption in production is likely to knock 2% off its 3Q revenue, which was previously projected to be in the region of £6.5 billion.


15 August 2018

SK Hynix to invest in new £2.4 billion fab

skhynix-200South Korean memory manufacturer SK Hynix plans to spend £2.4 billion on the construction of a new DRAM fab at its headquarters in South Korea.

Building work is expected to begin later this year, with completion set for late 2020.

This comes at a time when the market for memory products – and DRAM especially – is undergoing something of a boom period. With demand outstripping supply, the DRAM market grew by 76% last year and is predicted to grow by a further 33% this year.

This announcement came the day after SK Hynix reported strong second-quarter results, with sales of £7 billion, a 55% year-on-year increase.


14 August 2018

Outlay on semiconductor design to top £240 billion

amd-1310766_640By the end of the year, the world’s leading electronic and technology companies will have spent over £240 billion on designing the next generation of semiconductors.

Figures released in a new IHS Markit report puts the projected figure at £243.7 billion, a new record that eclipses the total spent last year of nearly £229 billion.

The United States leads the way in terms of market share, accounting for 28% of global spend. However, this is slightly down from 2017’s market share of 29%, due to declining sales in the wireless sector, caused by slowing consumer demand for smartphones and media tablets.

Driven by heavy investment by Samsung and LG Electronics, South Korea’s projected spending is expected to increase by 13% this year, up to £22 billion. Two other fast-growing nations are India and Germany, with both countries posting increases of nearly 10%.


13 August 2018

Infineon explored takeover of STMicro

InfineonInfineon held preliminary discussions with STMicroelectronics about a possible takeover last year.

According to an article on Bloomberg, Infineon hired the French international banking group BNP Paribas to study and advise them on the viability of such a deal.

A combined Infineon-STMicro entity would have created the biggest European semiconductor group with sales of around £13.5 billion.

It is not known if STMicro were open to a merger and it is understood that no talks have taken place after those preliminary discussions last summer.

Industry analysts cite political implications and the fear of job losses in France and Italy as potential barriers to the merger, which is perhaps why talks never got off the ground.


11 August 2018

US and China announce further trade tariffs

usa-china660

The ongoing trade war between the United States and China escalated this week as both nations rolled out a new wave of tariffs. This conflict shows no sign of slowing down.

After a period of consultation, the Trump administration confirmed that a second round of tariffs would come into force later this month.

Starting Thursday 23rd August, the US will impose a further 25% tariff on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods coming into America.

Again, many types of electronic components have been targetted, with integrated circuits and diodes featuring on this second list.

In response, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce struck back, announced that China would place an equal 25% tariff on $16 billion of US imports

Speaking on Beijing’s decision to retaliate, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said that China’s leadership should instead address “the longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices.”

With further tariffs under consideration and the Trump administration hinting that it is thinking about raising the proposed levy from 10% to 25%, this situation is likely to only intensify


10 August 2018

The US hits Russia with trade sanctions

trade-1The United States has announced it will place restrictions on the export of sensitive technology to Russia after determining it used a banned nerve agent in an attempt to poison the former spy, Sergei Skripal.

The sanctions will come into effect later this month and will curb Russia’s ability to import US goods and technologies.

Under the terms, anything with a national security purpose – including electronic devices and integrated circuits – will not be allowed to be exported to Russia from the US.

In a statement made on Wednesday (9th August) night, the US State Department said that further “more draconian” sanctions would follow if Russia failed to give suitable assurances that it would no longer use chemical weapons.


09 August 2018

Oversupply of NAND flash will see prices tumble

graphstock1250In some good news for buyers, DRAMeXchange has predicted that average selling prices of NAND flash lines will drop quarter-on-quarter by 10% in both Q3 and Q4 2018.

In previous years, Q3 has traditionally been peak season for the sales of consumer electronics. However, with sales of smartphones and tablets expected to be slow heading into 2019, the need for NAND flash is much weaker than originally planned.

At the same time, many memory manufacturers are ramping up output, leading to an oversupply of parts on the market. And with supply greater than demand, prices are tumbling.


06 August 2018

A Big Problem in the Land of Discretes

stmicro-logoDemand for discrete semiconductors increased by 11% last year, four times greater than the average over the two decades. According to the research firm IC Insights, overall market sales will touch £22 billion by 2022.

However, this growth comes at a price for OEMs.

In a recent interview, STMicroelectronics’ Andrea Tranchida stated that the chipmaker is “seeing huge demand across all discrete product lines.”

Worryingly for the industry, that demand is showing no sign of slowing down and STMicroelectronics isn’t the only manufacturer suffering.

As a result, lead times have been steadily growing throughout 2018.

Our research shows that average lead times for discrete semiconductors (across all manufacturers) through now stands at 32 weeks. This represents a rise of 20% since January.

To make things worse, broadline distributors are also warning of impending price increases due to the escalating cost of raw materials.

Because of these factors, we encourage buyers to expand their supply network and work with independent distributors when sourcing discrete products.


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