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MaxLinear to Acquire Silicon Motion, a major SSD controller manufacturer

MaxLinear, Inc. a leading provider of radio frequency (RF), analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits for broadband, connectivity, and infrastructure markets, and Silicon Motion, a global leader in NAND flash controllers for solid state storage devices, announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which MaxLinear will acquire Silicon Motion in a cash and stock transaction that values the combined company at $8 billion in enterprise value. In the merger, each American Depositary Share (ADS) of Silicon Motion, which represents four ordinary shares of Silicon Motion, will receive $93.54 in cash and 0.388 shares of MaxLinear common stock, for total per ADS consideration of $114.34 (based on MaxLinear's May 4, 2022 closing price). The strategic business combination is anticipated to drive transformational scale, create a diversified technology portfolio, significantly expand the combined company's total addressable market, and create a highly profitable cash generating semiconductor leader.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the combined company will have a highly diversified technology platform with strong positions across the broadband, connectivity, infrastructure, and storage end markets. The combination of MaxLinear's RF, analog/mixed-signal, and processing capabilities with Silicon Motion's market leading NAND flash controller technology completes a total technology stack which fully captures end-to-end platform functionality and accelerates the company's expansion into enterprise, consumer, and many other adjacent growth markets. Combined revenues are expected to be more than $2 billion annually and are supported by the technology breadth to address a total market opportunity of roughly $15 billion.

AMD Chair & CEO Dr. Lisa Su to Keynote at COMPUTEX 2022 on the AMD High-Performance Computing Experience

AITRA (Taiwan External Trade and Development Council) announced today that Dr. Lisa Su, Chair and CEO of AMD, is invited back to be the first speaker of the COMPUTEX 2022 CEO Keynote series. This digital keynote will take place on Monday, May 23, at 2:00 PM (UTC+8), with the keynote theme "AMD Advancing the High-Performance Computing Experience". Dr. Lisa Su is delighted and honored to join COMPUTEX again, marking her third occasion delivering a CEO Keynote at the pre-eminent global conference. "High-performance computing plays such an essential role in our daily lives, and AMD is committed to always pushing the envelope on performance and innovation. At this year's COMPUTEX, AMD will share how we accelerate innovation with our broad ecosystem of partners," said Dr. Lisa Su.

AMD is the high-performance and adaptive computing leader with the industry's strongest portfolio of leadership computing, graphics, FPGAs and adaptive SoC products. At the CEO Keynote, Dr. Lisa Su will share the AMD vision to advance the PC experience through next generation mobile and desktop PC innovations. Combining cutting-edge CPUs, GPUs and software, AMD and its ecosystem partners will show breakthrough performance and leadership experiences for gamers, enthusiasts and creators. COMPUTEX 2022 will be grandly held at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1 from May 24 to May 27, 2022. In addition, TAITRA will simultaneously hold an online exhibition called COMPUTEX DigitalGo (May 24 to June 6). Meanwhile, Taiwan External Trade Development Council will organize COMPUTEX CEO Keynotes & Forum, where CEOs and senior executives from global tech giants share their insights.

Localization of Chip Manufacturing Rising; Taiwan to Control 48% of Global Foundry Capacity in 2022, Says TrendForce

According to TrendForce, Taiwan is crucial to the global semiconductor supply chain, accounting for a 26% market share of semiconductor revenue in 2021, ranking second in the world. Its IC design and packaging & testing industries also account for a 27% and 20% global market share, ranking second and first in the world, respectively. Firmly in the pole position, Taiwan accounts for 64% of the foundry market. In addition to TSMC possessing the most advanced process technology at this stage, foundries including UMC, Vanguard, and PSMC also have their own process advantages. Under the looming shadow of chip shortages caused by the pandemic and geopolitical turmoil in the past two years, various governments have quickly awakened to the fact that localization of chip manufacturing is necessary to avoid being cut off from chip acquisition due to logistics difficulties or cross-border shipment bans. Taiwanese companies have ridden this wave to become partners that governments around the world are eager to invite to set up factories in various locales.

Thermalright Launches Bending Corrector Frame for Alder Lake Processors

Taiwanese company Thermalright has recently launched the LGA1700-BCF (Bending Corrector Frame) to mitigate the risk of bending and warping with 12th Generation Intel Alder Lake processors. Intel has previously disclosed that their Alder Lake processors could exhibit mild warping as a result of changes to the integrated heatspreader (IHS) design but that the processors still performed within specification. This new product from Thermalright aims to prevent this warping despite Intel advising that any 3rd party modifications could void the warranty for Alder Lake processors. The Thermalright LGA1700-BCF is now available to purchase for 39 RMB (6 USD) in red and silver color options with support for H610, B660, and Z690 motherboards.

