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Weekly News | Supply Chain Trends in Semiconductor Industry
发布日期:2024-06-11

Industry PolicyJune 6


Saudi Arabia builds Silicon Valley of the Middle East to boost the development of the semiconductor industry

Recently, Saudi Arabia announced to establish ‘National Semiconductor Hub’, marking that the country started a solid step in achieving economic diversification and reducing reliance on crude oil exports. It is reported that the hub aims to support fabless chipmakers that design new chips, and at least 50 semiconductor design companies will be established in the hub by 2030.

The establishment of the National Semiconductor Hub highlights that the semiconductor industry plays an important role in Saudi Arabia’s economic development. The person in charge of the hub made it clear that their goal is not to challenge the industry giants such as Nvidia or Intel, but to start with designing basic chips to gradually establish a solid foundation for the industry. The Saudi government has provided generous incentives for the hub, including free venues and salary subsidies, to attract domestic and foreign companies to settle in it.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has been committed to developing new industries to increase non-oil income. To this end, the establishment of the National Semiconductor Hub not only helps to enhance Saudi Arabias position in the field of science and technology but also provides strong support for the countrys economic transformation.

According to report, the Saudi government also plans to produce 1 million wafers by 2030 through Alat, a PIF company, estimated to generate income of 1 million US dollars.

Comments:

The National Semiconductor Hub established by Saudi Arabia is an important part of its economic transformation strategy. This initiative of Saudi Arabia is very forward-looking. With the continuous expansion of the global semiconductor market, the Middle East may become a new growth pole of the semiconductor industry. By establishing the National Semiconductor Hub, Saudi Arabia will not only inject new impetus into its economic development but also set a benchmark for the development of science and technology industry in the region. By attracting fabless chipmakers, Saudi Arabia not only promotes the development of its semiconductor industry but also expects to form a new technology industry cluster in the Middle East. The governments strong support and generous incentive policies have undoubtedly provided a strong guarantee for the rapid development of the semiconductor industry. However, as the semiconductor industry is a technology-intensive industry, Saudi Arabia has to constantly invest in talent trainings and technology R&D to guarantee the long-term stable development of this industry. Overall, the initiative of Saudi Arabia is worthy of recognition, but there is still a long way to go in the future.


Company TrendJune 6


Jensen Huang confirmed that Samsung’s HBM3 chips failed to pass Nvidia tests but denied it was due to heat and power consumption issues

On June 6, 2024, at the recent COMPUTEX 2024 Global Press Conference, the CEO of Nvidia publicly disclosed that the high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chip developed by Samsung did not pass the official test of Nvidia. Nvidia’s certification is a necessary prerequisite for Samsung to supply HBM3 and HBM3e chips to the market, which plays an important role in the development of AI by Nvidia.

Previously, rumors said that Samsungs new HBM module failed to pass the rigorous test of Nvidia due to overheating and power consumption issues. Samsung subsequently refuted these accusations that its HBM chips had overheating and power consumption issues, and insisted that its R&D of the most advanced HBM3e chips was progressing smoothly.

In the latest response, he clearly pointed out that Samsungs HBM chips had not passed any form of certification, so these products were not ready yet to enter the market. "We still need more engineering design work, which has not been completed yet.

Comments:

Samsung, as the worlds leading manufacturer of memory chips, announced that it had started the mass production of 8-layer HBM3E chips and plans to launch 12-layer HBM3E chips soon. It is estimated that the supply of HBM chips will triple in 2024 compared to that in 2023. This production increase plan shows that Samsung has strong ambition in memory technology and responds positively to market demand.

Although Samsung faces some challenges in HBM technology, its long-term leading position in the memory market and continuous innovation & investment will help it to catch up from behind in the near future. In addition, with the further progress of AI and big data applications, the demand for HBM memory technology will continue to grow, and the market competition will further intensify.

In this context, the technological progress and capacity expansion by memory manufacturers such as Samsung and SK Hynix will bring a far-reaching impact on the development of the entire IC industry. The certification standards of major chip users such as Nvidia will become an important force to promote the technological progress and product quality of the industry.


Company TrendJune 3


Microns HBM memory poses a threat to Korean chipmakers

Recently, according to the report of South Korean media ETNews, Micron Technology is rapidly rising in the HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) market with its excellent energy efficiency performance, which poses a big threat to the traditional South Korean memory giants SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics.

In the past, Micron did not hold a vantage position in the field of HBM. However, Micron made a wise decision to abandon the mass production plan of HBM3 but focused on more advanced HBM3E instead in 2022. This strategic adjustment has brought huge success to Micron. According to report, Micron has obtained an order from Nvidia, the largest demander of HBM memory, and started to supply HBM3E for its H200 AI GPU.

One of the highlights of Micron’s HBM3E memory is its superior energy efficiency. According to Micron, its 24 GB 8-Hi HBM3E device is 30% lower in power consumption than competitors products. With the rapid development of AI technology, low-power consumption technology is particularly important. It can not only effectively reduce the heat and power consumption of the system, but also reduce the demand for cooling equipment, thus reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of AI data centers.

It is worth mentioning that Micron has also made remarkable progress in expanding production capacity. According to the report of TrendForce, Micron’s HBM production capacity only accounted for 3.2% of the overall market at the end of 2023. However, it is estimated that by the end of 2024, Micron’s HBM production capacity will rise to 20,000 wafers per month, and its market share will also rocket to 11.4%.

