IC Manufacturing, Package&Test


[News] Japanese Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturer Raises Salaries by 40% to Attract Talent

Japanese semiconductor equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) is reportedly set to increase the starting monthly salary for new hires by approximately 40%, breaking the JPY 300,000 barrier for the first time (approximately USD 2,121). This move is expected to align the salary level with international counterparts to attract talent.

According to the report from Nikkei Asia, TEL has been consistently raising salaries and bonuses due to its strong business performance. The company will raise the salary for all new hires by JPY 85,500.

Starting in April 2024, the monthly salary for university graduates joining the company will reach JPY 304,800 (USD 2,161), while those with higher qualifications can receive JPY 320,000. This marks the first salary increase for new employees at TEL in seven years.

As per the survey conducted by the Japan’s National Personnel Authority in the spring of 2023, Japanese private companies offer an average starting salary of around JPY 210,000 (approximately USD 1,484) for university graduates, with those holding higher degrees receiving around JPY 230,000. On the other hand, TEL’s financial statement reveals that the company’s average annual salary as of March 2023 is JPY 13.98 million.

Japan has seen a series of significant investments in the semiconductor industry, including TSMC’s entry into Kumamoto, Kyushu. Semiconductor manufacturers are offering high salaries to attract skilled workers, and this trend is prompting chip equipment suppliers to follow suit.

TEL plans to hire approximately 400 new graduates in the spring, an increase of 50 from the previous year, and envisions increasing the number of new employees to 500 within the next few years.

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(Photo credit: TEL)

Please note that this article cites information from Nikkei Asia 


[Tech Recap and Glimpse 5-1] Semiconductor Manufacturers’ Global Deployment

Amidst geopolitical influences, governments worldwide are enticing semiconductor manufacturers with subsidy policies, prompting chip manufactures to establish themselves in various regions. The ongoing dynamics of semiconductor facility construction and the evolving global production capacity remain focal points for the industry in 2024.

Following TSMC’s establishment of facilities in Arizona, USA, and Kumamoto, Japan, the progress of TSMC’s second Kumamoto plant has garnered significant industry attention. On another front, the developments at TSMC’s ESMC facility in Germany continue to capture global attention within the semiconductor industry.

Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSMC) also made headlines in 2023 by announcing the construction of its first overseas 12-inch fab, JSMC, located in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s overseas expansion efforts are equally robust. In addition to its Taylor plant in the United States, Samsung plans to establish a new semiconductor packaging research center in Japan.

According to TrendForce data, considering an equivalent foundry capacity of 12 inches, Taiwan held a global market share of approximately 47% in 2023, followed by China at 26%, South Korea at 12%, the United States at 6%, Singapore at 4%, Japan at 2%, Germany at 1%, and others at 2%. By 2027, Taiwan’s market share is projected to decrease to 42%, with China at 28%, South Korea at 10%, the United States at 7%, Singapore at 6%, Japan at 3%, Germany at 2%, and others at 1%.

(Image: TSMC)


[News] Rumors Circulate on ADI Issuing Price Increase Notice – Up to 20% Increase Starting February Next Year

Semiconductor manufacturers, after more than a year of destocking, are experiencing a recovery from the bottom of the market, and recently, there have been signs of price increases. Market sources reveal that Analog Devices Inc. (ADI), a major analog IC manufacturer, has recently issued a price increase notice to its Chinese distributors. The notice indicates an estimated price increase of 10% to 20%, set to take effect in February of the coming year.

According to reports compiled by Liberty Times Net, ADI stated in the price increase letter that the company places a high value on the reliability of stable component production. Therefore, it will not arbitrarily stop the production of components within a controllable range. To maintain a guaranteed supply for customers, the company will increase prices for certain older product lines to offset the cost pressures of sustaining production. If customers object to the price increase, ADI is committed to providing the best possible component replacement solutions.

According to industry sources, ADI’s price increase reflects the company’s optimistic outlook on the recovery of industry demand. On one hand, by increasing the prices of older products, ADI is expected to encourage customers to transition to new products.

In terms of ADI’s operations, ADI CEO Vincent Roche has previously stated in the company’s 2023 Q4 Earnings Call that, “Weakness in the industrial sector broadened and hit all the various market segments with 1 exception, the aerospace and defense area.”

Last month’s financial report from ADI revealed that, influenced by the still-high semiconductor inventory, the company’s fourth-quarter revenue decreased by 16% to USD 2.7 billion.