TSMC Founder Says Growing Domestic US Chip Production is Wasteful and Expensive

According to an article over on The Register, the TSMC founder, Morris Chang, isn't overly impressed by US efforts to grow its domestic chip production. In a podcast hosted by the Brookings Institution, Morris Chang said that the US' attempt to grow its domestic chip production will be "a wasteful, expensive exercise in futility." The reason behind his comment is that he believes the US is lacking the talent to work in the fabs, or possibly the willingness to work triple-shift to keep the fabs running 24/7, unlike the Taiwanese. Furthermore, he states that the US can't compete in terms of cost, as he claims it's 50 percent more expensive to manufacture chips in the US compared to Taiwan.

It should be pointed out that Morris Chang is no longer involved with the day to day operations at TSMC and the above are just his opinion. When questioned about why TSMC is building a fab in Arizona, Chang said that TSMC decided to do it because they were urged to do so by the US government. He also believes that despite government subsidies, the US is unlikely to become self-sufficient when it comes to semiconductors, especially as the cost per chip will be much higher, which will make it hard to compete internationally. However, he does mention that if the PRC decided to start a war with Taiwan, then the bet is likely to pay off for the US, but there are obviously other problems that such a situation would bring as well. Chang also praises US chip design talent and says that Taiwan has very little talent in comparison and that TSMC has none. However, the latter doesn't seem to be entirely true, based on the fact that TSMC is helping its customers to optimise their designs for the various production nodes at TSMC. For those interested, the podcast can be found below.

Pincered by Russian-Ukrainian War and Inflation, DRAM Price Drop Forecast to Continue in 2Q22 by 0-5%, Says TrendForce

According to TrendForce forecasts, average overall DRAM pricing in 2Q22 will drop by approximately 0~5%, due to marginally higher buyer and seller inventories coupled with the demand for products such as PCs, laptops, and smart phones being influenced in the short-term by the Russian-Ukrainian war and high inflation weakening consumer purchasing power. At present, the only remaining source of demand is on the server side, so overall DRAM stocks will remain oversupplied in 2Q22.

In terms of PC DRAM, PC OEMs are adopting a conservative stocking strategy for orders in 2Q22 due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, which may continue affecting orders during peak season in 2H22, and revising 2022 shipment targets downwards. Additionally, the overall supply of bits is still growing, so the PC DRAM price slump in 2Q22 will further expand to 3~8% and may continue to deteriorate.

Taiwan Rocked by 6.6 Earthquake, Causes no Serious Production Issues

At 01:41 in the morning of the 23rd of March, the southeast coast of Taiwan experienced a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in the ocean outside Hualien County. The quake was felt island wide and some of the factories that operate 24/7 evacuated staff as a precautionary measure. All affected companies claim to have resumed operations later the same day, after checking that no damage was caused by the quake. The southeast of Taiwan kept being hit by minor quakes for the rest of the night and day, with some being felt across the island.

TSMC and UMC both claimed that the quake had a minimal effect on production, although production equipment had gone into self-protect mode, which was largely the reason for no production issues taking place. Powerchip Semiconductor on the other hand had a two to three hour production loss and Vanguard International Semiconductor was reported saying they were checking for defects in their production. AU Optronics and Innolux were also saved by their various safeguards against earthquake damage and both companies were expecting to return to normal production shortly. Other companies are said to have reported issues with their production equipment, but no damage to the actual products they produce.

TSMC's Largest Customer Accounts for 26 Percent of Revenues

You're not going to get an award for guessing who TSMC's biggest customer is, but based on details in TSMC's latest earnings report, its biggest customer stands for no less than 26 percent of TSMC's total revenue. That's up a whole percentage in 2021 over 2020 and as you most likely have already guessed, that company should be Apple. TSMC doesn't, for obvious reasons, reveal who their customers are, but it's no secret that Apple is spending a lot of money with the company. TSMC had a consolidated revenue of NT$1.587 trillion (US$55.73 billion) in 2021, or up 18.53 percent from 2020. The second largest source of revenue for TSMC might surprise some, at least based on the kind of information that the usual analysts tend to claim in their reports.

