Weekly News | Supply Chain Trends in Semiconductor Industry

Market TrendMay 6

Flip chip ushers in bright future

In the field of high-speed and high-performance packaging design, the most frequently used packaging solution is flip chip-in package (FCiP) technology. As we all know, FCiP technology has many advantages over traditional wire bonding package, such as superior thermal and electrical performance, high I/O capability, substrate flexibility to meet different performance requirements, well established processing equipment know-how, proven structure, and smaller size.


Recently, packaging and assembly houses, by offering flip chip packaging alternatives on a standard bis-maleimide triazine (BT) resin substrate, quad flat pack no leads (QFN), and standard leadframe (FCSOL), have made significant progress toward providing cost-effective solutions. Although the wafer fabrication process may still involve upfront expenses, assembly houses are using cutting-edge procedures and proven technologies to give their clients more options.


Therefore, the dominance of traditional wire bonding solution no longer exists. FCiP technology represents a paradigm shift due to its unlimited advantages, and is changing the semiconductor packaging industry that we are familiar with. Through this shift, the flip-chip industry generated revenue of US$ 28bn in 2023, and it is expected to exceed US$ 50bn by the end of 2036, with CAGR of 7%.



Factors Influencing the flip chip industry 1. Surge in Popularity of IoT - The IoT using flip chip technology can miniaturize devices and has better performances than conventional technologies. Consequently, flip chip design finds application in microelectromechanical systems (MEMs) sensors, driving the global flip chip market growth. 2. Continuous improvements in wire bonding technology - The improvements in flip chip connectivity technology over wire bonding technology are advancing the demand for flip chips. 3. Growing demand for smartphones - Smartphone CPUs have seen heavy use of flip chip technology.  Therefore, the business is expanding due to the rising demand for smartphones. It is predicted that between 2024 and 2029, the number of smartphone users will rise constantly worldwide, adding 1.5 billion people (i.e., 30.6%). 4. Packaging technology (2D IC, 2.5D IC, 3D IC) - The 2.5D IC segment is expected to take a share of 50% in the coming years. Compared to alternative packaging technologies, the main factors driving the worldwide use of 2.5D IC flip chips are their smaller size, enhanced performance, greater capacity to pack more chips, and superior efficiency.


Policy TrendMay 6

US chip exports slumped 14%, and SIA calls for market-opening initiatives!

President Biden signed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act into law in 2022 to incentivize growth in the local semiconductor ecosystem, strengthen its supply chains, and ensure American semiconductor industry remains globally competitive. Boiled down, it was a bold plan to get more chip manufacturing happening in America.


This historic initiative has already gained significant results. Since the CHIPS Act was introduced, companies across the semiconductor ecosystem have announced more than 80 new projects across America. However, to ensure long-term competitiveness of US semiconductor companies and to make the CHIPS Act even more potent, the US need bigger markets globally where SIA members can sell the chips they manufacture here at home.


In fact, 75% of the revenue of US-headquartered semiconductor companies come from sales to foreign markets. Unfortunately, US chip exports dropped by 14% last year, despite US government efforts to build greater economic supply chain integration and resilience through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP).



In order to maintain the leading position of American semiconductors, the US needs a strong trade policy to supplement domestic efforts to accelerate chip development. This is the main ideas of the public opinion submitted by SIA on April 22 in response to the request of the USTR to solicit suggestions on how to boost the flexibility of the US supply chain in making trade policy. SIA strongly recommends that the Office of USTR effectively leverage trade policy and pursue market-opening initiatives to boost global demand for US semiconductors (and other goods manufactured in America). Similarly, SIA encourages USTR to get back in the game of advocating on behalf of US companies against market-access barriers and regulations imposed by other governments that unfairly tilt the playing field and disadvantage the US semiconductor industry.


When tackling the twists and turns of global trade and technology, it’s clear that the future of the US semiconductor industry depends not only on domestic investment, but also on smart, strategic international partnerships and smart trade policies that work to open new markets for US-made chips.


