[News] PS5 Eyes on a Record-Breaking Sales of 25 Million Units This Fiscal Year

Sony’s gaming console, the PlayStation 5, is showing robust sales momentum. According to Reuters, a senior games executive stated that the cumulative sales of PS5 have surpassed 50 million units, and this year’s “Black Friday” sales performance has also set an all-time record.

The entertainment giant is now counting on the PS5 to continue its strong performance during the year-end shopping season, aiming to achieve the record-breaking goal of 25 million units sold by the end of this fiscal year in March.

Eric Lempel, Senior Vice President for Global Marketing, Sales, and Business Operations at Sony Interactive Entertainment stated as follows, “Given the momentum we’ve had in November and a lot of what we’re seeing in December, just in general we’re feeling very good about sales overall.”

Lempel further indicated in an interview that, “We’ve done some good promotions this year. I will say we’ve done fewer promotions at this stage of the lifecycle than we ever have in the history of the company.”

Despite recent discussions in the gaming industry focusing on the future of gaming consoles due to advancements in cloud technology, freeing games from reliance on bulky hardware, current gaming consoles continue to attract players.

In the initial release phase, the PS5 faced challenges due to disruptions in the supply chain, impacting sales. Nevertheless, this issue has since eased, and the positive reception of the game “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2,” launched on October 20th, is contributing to the increased momentum in the sales of this gaming console.

In the coming months, key games like “The Last of Us Part II Remake” and the timed exclusive “Final Fantasy VII: Remake” will be sequentially released on the PlayStation platform in January and February.

As for Sony’s competitor, Nintendo’s Switch console, despite being on the market for several years, has maintained strong sales this year, driven by the release of new games such as “The Legend of Zelda” series.

(Photo credit: Sony)

Please note that this article cites information from Reuters


[News] China’s Big Fund Drive Changxin Xinqiao towards 3-Year Memory Chip Mass Production

Following China’s Big Fund’s substantial $14.56 billion RMB investment in Changxin Xinqiao Storage Technology, a memory chip manufacturer, at the end of October, there are now reports of an additional $39 billion RMB injection.

China is actively building a domestic semiconductor supply chain, and according to Nikkei Asia, Changxin Xinqiao is set to utilize this funding to expedite the construction of its facility in Hefei, Anhui province, with the aim of achieving mass production within a span of three years.

Hefei is also the location of a production facility for ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT), a major semiconductor manufacturer specializing in DRAM production. Changxin Xinqiao shares some shareholders and its general manager with CXMT, according to Tianyancha.

Chinese media points out that Changxin Xinqiao has ambitious plans to produce DRAM chips in Hefei, destined for use in computers and a wide array of electronic devices. At present, Changxin Xinqiao has initiated the tendering process for new facility equipment and is poised to accelerate procurement and related procedures using the recently acquired funding.

With support from the Hefei City government, Changxin Xinqiao initiated the DRAM factory construction project in 2019 and laid out a policy to make use of domestically manufactured semiconductor production equipment.

(Image: CXMT)

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High-Tech PCB Manufacturers Poised to Gain from Remarkable Increase in AI Server PCB Revenue

Looking at the impact of AI server development on the PCB industry, mainstream AI servers, compared to general servers, incorporate 4 to 8 GPUs. Due to the need for high-frequency and high-speed data transmission, the number of PCB layers increases, and there’s an upgrade in the adoption of CCL grade as well. This surge in GPU integration drives the AI server PCB output value to surpass that of general servers by several times. However, this advancement also brings about higher technological barriers, presenting an opportunity for high-tech PCB manufacturers to benefit.

TrendForce’s perspective: 

  • The increased value of AI server PCBs primarily comes from GPU boards.

Taking the NVIDIA DGX A100 as an example, its PCB can be divided into CPU boards, GPU boards, and accessory boards. The overall value of the PCB is about 5 to 6 times higher than that of a general server, with approximately 94% of the incremental value attributed to the GPU boards. This is mainly due to the fact that general servers typically do not include GPUs, while the NVIDIA DGX A100 is equipped with 8 GPUs.