Although second place in terms of revenue only accounts for another 10 percent of TSMC's total revenue, we're still looking at some serious money here. However, as both Qualcomm and NVIDIA departed for Samsung in 2021, second place is said to be taken by AMD, which might not have been everyone's first guess. Unsurprisingly, 64 percent of TSMC's revenue is coming from companies in the USA, with Taiwan being the second largest source of revenue at 12.8 percent. As far as the PRC is concerned, revenue is said to be down by 29.6 percent and only makes up 10.3 percent of TSMC's revenues for 2021. This is largely due to the US sanctions against Huawei, according to the Taipei Times. The 7 nm node is still the big money maker for TSMC, which pulled in over NT$440 billion, followed by the 5 nm node at over NT$262 billion. However, the 5 nm node revenue grew by 188 percent in 2021, while the 7 nm node only had a revenue growth of 11.5 percent.

TrendForce: DDR3 Consumer DRAM Prices Expected to Rise by 0-5% in 2Q22 Due to Rapidly Shrinking Supply

Intel and AMD will be releasing new CPUs that support DDR5 DRAM solutions for PCs and servers this year. In response, the DRAM industry led by South Korean suppliers is developing solutions to complement the arrival of the new CPUs. In the midst of the gradual shift to DDR5, DRAM suppliers will also scale back the supply of DDR3 solutions, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. With Korean suppliers accelerating their withdrawal from DDR3 production, Taiwanese suppliers yet to kick off mass production using newly installed capacities, and Chinese suppliers falling short of their expected yield rate, the global supply of DDR3 solutions will undergo an impending decline. With respect to the demand side, however, not only has the supply of networking chips been ramping up, but material shortage issues are also gradually easing. As such, buyers are now procuring DDR3 solutions ahead of time, resulting in a tight supply and demand situation in the DDR3 market. TrendForce therefore expects DDR3 DRAM prices to recover from a bearish first quarter and undergo a 0-5% QoQ increase in 2Q22.

Raijintek Introduces OPHION ELITE SFF Chassis

Raijintek, a Taiwanese maker of computer cases, coolers, and power supplies, added another entry to its family of small form-factor issues. Today, the company presents the OPHION ELITE, which is a Mini-ITX enclosure designed to fit a wide selection of hardware. It enables users to store compelling hardware with adequate cooling and have peace of mind usage. OPHION ELITE supports Mini-ITX motherboards, a maximum of 7 fans, including two 120/140 fans on the side (240 mm radiator), one 120 fan at the bottom (preinstalled), two 120/140 fans at the front, one 120/140 fan at the rear, and one 80 fan on the top. It boasts full-size VGA cards (320 mm/3 slots), compatibility, and regular ATX / EPS PSUs support. There is room for three 3.5-inch HDD drives or five 2.5-inch HDD/SSD drives. For more information, check out the company website.
Here is the product video showcased on the Raijintek YouTube channel.

90-minute Power Outage in Taiwan Threatens Chip Manufacturing

A major power-outage affected regions of Taiwan with semiconductor manufacturing bases, earlier this morning (March 3, 2022). A malfunction with a power-station caused a sudden drop in power-generation, triggering power-grid failures, and resulting in blackouts lasting around 90 minutes. This may not seem like much, but for a semiconductor manufacturing facility with limited power back-up and time-critical and power-critical processes, 90 minutes is an eternity.

Taiwan News reports that a Taipower plant in Kaohsiung suffered a malfunction with steam leaks in the turbine room, triggering an emergency shutdown. This caused a 10.5 MW drop in supply. Such sudden supply-demand changes can cause AC frequency to fall out of the safe range, and transmission equipment in switch-yards are designed to automatically trip (to protect end-user equipment). A cascading power outage was seen in Wenshan District, Neihu District, Da'an District, and Xinyi District. In New Taipei City, Yonghe District, Banqiao District, and New Taipei Industrial Park. Various semiconductor-manufacturing companies are yet to report how this power-loss affected them.

Update 07:02 UTC: In the wake of this power-outage, major semiconductor companies put out their initial assessments of how this affected them.

Intel, AMD, Arm, and Others, Collaborate on UCIe (Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express)

Intel, along with Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE), AMD, Arm, Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft Corp., Qualcomm Inc., Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., have announced the establishment of an industry consortium to promote an open die-to-die interconnect standard called Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe). Building on its work on the open Advanced Interface Bus (AIB), Intel developed the UCIe standard and donated it to the group of founding members as an open specification that defines the interconnect between chiplets within a package, enabling an open chiplet ecosystem and ubiquitous interconnect at the package level.

