News Posts matching #China

Return to Keyword Browsing

Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Declined 5% in Fourth Quarter of 2020

Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales declined 12.5% in full year 2020.

"The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. "Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter."

NVIDIA Faces Challenges: Qualcomm, Google, and Microsoft Protest Arm Acquisition

In September of last year, NVIDIA has officially announced that the current industry rumor about its big acquisition was true. The company has announced that it is acquiring Arm Limited from the Softbank Group. Paying as much as $40 billion for the purchase, NVIDIA is gaining access to the complete company, along with its extensive portfolio of IP and knowledge. That means that NVIDIA is not essentially a holder of the Arm ISA, which is the most dominant ISA within mobile processors. Such a deal, however, is a bit hard to process without some troubles popping up along the way. As Arm held a neutral position as IP provider, NVIDIA is expected to remain as such, and the company even promised to stay true to that.

However, not everything is going as planned. Before completing the acquisition process, NVIDIA must first comply with regulators from all around the world, including the US, UK, EU, and China. If any objections raise within those regions, they are to be interrogated. Today, Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm have objected that NVIDIA's Arm acquisition is hurting the market and are urging antitrust officials to intervene. Mentioned companies believe that NVIDIA's move is hurting the market and the company could limit its competitors from accessing the IP, thus breaking Arm's neutral position as an IP provider. NVIDIA has made statements that Arm will remain in such a position, however, the skepticism of the mentioned companies is slowing the merger. Now all that remains is to see how the conflicted companies solve their worries.

Following Huawei, Xiaomi Added to US Blacklist For Alleged Chinese Military Ties

Access to affordable electronics isn't looking much of a reality for US citizens, as the US government (presently in the outgoing days of Trump's administration) has now announced the addition of Chinese tech company Xiaomi to its military-connections blacklist. The move, enforced via a presidential executive order, now also demands U.S. investors to divest, or sell out, of affected holdings of any companies on the blacklist, by Nov. 11 this year. This addition to the US blacklist is done in accordance with the US National Defense Authorization Act of 1999, and doesn't place XIAOMI in the Entity list, of which Huawei is a part of, which would impede the Chinese tech giant from acquiring US technology and components for fabrication of its products.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) said in a statement that "The Department is determined to highlight and counter the People's Republic of China's (PRC) Military-Civil Fusion development strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even those PRC companies, universities, and research programs that appear to be civilian entities". Xiaomi has been classified as one of nine "Communist Chinese military companies".

GPUs to See Price Increase Due to Import Tariffs, Other PC Components to Follow

Yesterday, we have reported that ASUS is officially increasing the prices of their graphics cards and motherboards, due to increased component and logistics costs. What the company meant by that was not exactly clear to everyone, as it looked like the company has adjusted to the current market prices exceeding the MSRP of components like graphics cards. The GPUs are today selling at much higher prices compared to the original MSRP and it is representing a real problem for consumers. Today, we get to see what is the underlying problem behind the announcement we saw yesterday and if we are going to see more of that in the close future.

According to the New York Times, the Chinese import tariff exemptions have expired with the arrival of a new year (2021) and we can expect the tariffs to start from 7.5%-25%, which will massively increase component costs. A Reddit user has noted that MSRP will increase about $80 for every major GPU manufacturer like ASUS, GIGABYTE, PNY, Zotac, etc. so we are expecting MSRP adjustment from other companies to follow just like ASUS did. The import tariff exemptions are also supposed to increase MSRPs of other PC components like motherboards, SSDs, PSUs, cases... everything without exemption. As a product of a trade war between China and the Trump administration, it remains a question will these tariffs get easier shortly, so consumers can afford their desired components.

Worldwide Server Market Revenue Grew 2.2% Year Over Year in the Third Quarter of 2020, According to IDC

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, vendor revenue in the worldwide server market grew 2.2% year over year to $22.6 billion during the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20). Worldwide server shipments declined 0.2% year over year to nearly 3.1 million units in 3Q20. Volume server revenue was up 5.8% to $19.0 billion, while midrange server revenue declined 13.9% to $2.6 billion, and high-end servers declined by 12.6% to $937 million.