Within this, only automotive revenue showed positive growth, increasing by 14% to USD 730 million year-on-year, representing 27% of the overall revenue. Industrial revenue, accounting for approximately 50%, is the largest source of revenue, but in the fourth quarter, it experienced a 20% year-on-year decline to USD 1.35 billion.

For the entire fiscal year of 2023, ADI’s revenue reached USD 12.3 billion, a 2% increase compared to the previous year. This growth is attributed to record-breaking performances in the industrial and automotive sectors. The company’s Gross Margin increased by 5% to USD 7.8 billion, with a Gross Margin Percentage of 64%. Operating Income significantly rose by 17% to $3.8 billion, and the Operating Margin reached 31.1%.

(Photo credit: ADI)

Please note that this article cites information from Liberty Times Net and ADI


[News] TSMC’s Arizona Plant Rumored for Q1 2024 Trial Production, Securing Orders from Three U.S. Clients

According to a report by TechNews, TSMC’s Arizona-based Fab21, currently in the intensive equipment installation phase, has initiated the construction of a small-scale trial production line. With a small amount of equipment expected from multiple supply chain by the end of 2023, industry sources suggest that Fab21 is planning to commence trial production in the first quarter of 2024.

The reason behind TSMC’s anticipated trial production in the first quarter of 2024 stems from orders from its U.S. clients. Market reports indicate that among Fab21’s U.S. clients, in addition to major players like , NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang has not ruled out placing orders with Fab21. Furthermore, there are indications that Intel, planning to outsource core computing to TSMC’s N3B process, is likely to place orders to Fab21 in the near future.

However, due to cost considerations, despite the commencement of a small-scale trial production line, the initial capacity increase for Fab21’s 4-nanometer process will not accelerate. This situation is expected to persist into the subsequent second phase of the 3-nanometer production line.

Looking back at TSMC’s progress in Arizona, the company announced the construction of the 12-inch wafer Fab21 in Arizona back in 2020, anticipating the commencement of formal equipment installation in the first quarter of 2024 and official mass production before the end of 2024. The initial phase of Fab21 will produce on the 5-nanometer process, with a monthly production capacity of 20,000 wafers.

TSMC later upgraded the initial processs from 5-nanometer to 4-nanometer. However, due to a shortage of skilled installation workers in the region, TSMC postponed the mass production start date to 2025.

In addition, the second phase of the project is currently slated for mass production in 2026, introducing the 3-nanometer process. The total investment for both phases amounts to $40 billion.

Industry sources also acknowledge that Fab21’s manufacturing costs are high, and its capacity cannot compete with TSMC’s fab in Taiwan, making U.S. client orders primarily a response to U.S. government requirements, with the majority of production still centered in Taiwan.

(Image: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from TechNews


[News] PC Industry Shifts with Intel’s Propel on AI PC, Benefiting Upstream Companies like TSMC

In mid-December, Intel is set to unveil its latest Core Ultra processor, Meteor Lake. Global PC brands like Lenovo, Microsoft, DELL, HP, Acer, Asus, MSI, and Samsung are rolling out new products to capture the market. The end-users is enthusiastic, and channel feedback suggests increasing orders, marking a turning point in the PC industry,  according to CTEE.

As per the designs by PC brands, AI PCs are poised to offer AI and machine learning, capable of executing intelligent applications and tasks at the edge. This translates to a boost in user productivity and entertainment experiences, enhanced communication efficiency, and improved work quality. Furthermore, these PCs prioritize data and privacy protection.

Taiwanese partners have corresponding models entering the market, with analysts anticipating AI PCs to become the primary driver for replacement demand in the latter half of the next year. Shipment volumes are estimated to surpass 100 million units in the next two years, benefiting Taiwan’s supply chain, including PC brands Acer, Asus, MSI, and ODMs Quanta, Compal, and Inventec.

On the other hand, TSMC stands up as a major upstream player, with rising utilization rate of the 5nm and 6nm advanced processes contributed to the big orders from the Meteor Lake. TSMC is in charge of the NPU, specifically designed for AI tasks.

Intel highlights 3D Foveros as the key to advanced packaging in mixing and matching compute tiles. This aspect is managed by its advanced packaging fab in Malaysia, ensuring the most efficient energy distribution.

Please note that this article cites information from CTEE

(Image: Intel)

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