"Integrating multiple chiplets in a package to deliver product innovation across market segments is the future of the semiconductor industry and a pillar of Intel's IDM 2.0 strategy," said Sandra Rivera, executive vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Artificial Intelligence Group at Intel. "Critical to this future is an open chiplet ecosystem with key industry partners working together under the UCIe Consortium toward a common goal of transforming the way the industry delivers new products and continues to deliver on the promise of Moore's Law."

Schenker (XMG) Predicts New Laptop Delays Due to Component Shortages

China is reacting to new outbreaks of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus with partial lockdowns. This could further delay the availability of laptops with 12th Gen Intel Core processors and NVIDIA's Ti graphics cards, which debuted at the beginning of the year. The first factories have already been closed in Suzhou in the east of the country. Supply chain and logistics bottlenecks, a shortage of certain chip types and price increases are already on the horizon.

TSMC Having Problems in Arizona, Increasing Investment in Japan

Things are apparently anything but smooth for TSMC when it comes to its US expansion in Arizona, as reports claim that the construction of its new fab in Arizona is going to be late. This is largely due to labour shortages caused by the pandemic, which in turn is set to delay the entire project. As such, it's being suggested that the installation of manufacturing equipment will be delayed from late Q3 this year until Q1 next year. The knock on effect of this is that production is unlikely to start in Q1 2024 and will most likely be delayed to sometime in the second half of 2024. As a comparison, TSMC normally spends two years to build and configure their fabs in Asia, whereas their first expansion outside of Asia is set to take at least two and a half years.

Another issue is said to be related to finding the right staff, since not only TSMC, but also Intel is looking for competent staff in Arizona. Intel might be the winner here, as TSMC is said to already have complaints from some of its employees, especially from western countries. The main complaint is about excessively long meetings that can add several hours to their workdays. Other complaints revolve around long working hours, as the company employs 12 hour shifts for its engineers and they are often on call over weekends. The company has apparently become increasingly demanding when it comes to its workforce, although TSMC has apparently improved in some ways, based on changes to the Taiwanese labour laws.

TSMC Reports Record January Revenues

Based on TSMC's official January 2022 revenue report, it looks like the company is set for another great year. Month-on-month revenues are up by 10.8 percent compared to December of last year and year-on-year revenues are up a whopping 35.8 percent. In actual money, that corresponds to a revenue of NT$172.18 billion, or roughly US$6.18 billion, so we're not talking about small potatoes here.

TSMC is forecasting a growth in sales of between 25 to 29 percent this year, assuming they can continue to deliver as expected to their customers. The first quarter sales are expected to land between US$16.6 and 17.2 billion, or around a 7.4 percent increase compared to last quarter. Its closest competitor in Taiwan also announced record profits, although at a mere NT$20.47 billion or about US$735 million. This is a month-to-month increase of a mere 0.95 percent, but an annual increase of a healthy 31.83 percent. UMC is expecting to be operating at full capacity for the remainder of this year, although no additional production capacity is expected. The company is said to be increasing its prices by five percent this year.

GlobalWafers Siltronic Deal Falls Through at the Last Hurdle

In a surprising outcome, Taiwanese GlobalWafers purchase of German Siltronic has failed, due to the German Ministry for Economic Affairs having failed to approve the deal. The €4.35 billion deal had been approved by all other regulators globally, but the German Ministry for Economic Affairs claims that they didn't have enough time to go over the review process locally by the deadline that was set. It appears that they're blaming their counterparts in the PRC for having been too slow in their approval process, as the Germans wanted to go over the Chinese approval, before committing to their own approval.

The deal might not be dead in the water though, but it looks like GlobalWafers is going to have to make a new offer and start the entire process over again. Had the deal gone through, GlobalWafers would've become the world's second largest 300 mm silicon wafer producer, behind Japanese Shin-Etsu, overtaking Sumco, which is also based out of Japan. GlobalWafers already owns a majority stake in Siltronic, but the question now is if GlobalWafers will maintain that share, or look to invest elsewhere. One option on the table for GlobalWafers is apparently the US, but at the same time, the majority shareholder of Siltronic wants to sell, ideally to GlobalWafers. Although it's only speculation at this point, it has been suggested that the German government wanted to retain Siltronic as a local company, especially due to growing interest by the EU to expand foundry type businesses in Europe. GlobalWafers is said to make an announcement by the end of this week as to whether they will continue with the Siltronic purchase or not.