"Global demand for enterprise servers was a bit muted during the third quarter of 2020 although we did see areas of strong demand," said Paul Maguranis, senior research analyst, Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies at IDC. "From a regional perspective, server revenue within China grew 14.2% year over year. And worldwide revenues for servers running AMD CPUs were up 112.4% year over year while ARM-based servers grew revenues 430.5% year over year, albeit on a very small base of revenue."

DRAM ASP to Recover from Decline in 1Q21, with Potential for Slight Growth, Says TrendForce

The DRAM market exhibits a healthier and more balanced supply/demand relationship compared with the NAND Flash market because of its oligopolistic structure, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The percentage distribution of DRAM supply bits by application currently shows that PC DRAM accounts for 13%, server DRAM 34%, mobile DRAM 40%, graphics DRAM 5%, and consumer DRAM (or specialty DRAM) 8%. Looking ahead to 1Q21, the DRAM market by then will have gone through an inventory adjustment period of slightly more than two quarters. Memory buyers will also be more willing to stock up because they want to reduce the risk of future price hikes. Therefore, DRAM prices on the whole will be constrained from falling further. The overall ASP of DRAM products is now forecasted to stay generally flat or slightly up for 1Q21.

MSI Cargo Containers Chock-Full of RTX 3090 Graphics Cards Allegedly Stolen, $336,500 Value at MSRP

Now this is the first one such article I've ever written, which goes to show just how strange and crazy this pandemic time is. MSI has allegedly been the victim of a well-coordinated theft that managed to divert no less than 40 cargo units holding NVIDIA's flagship GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards from one of MSI's manufacturing sites in China. These cargo units aren't freight containers, to be clear; they're the sealed cardboard boxes with a manufacturers' seal that are shipped to retailers, with each cargo unit containing (usually) between five and six cards.

The cards are being valued at 2.2 Million Yuan, which is roughly $336,500 in US dollars, when priced at MSRP. That amounts to roughly 224 RTX 3090 GPUs. Of course, these cards will be much more valuable in the black market, since actual availability of the cards in the retail space is so constrained. MSI is offering a reward of 100 thousand Yuan for any information that leads to the recovery of the stolen cargo.

China Develops Tools for 28 nm Silicon Manufacturing

When the US decided to impose sanctions on all US-made technology use in foreign countries (China), the Chinese semiconductor manufacturing industry seemed at the time that it would just completely stop. Without the tools to manufacture silicon, Chinese manufacturers would need to turn to other countries to search for a possible solution. That, however, turned out impossible as the US administration has decided to stop the silicon from going into the hands of Chinese companies, by making a condition that any US-made technology can not get to China. Many of the parts for silicon manufacturing are designed in the US, so they have the power to restrict the use.

Today, in a surprising turn of events, we have information that Shanghai Micro Electronic Equipment (SMEE) has developed a deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography scanner that is set for delivery in 2021. With a plan to deliver it in the fourth quarter of 2021, SMEE has designed this DUV scanner for the production of 28 nm node. While not being the most advanced node available to date, it is a significant start for Chinese technology independence. ASML, the producer of such scanners, used to be one of the few options there, however, it just gained a competitor. China will deliver its new silicon on a 28 nm process at the end of 2021. Pictured below, you can see how the scanner from SMEE looks like.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

Another Semiconductor Player Bites the Dust: Chinese HSMC Shutters Operations

The semiconductor manufacturing industry is a cutthroat competition mostly played between established forces. One need only look to AMD's decision to spin-off its manufacturing arm to create Global Foundries to see how even a grand company can hit manufacturing issues (though not only manufacturing issues hit AMD at that time, obviously) can threaten to shutter operations. Intel's recent issues with 10 nm and 7 nm fabrication also come to mind. as such, it comes at no great surprise that Chinese company Wuhan Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (HSMC) has reportedly run out of cash. What's a little more surprising is how this company was actually backed by the Chinese government, and yet it still failed - proof of the semiconductor industry's technical and investment liquidity requirements.

HSMC back in 2017 announced plans to bring online a manufacturing plant in the central Chinese province of Hubei. The aim was to manufacture 14 nm and 7 nm chips as early as 2019/2020, funded by a $20 billion loan and numerous funding rounds. HSMC's ex-CEO Chiang Shang-yi (who previously served as former head of R&D at TSMC) said to EETimes that "Investors ran short of cash." And that was it for the company's aspirations. The company has now been absorbed by the municipal government in the central Chinese province of Hubei, and what will come of that (and the company's future) remain uncertain.

