While major OEMs such as Apple and Samsung prepare to release their new notebook computers, tablets, and TVs that are fully equipped with Mini LED backlights this year, various companies in the LED supply chain began procuring Mini LED chips ahead of time in 4Q20, leading to an explosive demand growth for these chips, which in turn crowded out the LED suppliers’ production capacities for other mainstream LED chips, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Given this structure-wide shortage of LED chips, certain LED chip suppliers have been raising the quotes on chips supplied to non-core clients and chips with relatively low gross margins. This price hike is estimated at about 5-10%.
Intel has outsourced the production of about 15-20% of its non-CPU chips, with most of the wafer starts for these products assigned to TSMC and UMC, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. While the company is planning to kick off mass production of Core i3 CPUs at TSMC’s 5nm node in 2H21, Intel’s mid-range and high-end CPUs are projected to enter mass production using TSMC’s 3nm node in 2H22.
Given the forecasted recovery of the smartphone market and the corresponding rise in TDDI IC demand throughout this year, total smartphone TDDI IC shipment for 2021 is expected to reach 760 million units, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Tablet TDDI IC shipment for 2021, on the other hand, is expected to reach 95 million units.
The stay-at-home economy generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in persistent demand for IT products such as monitors, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. However, the shortage of monitor panels has been increasingly severe since non-IT panels have been occupying most of manufacturers’ production capacities, while foundries’ wafer capacities dedicated to IC products have also become increasingly strained. Furthermore, Samsung Display (SDC) is set to shutter its panel manufacturing operations within 2021, during which its monitor panel market share is expected to drop to 1% from last year’s 12%, and as the ownership of CEC Panda’s Gen 8.5 production line transfers to BOE, other panel suppliers are likely to benefit from these events.
An abnormality which caused a power outage in the GIS (gas insulated switchgear) equipment at UMC’s facilities on Lixing Road, Hsinchu, resulted in a voltage drop for other fabs located in the surrounding area, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Affected foundries include TSMC, Vanguard, and PSMC. However, TrendForce’s investigations also reveal that, apart from the temporary power outage at UMC’s Lixing fabs, facilities operated by TSMC, Vanguard, and PSMC experienced only a temporary voltage drop. While the uninterruptible power supplies of the facilities kicked in shortly after the outage, normal manufacturing operations resumed following certain equipment crashes that occurred during the transition from one power source to another. UMC’s Lixing fab has currently resumed operations after about four hours of power outage, and TrendForce expects the impact from this incident to be minimal.