TSMC and UMC Implement Work From Home Rules Due to Spread of Omicron Variant in Taiwan

Up until a few weeks ago, Taiwan had been largely spared from local spread of the Coronavirus, but the Omicron variant has bypassed the defences that were set up to prevent the virus from spreading. Although the amount of verified cases are still comparatively very low, there's a cluster of over 100 cases confirmed in a free trade zone near the Taoyuan airport, which has so far mostly affected Askey, but other companies in the same free trade zone have had their staff tested and are waiting for the results. As a preventive measure, TSMC, UMC and other companies are already implementing working from home rules for staff that aren't critical to production.

TSMC already started what they call epidemic prevention measures last week and called off unnecessary face to face meetings, paused international business trips and limited local business trips, among other things. TSMC has also stopped all regional shuttle buses between its various locations in Taiwan, as well as local shuttle buses between plants, to help prevent any potential spread. The company is also said to have closed most of its staff facilities and even suspended its Chinese New Year party, which is one of the highlights for many workers in Taiwan, largely due to the giveaways that the companies are doing, in addition to any bonuses that are being paid around this time of the year. Time will tell if Taiwan can continue to stave off the virus, but to date, 73.2 percent of the population has taken two shots of vaccine, although the government is already pushing for a third dose, largely because most people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine which is considered as giving less protection against the Omicron variant. It should be noted that neither TSMC or UMC have any chip plats in Taoyuan, but TSMC does have a backed fab at the opposite end of Taoyuan.

Taiwan Aims to Become Self-sufficient in Semiconductor Equipment

The Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-Wen, told local media that she believes that Taiwan can become self-sufficient when it comes to semiconductor equipment, although this is obviously not something that would happen overnight. A large part of why this has even been considered seems to be the current pandemic, as although Taiwan might not have suffered much from the pandemic itself, the nation has suffered when it comes to imports, as just in time production and delivery systems have broken down, which has affected most industries in Taiwan.

In 2021 Taiwanese semiconductor companies invested some NT$1 trillion (~US$36.3 billion), of which 70 percent was in equipment, according to the President, with around NT$600 billion (~US$21.8 billion) of that money being towards imported equipment. It also shows that local semiconductor equipment makers have a lot of work to do, especially if they're intending to catch up with their international competitors. The President also mentioned that the local semiconductor equipment industry grew by 28.7 percent in 2021, although it was still relatively small at NT$116.7 billion (~US$4.2 billion), but she was quoted as saying that she's 100 percent certain that Taiwan has the ability to make all semiconductor equipment the [local] industry needs.

Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Takes Home Close to 72% of Science Park Revenue

Much of the technology industry in Taiwan is located in various science parks located around the island and the three largest scientific parks in Taiwan raked home US$127 billion in sales last year, or an increase of 23.58 percent compared to 2020. The semiconductor industry accounted for nearly 72 percent of that, although, the fact that the three largest science parks are home to companies like TSMC, UMC, MediaTek, Kingston, Realtek, AU Optronics, Winbond, Innolux and many others, so it's not surprising that the largest share of revenue is coming from here. It should be noted that the 72 percent figure is only for the first three quarters of 2021, so it might end up being even higher.

The numbers are based on data from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and after semiconductors, optoelectronics were bringing in the highest revenue streams with an increase of over 29 percent compared to 2020, to a sales value of almost US$18 billion, which is truly dwarfed when compared to the semiconductor sales. In third place was sales of computers and computer accessories which accounted for a comparatively measly US$4.78 billion, or an increase of 13.53 percent. The trend is expected to continue in 2022, assuming Taiwan isn't affected by the pandemic.

Heterogeneous Integration Chip-let System Package Alliance Established to Expand Market Opportunities

The development of AI and 5G has boosted the demand for high-end semiconductor chips. In order to enhance critical capabilities of Taiwan's chip industry for this emerging market, the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), Taiwan, has supported ITRI to establish the Heterogeneous Integration Chip-let System Package Alliance (Hi-CHIP). This alliance will help create a complete ecosystem covering package design, testing and verification, and pilot production, which will achieve the goal of supply chain localization and expand business opportunities.

According to DoIT, the global semiconductor industry is keen to develop heterogeneous chip integration processes, yet there is no effective solution to realize the high-mix low-volume manufacturing required. The Hi-CHIP alliance will provide a trial production platform to assist relevant industry players in accelerating time-to-market.