Samsung 14 nm Chip Orders from China Surge

Chinese IC designers have been left without reliable silicon manufacturers for some time now, as the US administration has imposed a ban on all Chinese manufacturers. That resulted in them having to gain the approval of the US administration to use any US-made technology for the production of Chinese goods. In light of that situation, Chinese clients have begun searching for a new place to manufacture their silicon. According to the report from DigiTimes, their sources indicate that Chinese clients are supposedly having an increased interest in Samsung's silicon manufacturing. The company has seen a surge in chip orders for its 14 nm node, with a report saying that Chinese customers are looking at even larger nodes as well.

This is quite an interesting situation and we have to wait and see how much of Samsung's total silicon manufacturing revenue will the Chinese clients contribute. That specific information should come in any of the next earnings calls if the company chooses to disclose it.

TOP500 Expands Exaflops Capacity Amidst Low Turnover

The 56th edition of the TOP500 saw the Japanese Fugaku supercomputer solidify its number one status in a list that reflects a flattening performance growth curve. Although two new systems managed to make it into the top 10, the full list recorded the smallest number of new entries since the project began in 1993.

The entry level to the list moved up to 1.32 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, a small increase from 1.23 petaflops recorded in the June 2020 rankings. In a similar vein, the aggregate performance of all 500 systems grew from 2.22 exaflops in June to just 2.43 exaflops on the latest list. Likewise, average concurrency per system barely increased at all, growing from 145,363 cores six months ago to 145,465 cores in the current list.

Fire Breaks Out in MSI's Bao'an Shenzhen Factory

A major fire accident occurred on the afternoon of November 5, 2020, at an MSI factory located in the Bao'an district of Shenzhen, China, which is about a 30-minute drive from the HKSAR border. MSI reports that nobody was injured in the accident, and that the production line was "not affected," although a video emerged on Reddit showing a large plume of smoke emerging from the factory. The company initiated industry-standard fire emergency response, and called in the Fire Department. The company reports that production has resumed in the factory. It's unknown what MSI manufactures in Bao'an, but given that notebooks and pre-built desktops are assembled in the Kunshan district of Shanghai, it's likely that the Bao'an factory assembles graphics cards and motherboards.

Huawei to Enter Silicon Manufacturing Business without US Technologies

Semiconductor manufacturing has been the latest victim of the recent trade war between China and the United States. With the US imposing sanctions on Chinese manufacturers, they have not been able to use any US technology without the approval of the US government. That has caused many companies to lose customers and switch their preferred foundry. The US government has also decided to sanction a Chinese company Huawei from accessing any US-technology-based manufacturing facilities, thus has prevented the Chinese company from manufacturing its chips in the facilities of TSMC. Left without almost any way to keep up with the latest semiconductor technology, Huawei is reportedly working on its own manufacturing facilities.

According to the Financial Times, Huawei is about to enter domestic silicon production with its partner company Shanghai IC R&D. And a big note here is that the manufacturing facility will not use any US technology. The production is allegedly going to start as soon as the end of this year, and the first process that will come out the door will be a rather outdated 45 nm node. The company is expecting to move on to a more advanced 28 nm node by the end of next year. While the capacities are unknown, we can assume that it will be enough for the company's purposes. With this move, Huawei will be 100% independent from any US influence and will own the complete vector of software and hardware, that is a custom made design by the company.
Huawei R&D Center

China's SMIC Announces N+1 Node Tape-Out for 7 nm Silicon

SMIC is taking immense strides in bridging the gap between China's in-house silicon manufacturing capability compared to the usual Taiwanese or US-based options. Despite its ties to the Chinese government, which led for a US blacklisting of the company amidst the current China-US trade-war, SMIC has definitely achieved a benchmark with its 7 nm tape-out. This was achieved after a number of funding rounds, some of them with the power of the Chinese state behind them. While the blacklisting definitely hurt the company, they still have access to ASML's semiconductor manufacturing equipment, so while the rope may be tight, it likely isn't suffocating.