Comments:

Looking forward to the future, Micron has great development potential in the field of HBM. It is learned that the company has completed the sampling of 12-Hi HBM3E memory (36GB per stack), and plans to realize mass production of the product in 2025. Meanwhile, Micron aims at the further HBM4 era and plans to start the development of HBM4 memory in H2 2025. However, its development of HBM4E is expected to be completed in 2028.

Microns sudden rise in the field of HBM memory not only shows its technical strength and strategic vision but also brings a new competitive landscape to the entire IC industry. With the continuous progress of AI technology, the demand for high-performance memory will continue to grow. Micron, with its energy efficiency advantages and expanding production capacity, is expected to further consolidate its leading position in the HBM market in the coming few years.


Company TrendJune 5


Intel sells 49% equity of Irish Fab to raise US$11bn to promote strategic transformation

Recently, Intel, a world-renowned semiconductor giant, announced that it had reached an important agreement with Apollo to sell its 49% equity of Fab 34 in Ireland at the price of US$11bn. This major initiative of Intel aims to raise funds to support its strategic transformation and continuous expansion around the world.

Report said that Fab 34 is Intel’s high-volume manufacturing facility in Leixlip, Ireland, and the fab adopts Intel 4 and 3 technologies to specially producing high performance wafers. Since its construction, Intel has invested a total of US$18.4bn in the fab, demonstrating its firm commitment to technological innovation and capacity improvement.

The completion of this transaction not only raised considerable funds to Intel, but also provided strong support for its further layout in the global semiconductor market. Intel made it clear that it will have a 51% controlling interest in the joint venture and will retain full ownership and operational control of Fab 34 and its assets. This means that despite the changes in the equity, Intels dominant position in the fab has not been undermined.

Comments:

The construction of Fab 34 has been basically completed, and it began mass production of Intel Core over-standard processors using Intel 4 technology in September last year. At the same time, Intel is smoothly advancing the R&D of Granite Rapids, the next generation processor for data centers based on Intel 3 technology. Undoubtedly, these major technological breakthroughs have created Intel a favorable position in the global semiconductor competition.

According to the agreement, Intel will be responsible for the subsequent expansion of Fab 34 and ensure purchasing wafers from the joint venture for itself and external customers. In addition, Intel also promised to guarantee the minimum wafer demand after the fab was basically completed, which further shows its confidence in and commitment to the future market demand.

According to the analysis of industry experts, the equity sale is an important step of Intels strategic transformation. This transaction will help Intel obtain valuable financial support, optimize the allocation of its resources around the world, and accelerate its technological innovation and market expansion. This will undoubtedly bring new energy to Intel in the fierce semiconductor competition and is expected to promote the sustainable development and progress of the entire IC industry.


Domestic Trend


Jiangsu Luxin Semiconductor project cappedJune 6

On June 6, Jiangsu Luxin Semiconductor Technology Co., Ltd. successfully held the capping ceremony for its new factory buildings and supporting facilities.

It is learned that Luxin Semiconductor project is located in Suzhou Industrial Park. According to previous report, the project, with a total investment of RMB2bn, covers a land area of 74 mu (about 50,000 square meters), and will produce about 35,000 photomasks per year, and the technical node will be 28nm. The products can be widely used for IC semiconductor chip manufacturing, packaging and other fields involving high-performance computation, AI, mobile communication, intelligent power grid, high-speed rail transportation and new energy vehicles. The project will be built in two phases. During its first phase, the project plans to produce photomasks of 45nm and above nodes; during its second phase, it plans to produce photomasks of 28 nm and above nodes and is expected to achieve mass production in 2025.

According to the data, Jiangsu Luxin Semiconductor Technology Co., Ltd. was established on May 18, 2023. The technology company, specializing in the R&D and production of semiconductor masks, has semiconductor mask production lines with 130nm-28nm process nodes. In the future, the company will focus on high-end analog chips in the fields of automobiles and communications to make up the gap of domestic high-end chips.

Shengjian Environment capped domestic semiconductor process supporting equipment & key component projectJune 6

On June 6, Shengjian Environment capped its domestic semiconductor process supporting equipment & key component project.

It is learned that the total investment of the project is RMB600mn. In order to ensure the implementation of this project, Shengjian Environment set up a subsidiary Shengjian Semiconductor to be responsible for the project, aiming to build a domestic advanced semiconductor supporting equipment platform integrating R&D, manufacturing, sales and maintenance service. The project is committed to improving the ecology of the industrial chain in the domestic semiconductor field, improving the domestic high-end equipment supporting capacity of the semiconductor process, and promoting the continuous improvement of the rate of replacing exported products with domestic semiconductor equipment.

Shengjian Environment, founded in 2005, is a renowned green technology service provider in Chinas high-tech industry. The company has developed three main business groups, namely “green high-tech facility system solutions, semiconductor process supporting equipment and core components, as well as wet chemicals.


NEXIC Technology settles in Xidong New City, with total investment of RMB1bnJune 5

On June 5, NEXIC Technology signed an agreement to build its third generation semiconductor power module R&D production base in Xidong New City.

According to report, the total investment of the project exceeds RMB1bn, used to build third generation automobile-purpose power module packaging line, covering applications of main drive, super charging pile, photovoltaic power, industries, etc. The project is expected to be put into operation in 2025, with a full production capacity of about 1.29 million pieces per year and an output value of over RMB1.5bn per year.

According to data, NEXIC Technology is focusing on the innovation breakthrough and R&D of third-generation semiconductor SiC power device and power module and is committed to becoming a domestic leading power semiconductor change leader with international influence. The company’s products will be widely used in photovoltaic energy storage, new energy vehicles, industrial control and other fields, and it is one of the few IDM firm capable of producing products with special 6”wafer process.

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