Smith Market Blog

Earth Week Thoughts Turn to Environmental Risk Management for the Semiconductor Supply Chain

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Written by Mark Bollinger on Friday, 17 April 2015

Risk management is a staple of good supply chain and business strategies, and disruptions are, unfortunately, part and parcel of the global semiconductor supply chain, at some point affecting each of us. Environmental issues have affected weather patterns, intensifying extremes and forcing us to deal with some serious issues and risks – presently the building drought issues in Taiwan, western United States, and Brazil are on the top of global concerns across industries. For the semiconductor industry, these are serious risks to our supply chain, particularly for chip manufacturing which is a water intensive process. Next week, I will be contributing to an Earth Week series for Electronics Purchasing Strategies looking at these issues and strategic considerations to best prepare for disruptions. The following is a preview of the discussions.

Read more: Earth Week Thoughts Turn to Environmental Risk Management for the Semiconductor Supply Chain

   

Consolidations and Competition Drive New Collaborations and Global Service Demands

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Tuesday, 14 April 2015

One sign of a healthy industry, beyond volume sales and revenue, is positive activity within and along the supply chain, notably consolidations (Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)) that strengthen and extend the core competencies of businesses for greater market reach. Certainly the past few quarters have evidenced this trend of M&A and market extensions which is confirmed in the results from our Annual Smith Global Supply Chain Survey (available soon as Free Download from Smithweb.com) that relate these challenges and the new strategic partnerships being formed.

Read more: Consolidations and Competition Drive New Collaborations and Global Service Demands

   

Semi Growth Strong with Embedded ICs and Sensors for IoT and Wearables Drivers

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Thursday, 09 April 2015

The expansion of IoT and the wearable device market has significantly added not only to general semiconductor growth but, especially, to the demand for embedded ICs and sensors, as smart, connected devices are the demand drivers across products and markets, including the key growth areas of health, medical, industrial, and consumer. With this growth has come the realities of economic demand trends, increased volume which has pushed down average selling prices (ASPs) and more price declines in the face of volume increases is expected, as IC Insights recently forecasted.

Read more: Semi Growth Strong with Embedded ICs and Sensors for IoT and Wearables Drivers

   

Smartwatch Horse Race to Begin on Friday: The Apple v. Samsung battle expands

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Tuesday, 07 April 2015

Since both Samsung and Apple's public announcements and Samsung's release of their respective smartwatch strategies, the media has been awash with discussion about whether these devices will be flops or major CE hits. Until the numbers actually come in, all we can add is more speculation, but let's look at what's been successful in the market thus far and where IoT is taking us.

Read more: Smartwatch Horse Race to Begin on Friday: The Apple v. Samsung battle expands

   

Chipmaker Consolidations Continue with Intel & Altera on the Heels of NXP & Freescale

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Wednesday, 01 April 2015

Recent news of major chipmaker consolidations should dispel any doubt about the expanding and shifting nature of the semiconductor and electronics industry. On the heels of the news of NXP's moves to acquire Freescale, valued at roughly US $16.7 billion, we now have, at the end of March, the news that Intel is moving to acquire Altera, valued at US $10.5 billion. These two March deals follow the earlier news of Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion, Lattice Semiconductor and Silicon Image, Qualcomm and CSR, as well as Infineon and International Rectifier, among others in 2014. Importantly, as Bloomberg also comments, these strategic acquisitions will propel more moves by other chipmakers to ensure their market positions and capabilities through acquisitions this year.

Read more: Chipmaker Consolidations Continue with Intel & Altera on the Heels of NXP & Freescale

   

TSMC and Samsung - Capacity constraints and node challenges affecting chip manufacturing and supply

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Thursday, 26 March 2015

Supply and demand is the constant balance that we watch. Sitting where we do along the global supply chain, as distributors, puts us squarely in the middle of this challenge. As a result, we are keenly aware of when the (unfortunately inevitable) mismatch in supply/demand happens. Presently, we see increased challenges  now as nodes continue to shrink, as mobile chip solutions become more complex and require more steps in manufacturing, and as Industrial IoT (IIoT), which includes automotive, continues to quickly ramp up and demand older process nodes. Each of these events are adding constraints to an already tightening supply due to the reduction in the number of fabs and complexities in chip manufacturing processes. A recent article in Semiconductor Engineering explains these challenges very well. One of the outcomes of the growing manufacturing processes that we see are pricing fluctuations, additional supply constraints and shortages, and challenges to come due to interoperability issues that will lead to constraints down the road.

Read more: TSMC and Samsung - Capacity constraints and node challenges affecting chip manufacturing and supply

   

3D NAND Quickly Moving Through Adolescence

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Written by Brent Topa, International Account Representative on Tuesday, 24 March 2015

1Q15 is quickly coming to a close and it is hard to believe there are only nine months left in 2015. Keeping pace with the speed of this year is the continual progress of the 3D NAND flash sector. We all know that Samsung led the way as the first company to begin mass production of the new 3D chips. Micron is finally jumping in this month with the announcement  of their first 3D samples coming soon. Together with Intel, Micron is planning to offer commercial production of their chips in 2H15 using a newly-expanded NAND fab in Singapore. The new space will allow for gradual expansion depending on market feedback plus opportunities to manufacture other memory and storage products.

Read more: 3D NAND Quickly Moving Through Adolescence

   

SXSW 2015 and Electronica China: Strong momentum driven by innovation & competition

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Thursday, 19 March 2015

This week closes two innovative trade shows for the industry: South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas and Electronica China 2015 in Shanghai, China. While these are very different events that Smith & Associates' teams have attended, they highlight an important and central characteristic of the 2015 year to date: innovation and competition that are driving interest in the semiconductor and electronics industry are exceptionally strong and growing. From these events, our local teams have reported back on the number of new markets that are gaining momentum and with them the need for increased services along with new supply chain connections that are required to support innovation and improve margins in an ever-increasing competitive arena.

Read more: SXSW 2015 and Electronica China: Strong momentum driven by innovation & competition

   

Electronica China 2015: Regional market expansions are 2015+ story

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The positive market movement we are seeing for the semiconductor and electronics industry rests not just on the proliferation of the smart devices that are extending growth but importantly the regional expansion of growth across various markets and sectors including consumer, industrial, medical, automotive, automation, networks and servers. At Electronica China 2015, March 17-19 in Shanghai, regional leaders and innovators are gathering to collaborate in order to realize the growth potential that is possible this year and forward. Electronica China, now in its 13th year, has truly matured, much as the regional Asian market in which it is located, as our Smith team at Booth 3172 explains.

Read more: Electronica China 2015: Regional market expansions are 2015+ story

   

Data Support World Semiconductor Growth Continues Across Many Strong Markets

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Written by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D. on Thursday, 12 March 2015

Moving into the second quarter (2Q15), there's good reason to continue the optimism for 2015 growth, and impressively, that outlook covers a wide swath of chip markets, as confirmed by leading industry and data analysts. The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) released today their final 2014 market figures confirming the growth of 9.9% for the year over 2013, and expectations for continued growth in 2015 and 2016.

Read more: Data Support World Semiconductor Growth Continues Across Many Strong Markets

   

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