The node's first production tape-out is for an ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) design for Innosilicon, which specializes in cryptocurrency mining, purpose-built chips. SMIC states that the new N+1 process can offer up to 20% boosted performance at the same clocks and core complexity compared to their 12 nm designs, which is subpar compared to other player's "7 nm class nodes", such as GloFo's 12 LP+, Samsung's 8LPP and TSMC's N7 non-EUV nodes (TSMC, for instance, offered a 20% performance boost between the 10 nm and 7 nm nodes). SMIC's manufacturing looks better in other metrics, though: power requirements can be reduced by 57% at the same TDP and complexity, and the transistor density can be increased by up to 2.7 times, (the "up to" depends on specific semiconductor structures). This is SMIC is only targeting - for now - low-power and low-cost devices with the N+1 nodes.

China Forecast to Represent 22% of the Foundry Market in 2020, says IC Insights

IC Insights recently released its September Update to the 2020 McClean Report that presented the second of a two-part analysis on the global IC foundry industry and included a look at the pure-play foundry market by region.

China was responsible for essentially all of the total pure-play foundry market increase in 2018. In 2019, the U.S./China trade war slowed China's economic growth but its foundry marketshare still increased by two percentage points to 21%. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 shutdown of China's economy earlier this year, China's share of the pure-play foundry market is forecast to be 22% in 2020, 17 percentage points greater than it registered in 2010 (Figure 1).

Chinese Game Streaming Market Consolidates with Merger of Huya & DouYu

Tencent is set to win big after it was announced that Chinese game streaming companies Huya and DouYu would be merging, Tencent owns significant stakes in each company and will hold 68% of voting shares after the merger is complete. This merger will significantly reduce marketing costs and see a combined monthly active user base of over 300 million accounting for an over 50% market share making it the largest game streaming venture in the Chinese market. Tencent will also integrate its Penguin e-Sports game streaming platform into the new Huya service to further consolidate its offerings. The merger will help Tencent to gain control over the entire gaming ecosystem in China allowing the firm to generate large eSports revenue and reach a larger audience for game distribution.

China Focuses on 3rd Generation Semiconductors in Aim for Self-Sufficiency

The People Republic of China has always released 5-year plans that have a goal of achieving something. And in the latest, 14th 5-year plan China has an eye on the semiconductor industry. Specifically, China wants to develop independence and self-sufficiency when it comes to semiconductors. With tensions between the US and China raising, it is a smart move to have domestic technology to rely on. The new plan starts next year, 2021, and ends in the year 2025. In that period, China will devote financial resources and human workforce that will hopefully enable its goal. The primary aim for this 14th plan seems to be 3rd generation semiconductor technology. What is meant by that is a technology like gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC). These technologies would be a nice addition to China's portfolio of semiconductors, so we should wait and see what comes out of it.

NVIDIA to Acquire Arm for $40 Billion, Creating World's Premier Computing Company for the Age of AI

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) today announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund (together, "SoftBank") in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP earnings per share.

The combination brings together NVIDIA's leading AI computing platform with Arm's vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

Samsung and SK Hynix to Impose Sanctions Against Huawei

Ever since the Trump administration imposed sanctions against Huawei to stop it from purchasing parts from third-party vendors to bypass the ban announced back in May, some vendors continued to supply the company. So it seems like some Korean manufacturers will be joining the doings of the US government, and apply restrictions to Huawei. According to the reports of South Korean media outlets, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix will be joining the efforts of the US government and the Trump administration to impose sanctions against Chinese technology giant - Huawei.

It is reported that on September 15th, both Samsung and SK Hynix will stop any shipments to Huawei, where Samsung already stopped efforts for creating any new shipments. SK Hynix is said to continue shipping DRAM and NAND Flash products until September 14th, a day before the new sanctions are applied. Until the 14th, Huawei will receive some additional chips from SK Hynix. And it is exactly SK Hynix who is said to be a big loser here. It is estimated that 41.2% of SK Hynix's H1 2020 revenue came from China, most of which was memory purchased for Huawei phones and tablets. If the company loses Huawei as a customer, it would mean that the revenue numbers will be notably lower.