Policy TrendMay 7

US revoked licenses to sell chips to Huawei

According to reports of international media such as Bloomberg, Financial Times and Reuters, Bidens administration once again tightened its export control policy to curb supplying chips to Chinas technology company Huawei. This policy adjustment involves American chip giants Qualcomm and Intel, which had export licenses to supply chips to Huawei, but now the licenses have been revoked by the US government.


On the same day, the US Department of Commerce confirmed that it had “revoked certain licenses for exports to Huawei” but did not name which US companies would be affected. According to anonymous source, the move by the US Department of Commerce will affect the supply of chips for Huawei’s laptop computers and mobile phones.


According to Reuters, some sources said that over the past year or so, Bidens administration seldom approved new license applications for supplying chips to Huawei. According to the analysis of Bloomberg News, Huawei is not among the top ten customers of Qualcomm, nor on the list of Intels top customers. Qualcomm has recently said that its Huawei business is already limited and will soon shrink to zero.


It is reported that last month Huawei released MateBook X Pro laptop using Intel’s Core Ultra 9 chip. US Republican lawmakers have criticized the Department of Commerce for giving Intel "green light” to export semiconductors to Huawei.



The revoke of the existing export licenses may have a great impact on American chip manufacturers. These companies said that imposing restrictions on Chinese enterprises such as Huawei may damage their business, because it will cause them to lose the source of income to fund their domestic R&D by selling products.


In fact, in the past year or so, the Biden administration has taken a very cautious attitude towards new license application on semiconductor export to Huawei, and the number of approvals has been significantly reduced. Bloomberg News also pointed out that Huawei is not among the top ten customers of Qualcomm, nor on the list of Intels top customers. Qualcomm has recently said that its Huawei business is already limited and will soon shrink to zero. Faced with the challenges from the external environment, Huawei has seen a strong growth momentum in its performance. According to the data released by Canalys, a market research organization, Huawei has regained its leading position in the mobile phone market in the mainland of China after a period of market modification.


Company TrendMay 8

Great chips cannot boost Apple again

From the past practices, all Apples new M-series chips are released on its MacBook, and are usually updated once a year and a half. However, Apple jumped over M3, which was just released six months ago, and directly applied M4 on iPad Pro, showing that it attached importance to this chip.


According to the chip parameters announced by Apple, M4 adopts the CPU design of four big cores + six small cores, and the GPU has ten cores, able to deliver 50% faster CPU performance compared to the M2, and supports ray tracing; With a 16-core neural engine, the chip can process up to 38 trillion operations per second, which is 60 times that of A11 chip. When M4 provides the same performance as M2, its power consumption is only half of M2.


It is worth pointing out that Apples M4 adopts TSMCs second-generation 3-nm process (N3E), and only Apple has adopted this process since it was mass-produced for more than a year, which means that Apple has to bear more costs. According to market data, the foundry price of TSMCs N3E chip in 2023 is about RMB 140,000 /unit, which is 40% higher than that of 5nm chip (about RMB 95,500) and 100% higher than that of 7nm (about RMB 73,000).



It is natural for users to think about whether to pay for the strong performance of M4 chip. In early years, Apple’s self-developed chips such as A series did have some differentiated advantages. However, since the launch of M1 series in 2020, especially after Apple applied them to iPad, the comprehensive performance of the iPad with M series chips far exceeded that of others. After all, no company except Apple has applied desktop PC processors into iPad. At present, the biggest problem faced by Apple is that it has not explained clearly to users why they have to pay for such excess performance.


This time Apple claimed that the neural network engine of M4 was "strong enough to talk down to todays AI PC". However, considering the AI functions of the new iPad, it attaches importance to accelerating software performance rather than the popular generative AI. Apple still focuses on upgrading hardware such as chips and screens this time. The capabilities of OS and AI can only be seen at WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) to be held in June.