Further analysis reveals that CPU boards, which consist of CPU boards, CPU mainboards, and functional accessory boards, make up about 20% of the overall AI server PCB value. On the other hand, GPU boards, including GPU boards, NV Switch, OAM (OCP Accelerator Module), and UBB (Unit Baseboard), account for around 79% of the total AI server PCB value. Accessory boards, composed of components such as power supplies, HDD, and cooling systems, contribute to only about 1% of the overall AI server PCB value.

  • The technological barriers of AI servers are rising, leading to a decrease in the number of suppliers.

Since AI servers require multiple card interconnections with more extensive and denser wiring compared to general servers, and AI GPUs have more pins and an increased number of memory chips, GPU board assemblies may reach 20 layers or more. With the increase in the number of layers, the yield rate decreases.

Additionally, due to the demand for high-frequency and high-speed transmission, CCL materials have evolved from Low Loss grade to Ultra Low Loss grade. As the technological barriers rise, the number of manufacturers capable of entering the AI server supply chain also decreases.

Currently, the suppliers for CPU boards in AI servers include Ibiden, AT&S, Shinko, and Unimicron, while the mainboard PCB suppliers consist of GCE and Tripod. For GPU boards, Ibiden serves as the supplier, and for OAM PCBs, Unimicron and Zhending are the suppliers, with GCE, ACCL, and Tripod currently undergoing certification. The CCL suppliers include EMC. For UBB PCBs, the suppliers are GCE, WUS, and ACCL, with TUC and Panasonic being the CCL suppliers.

Regarding ABF boards, Taiwanese manufacturers have not yet obtained orders for NVIDIA AI GPUs. The main reason for this is the limited production volume of NVIDIA AI GPUs, with an estimated output of only about 1.5 million units in 2023. Additionally, Ibiden’s yield rate for ABF boards with 16 layers or more is approximately 10% to 20% higher than that of Taiwanese manufacturers. However, with TSMC’s continuous expansion of CoWoS capacity, it is expected that the production volume of NVIDIA AI GPUs will reach over 2.7 million units in 2024, and Taiwanese ABF board manufacturers are likely to gain a low single-digit percentage market share.

(Photo credit: Google)


Why Laptops Are Speeding Up the Rise of Vietnam?

As we look at the global economic growth rates for 2022, one country’s GDP performance stands out: Vietnam. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Vietnam’s estimated GDP growth rate for 2022 is 7%, compared to 2.6% in 2021, making it the most fast-growing country among the neighbouring countries.

Undoubtedly, the country’s impressive performance is largely due to the global supply chain’s migration to the country, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the trade war between the US and China.

Pandemic and Trade War as Catalysts for Supply Chain Relocation

Long before the supply chain’s recent move, Samsung had already made aggressive investments by allocating 60% of Samsung Galaxy phones’ production in Vietnam. As a result of that, Vietnam’s electronics manufacturing exports surpassed its largest industry, textiles, a decade ago.

Over the last couple of years, the increasing tension between U.S. and China’s lockdown during the pandemic has made the leading brands aware of the high geopolitical risks as well as the importance of supply chain diversification. These concerns forced them to vigorously re-evaluate the plan to move their manufacturing factories to Vietnam, mitigating the risks they are exposed to.

Laptops: The Last Piece of Puzzle

In this migration, Apple and Dell have been the most proactive brands. After Shanghai’s lockdown, Apple has chosen Vietnam as its second-largest production base for laptops, tablets, and TWS earphones. Luxshare has already attracted attentions for building an AirPod production line in Vietnam, but not until recently, the laptop OEMs in Taiwan have geared up for expanding their investments there: a couple days ago Quanta Computer just announced a $50 million investment to establish a Vietnamese subsidiary to produce MacBooks; Foxconn, another key supplier of Apple’s macbook, is reported to begin their trial run for macbook after an $9 billion investment in 2022 for capacity increase.