COVID-19 Drives Rise in Global Fab Equipment Spending, SEMI Reports

Soaring pandemic-inspired demand for chips that power everything from communications and IT infrastructures to personal computing, gaming and healthcare electronics will drive an 8% increase in global fab equipment spending in 2020 and a 13% increase in 2021, SEMI announced today in its World Fab Forecast report. Rising demand for semiconductors for datacenter infrastructures and server storage along with the buildup of safety stock as U.S.-China trade tensions intensify are also contributing to this year's growth.

The bullish trend for overall fab equipment investments comes as the semiconductor industry recovers from a 9% decline in fab spending in 2019 and navigates a roller-coaster 2020 with actual and projected spending drops in the first and third quarters mixed with second- and fourth-quarter increases. See figure below:

Apple's Custom GPU is Reportedly Faster than Intel iGPU

When Apple announced their transition form Intel processors to Apple Silicon, we were left wondering how the silicon will perform and what characteristics will it bring with it. According to the latest report from The China Times, the Apple custom GPU found inside the new Apple Silicon will bring better performance and energy efficiency compared to Intel iGPU it replaces. The 5 nm GPU manufactured on TSMC's N5 semiconductor manufacturing node is supposedly codenamed "Lifuka" and it brings Apple's best to the table. Planned to power a 12-inch MacBook, the GPU will be paired with a custom CPU based on Arm ISA as well. The same chips powering iPhone and iPad devices will go into MacBook devices, with the TDP increased as MacBook will probably have much higher cooling capacity. The first Apple Silicon MacBook will come in H2 of 2021.
Here is the copy of a full report from The China Times below:

China is Working on Its Own GitHub Equivalent: Gitee

GitHub serves as a repository for collaborative work in software development, with numerous open-source projects available and worked on by numerous coders, would-be coders, and others. It has been a paragon for a more open internet, with more open standards, and allowing for actual community-based troubleshoot and development. And it does so for anyone around the world.

However, China's efforts to decouple from its dependencies on the Western world for anything technologically-related has been a reason for the country to invest not only on infrastructure and silicon manufacturing, but also in programming and all of the related branches of the technology tree. Recent events initiated by Microsoft (which now owns GitHub) via severing connections to its GitHub repositories for various US-sanctioned countries such as Iran, Syria and Crimea clearly showed what dependencies on foreign-guaranteed resources can do to technological development. China wants to have an answer to that.

Intel Accused of Infringing FinFET Patents of the Microelectronics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Today we are finding out that Intel has allegedly infringed FinFET patents of Microelectronics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. On July 28th, the patent review committee has heard an application that accuses Intel of violating a patent 201110240931.5 commonly referred to as FinFET patent. The patent dates back to 2011, and it comes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, mainly Microelectronics Institute. The Chinese patent holders are asking for as much as 200 million yuan, which roughly translates to 28,664,380 US dollars. Given that this patent infringement is a major one for Intel, it is sure that a company will be pursued extensively in court. All of the Intel's semiconductors use FinFET technology, and if this is true, the violation is rather big. For more in detail reading, please refer to the source which goes through the history of Intel and Microelectronics Institute patent violation filing.
Intel 3rd generation FInFETs

Arm China Goes Rogue, Ex-CEO Blocking the Business

Arm Ltd., owned by Softbank, has a division specially tailored for China, called Arm China. That division used to operate in Shenzen and it cooperated with Chinese customers. Today in a surprising turn of events, we have information that UK-based Arm Ltd. accuses Arm China ex-CEO of blocking its business, as the Chinese division goes rogue. The Arm China division used to have Mr. Allen Wu as its CEO, who was fired back in June. However, Mr. Wu has refused to cooperate and refused to step down from his position, remaining in control of the business without the consent of UK-based headquarters.

The situation has escalated to a point where Mr. Wu is "propagating false information and creating a culture of fear and confusion among Arm China employees," says Arm in a statement for Bloomberg. "Allen's focus on his own self-preservation has also put China semiconductor innovation at risk as he has attempted to block the critical communication and support our China partners require from Arm for ongoing and future chip designs." It is also said that Mr. Wu has refused to hold an event meant to connect Chinese chipmakers to Arm Ltd. He has hired personal security so no Arm Ltd. representatives can get to him. It is a waiting game to see how well Arm Ltd. can manage this situation, so we have to wait and see.
Return to Keyword Browsing