[News] IC Design Chip Tape-Out Expected to Rebound at the Earliest Next Year

2023-08-21 Semiconductors editor

According to Taiwan’s Economic Daily, the consumer market is experiencing starkly low demand, causing IC design firms primarily relying on mature processes, such as those in driver ICs, power management ICs, CMOS image sensors (CIS), and microcontrollers (MCUs), to adopt a notably cautious approach in placing orders. Some manufacturers are hesitating to place orders due to persistently high inventory levels.

The industry consensus is that IC design companies are expected to increase their orders in mature processes, with the earliest effects possibly emerging by 2024, implying that the mature process market conditions might not improve significantly until the end of this year.

The consumer market entered a period of economic downturn in the latter half of last year, which in turn affected industries such as PCs, smartphones, and networking. This not only led to a surge in inventory levels for IC design firms but also significantly curtailed the momentum for chip tape-out. Looking ahead to the second half of this year, while inventory levels across various sectors have largely returned to normal, chip tape-out for Q3 have notably declined compared to Q2.

In particular, demand for high-speed I/O in the PC sector and Board Management Controller for data centers remains notably weak. The supply chain indicates that PC demand for the second quarter, driven by advanced stocking, has dampened the typical peak season effect for the latter half of the year. This trend is evident across desktop PCs, laptops, and Chromebooks.”

As for the smartphone sector, after various research institutions revised down this year’s smartphone market size, the supply chain’s chip tape-out momentum has cooled down significantly. Only Qualcomm has increased its tape-out momentum to semiconductor foundries in the first half of the year, while MediaTek continues to adhere to a conservative strategy as of now.

(Photo credit: SMIC)