On the other hand, it is said that Dell had actively reviewed its suppliers and component sources before 2022 to ensure the stable supply for their bidding market in the North American. As Dell becomes more aggressive in shifting their production lines from China to other locations, suppliers such as Compal and Wistron have also been actively building laptop assembly lines in Vietnam for the past two years.

A flexible production model is on the horizon

In the past, most OEMs considered Vietnam as a backup due to the complex logistic management potentially caused by the relocation of production lines. However, given that the most complicated and rigid laptop supply chains have begun to move, it is generally believed that this represents a solid trend where Vietnam is almost set to take over China’s position.

According to TrendForce, Vietnam is projected to account for 5% of global laptop shipments by 2023, which marks a notable increase from less than 1% just a year ago, making the country the second-largest laptop production base after China.

However, from the perspective of supply chain risk diversification, brand customers demand production models that not only reduce over-concentration in China but also enable quick response to possible contingencies at each production base.

That means even if laptop production is concentrated in China and Vietnam, if there is an urgent situation, OEM factories’ production lines in other regions must be able to provide immediate support. Such production models will inevitably reshape the supply chain landscape moving forward.

(Photo credit: Freepik)


Sony to Ramp Up PS5 Console Production, Aiming to Boost Sales to 18 million units in New Fiscal Year

Sony stated in an earnings call that PS5 shipments totaled only 11.5 million units in the last fiscal year (2Q21 to 1Q22), missing the target of 14.8 million units. Increasing PS5 game console production will be the company’s main task for now and sales are expected to rise to 18 million units this fiscal year. In addition, Sony also stated that it will strengthen live broadcast services and extend game services to other devices, as well as step up its VR business.

PS5 sales will continue to grow in 2022 but market instability remains

Although Sony had high expectations going into the launch of the PS5 and market reception was good, the PS5’s final sales volume was stifled by production hamstrung as a result of component shortages. Therefore, Sony specifically mentioned in the Business Segment Briefings, comparing US retailer events sold PS4 to the PS5, the PS4 sold an average of 6 units per minute, while the PS5 now sells approximately 1,000 units per minute, demonstrating the strong market demand for PS5.

At the beginning of the PS5 release, there were reports of an insufficient supply of components. When the PS5 was released at the end of 2020, it had been in production for several months and accumulated a certain amount of inventory. Even if production capacity was in short supply when the console was released, Sony could still meet some market demand in the first year with its inventory and then increase production capacity in 2021 to make up the difference. However, in 2021, semiconductor production capacity was also in short supply. Not only game console products, but numerous other products experienced a shortage of components. Naturally, Sony was unable to further increase the supply of PS5 consoles, resulting in PS5 sales coming in lower than originally expected. Sales even declined in 1Q22. As the imbalance between supply and demand of semiconductors gradually eases in 2022, Sony predicts that PS5 production will begin to increase to fulfill market demand and announced a sales target for this fiscal year of 18 million units.

Even so, there remain many uncertainties in 2022. First of all, although pandemic lockdowns in China have yet to directly affect the assembly and production of game consoles in Shandong, the risk of potential fallout still exists given the uncertainty of pandemic development. Secondly, demand from the overall consumer market may be exhausted in 2022. This is due to unfavorable factors such as inflation, wars, pandemics, and rising energy prices. Disposable income in 2022 is forecast to shrink as a result and force consumers to give up some non-essentials or delay purchases. So this may cause consumers to delay replacing their current console with a PS5. A combination of the original dearth of PS5 supply and the impact of the scalper market seriously depleted the stock of products on the market. Some consumers who were eager to enjoy new console games may have switched over to buying an Xbox Series X/S first which may contribute to PS5’s 2022 annual sales volume falling short of Sony’s estimate. TrendForce expects that volume will only reach 14.34 million units. Even if this forecast references the range of Sony’s fiscal year (2Q22 to 1Q23), estimated sales volume will only increase to 16 million units.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

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