Domestic Trend

Chinas first 500+ qubit superconducting quantum computing chip, "Xiaohong" delivered, with performance comparable to international mainstream chipMay 5

According to the official WeChat account of China Telecom, the Center for Excellence in Quantum Information and Quantum Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences has launched a 504-qubit superconducting quantum computing chip, “Xiaohong”, aiming to verify the kilo-qubit measurement and control system developed by QuantumCTek. This chip has undoubtedly set a record for the number of qubits in a superconducting quantum chip in China. In the future, it is planned to open to global users through the "Tianyan" quantum computing cloud platform of China Telecom Quantum Information Technology Group to promote the international exchange and cooperation of quantum computing technology.


The measurement and control system and the quantum computing chip form the core hardware of quantum computers. Among them, the measurement and control system, through precisely interacting with quantum computing chips, ensures the accurate generation, transmission and processing of signals, thus profoundly affecting the overall performance of quantum computers. To fully verify the performance indicators of the large-scale measurement and control system, the Center for Excellence in Quantum Information and Quantum Physics specially developed this 504-qubit computing chip, “Xiaohong”.


With the profound R&D and processing strength of the Center in the field of superconducting quantum computing chips, this chip has not only integrated more than 500 qubits but also achieved the same chip performance of internationally renowned quantum computing cloud platforms such as IBM in terms of key indicators such as qubit lifetime, gate fidelity, gate depth, and reading fidelity, which can fully meet the verification requirements of kilobit measurement and control systems.


Swiss Micro Crystal signed online distribution agreement with iCKEYMay 6

Recently, Micro Crystal AG, a subsidiary of Swatch Group in Swiss, signed a new distribution agreement with iCKEY, one of the leading online electronic components distributors in China. This cooperation marks that the two sides further deepened their strategic alliance in the electronic component market.


Recently, the crystal and real-time clock module products of Swiss Micro Crystal are available on the official website of iCKEY, with sufficient inventories to meet the market demand. This cooperation not only enriches the product lines of iCKEY, but also provides a powerful online sales platform for Micro Crystal, which will boost the circulation and sales of its products in Chinese market. The ultra-low power consumption micro-frequency control products of Micro Crystal are very popular in the electronic market because of their excellent performance and reliability. At present, electronic product manufacturers can purchase these cutting-edge electronic components more conveniently on the website of iCKEY.


This cooperation not only provides a new channel for Swiss Micro Crystal to reach a wide range of customers, but also pushes the services and product supply chain advantages of iCKEY to a new height. Additionally, this cooperation will undoubtedly generate win-win market opportunities for both sides and promote their long-term development in the field of electronic components.


Infineon Technologies to supply SiC power modules and chips to Xiaomi Auto until 2027, according to their agreementMay 6

Infineon Technologies announced that it had signed agreement with Xiaomi Auto to provide SiC power modules HybridPACK™ Drive G2 CoolSiC™ and chip products for Xiaomi EV until 2027.


Infineon’s CoolSiC-based power modules allow for higher operating temperatures, resulting in best-in-class performance, driving dynamics and lifetime. For example, traction inverters based on the technology can further increase EV’s range. The HybridPACK Drive is Infineon’s market-leading power module line for EVs, with almost 8.5 million units sold since 2017.


According to the agreement, Infineon will provide two 1200 V HybridPACK™ Drive G2 CoolSiC modules for the Xiaomi SU7 Max and also supply Xiaomi Auto with a broad range of products, including, for example, EiceDRIVER gate drivers and more than ten microcontrollers for various applications. Infineon’s CoolSiC-based power modules allow for higher operating temperatures, resulting in best-in-class performance, driving dynamics and lifetime, and traction inverters based on the technology can further increase EV’s range.


At the same time, the two companies also agreed to further cooperate in the field of SiC-related automotive applications to give full play to the advantages of Infineons SiC product portfolio. According to the latest data from TechInsights, Infineon is the worlds largest supplier of automotive semiconductors, ranking first in the field of power semiconductors for vehicles.





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