3Q21 Revenue of Global Top 10 IC Design (Fabless) Companies Reach US$33.7 billion, Four Taiwanese Companies Make List, Says TrendForce

The semicondustor market in 3Q21 is red hot with total revenue of the global top 10 IC design (fabless) companies reaching US$33.7 billion or 45% growth YoY, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In addition to the Taiwanese companies MediaTek, Novatek, and Realtek already on the list, Himax comes in at number ten, bringing the total number of Taiwanese companies on the top 10 list to 4.

Qualcomm has been buoyed by continuing robust demand for 5G mobile phones form major mobile phone manufacturers with further revenue growth from its processor and radio frequency front end (RFFE) departments. Qualcomm's IoT department benefited from strong demand in the consumer electronics, edge networking, and industrial sectors, posting revenue growth of 66% YoY, highest among Qualcomm departments. In turn, this drove Qualcomm's total 3Q21 revenue to US$7.7 billion, 56% growth YoY, and ranking first in the world.

TSMC Wants Payment in Advance to Give Intel Access to 3 Nanometre Node

According to reports out of Taiwan, Intel's meeting with TSMC might not have ended up in favour of Intel, as TSMC has apparently asked Intel to pay up a deposit in advance to get access to its upcoming 3 nanometer node. This is unlikely to be what Intel had hoped for, but at the same time, the 3 nanometer node is likely to be popular among many of TSMC's customers, unless the cost becomes prohibitive.

Intel was apparently hoping to be able to get a dedicated production line, much in the way of what Apple has at TSMC, but it seems like this is going to cost and the question is if Intel is willing to pay or not. The reason for a dedicated production line could also come down to Intel wanting to make chips at TSMC using Intel specific tricks of the trade, that Intel doesn't want TSMC or its competitors to get too much insight into. Time will tell what will come out of this meeting between the two semiconductor giants, but it seems like Gelsinger has changed his mind about Taiwan, as he said that "Intel would continue to invest in Taiwan".

Report: Intel to Become One of the Three Largest TSMC Clients in 2023

Intel and TSMC are positioning themselves as two competing foundries for a significant period. However, as the difficulties in semiconductor manufacturing rise, the collaboration of the two seems inevitable. Not because Intel is eyeing TSMC's clients, but because of the race to produce the most minor and best possible semiconductor node. We already know that Intel plans to use some of TSMC's nodes for its Ponte Vecchio accelerator that contains 47 tiles. However, we didn't realize just how big the contract between the two companies was. According to the latest report from DigiTimes, Intel is supposed to become one of the top three clients at TSMC.

As the report notes, the collaboration should extend to at least TSMC's 2 nm node, expected in 2025. After that, the state of semiconductors is unknown. Intel has a solid chance to be in the top three customers in 2023 and become one of the primary sources of profit for the Taiwanese giant. We are excited to see how this prediction plays out and hope to hear more from both in the future.

Intel CEO Planning Trip to Taiwan and Malaysia, Meeting with TSMC

Pat Gelsinger is planning a trip to Asia next week, where he'll stop over in Taiwan and Malaysia according to Bloomberg. There he's apparently planning to hold talks that show that manufacturing in Asia is a key part to his efforts of turning Intel's fortunes around. It's said that he'll also be meeting with TSMC.

This will be Gelsinger's first trip to Asia as Intel's CEO, largely due to the pandemic, although outside of meeting with TSMC, his schedule wasn't further mentioned, but it's likely he will be meeting with key partners and suppliers. Intel does some of its chip packaging in Malaysia, on the island of Penang to be more specific, where plants have been temporarily closed due to the pandemic, which in turn has hurt supply for the tech companies located there.

UMC is Feeling the Pressure from Chinese Foundries

The chip shortage discussion has been very focused on TSMC for some reason and although the company is without a doubt the world's leading foundry, the company is making its living from being a cutting edge foundry, whereas much of the components that there's a shortage of are made on far older nodes at many different foundries. Taiwanese UMC is one of the foundries that makes many of the automotive semiconductors, as well as key components when it comes to power regulation and is considered the world's third largest foundry.

Until 2018, UMC was competing head on with TSMC, although the company was always about a node behind TSMC, which led to a management team decision to slow down its node transition and instead to focus on speciality technologies. The company has done well in this niche, with a revenue of about US$6.2 billion in 2020. However, UMC is starting to feel the pressure from its competitors in China, as the PRC government is making a push for local production of local IC designs.
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