IC Manufacturing, Package&Test


[News] TSMC’s CoWoS Demand Surges from NVIDIA, Apple, AMD, Broadcom, Marvell, Monthly Capacity Up 120% in 2024

The demand for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging is skyrocketing. Following NVIDIA’s expansion confirmation in October, there are reports in the industry that major clients like Apple, AMD, Broadcom, Marvell, and others are also placing additional orders with TSMC.

To meet the demands of these five major clients, TSMC is fast-tracking the expansion of CoWoS advanced packaging capacity. Next year, the monthly capacity will increase by about 20% more than the original doubling target, reaching 35,000 wafers, reported by UDN News.

TSMC has not commented on the capacity deployment for CoWoS advanced packaging. Industry sources believe that the substantial orders from TSMC’s major clients indicate a widespread growth in AI applications, driving the demand for chips such as GPU and AI accelerators.

In response to the continuous increase in AI demand, TSMC had previously announced the doubling of CoWoS advanced packaging capacity expansion for next year but did not disclose the monthly production capacity. Industry reports suggest that TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging capacity next year will not only double but will also increase by an additional 20% from the original target, resulting in a total monthly capacity of 35,000 wafers.

NVIDIA currently stands as the main large customer for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging, securing almost 60% of TSMC’s related capacity, which is used in its AI chips such as H100 and A100. Additionally, AMD’s latest AI chip products are in the mass production stage, and the upcoming MI300 chip, expected to launch next year, will adopt both SoIC and CoWoS advanced packaging.

At the same time, Xilinx, a subsidiary of AMD, has been a significant customer for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging. With the continuous growth in AI demand, not only Xilinx but also Broadcom has started increasing orders for TSMC’s CoWoS advanced packaging capacity.

(Image: TSMC)

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[Insights] How Will China Respond to Increased US Restrictions on AI Chips and Semiconductor Equipment?

On October 17, 2023, the U.S. government once again expanded its restrictions on the export of semiconductor devices and products to China. The newly added control conditions now encompass NVIDIA’s L40S, A100, H100H800, as well as general-purpose AI server GPUs tailored for the Chinese market, such as A800 and H800. Additionally, AMD’s MI200 series, MI300 series GPUs, and Intel’s Habana Labs’ Gaudi 2, Gaudi 3 GPUs fall under the regulatory framework.

Recalling the U.S. government’s export restrictions on AI chips issued to IC design firms in September 2022, at that time, only A100, H100, and MI200 series were subjected to control, and the U.S. Department of Commerce granted NVIDIA and AMD a one-year buffer period.

In contrast, the recent regulations not only cover all mainstream AI server GPUs but also eliminate the buffer period for these chip companies. In essence, companies or institutions in countries not permitted for export can only acquire AI server chips with performance potentially inferior to NVIDIA L40S or AMD MI200 series for the next few years.

Furthermore, stricter control thresholds for lithography equipment have led to the inclusion of ASML’s DUV, the 1980Di, in the control list. This equipment is primarily used in the 28 ~ 7nm process. Previously controlled products were focused on the EUV 3000 series for 7nm and below processes and the DUV 2000 series for 16/14 ~ 5nm processes.

This move indicates that the U.S. government’s desire to control semiconductor process technology has officially extended to mature processes of 28nm.

The expanded U.S. controls on AI chips and semiconductor manufacturing devices not only target China but also countries that might collaborate with Chinese institutions and businesses in AI development.

In this scenario, China is left with only two viable options to establish efficient AI computing resources: (1) designing and mass-producing AI server chips itself or (2) utilizing the computing resources of cloud service providers.

As the U.S. is also discussing the potential inclusion of cloud service providers in semiconductor control policies and currently formulating relevant countermeasures, this path remains unreliable for China. Therefore, the only dependable option is to independently design and manufacture AI server chips.

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[News] Chinese Smartphone Demand Stimulate Orders for IC Manufacturers

Non-Apple IC manufacturers are reporting positive business performance this quarter. Chinese brands are experiencing a revival driven by the release of new Huawei smartphones, and a resolution in inventory clearance in emerging markets. This has led to an increase in orders. Additionally, Samsung’s success in foldable phones is contributing to the upsurge. This overall trend is benefiting companies like MediaTek and Novatek in the smartphone-related IC manufacturing sector.

As reported by CTEE, China holds about 25% of the global smartphone market, with industry analysts predicting sales of 260 million units in China for 2023. Huawei’s re-entry into the smartphone market will significantly impact the smartphone SoC market share in 2024. This development will challenge Apple’s market share in China, and Huawei’s upcoming Nova mid-range smartphones will also affect brands like Honor, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and others, as they vie for market share.

Key drivers of the smartphone industry’s recovery

According to Economic Daily News, many Chinese smartphone brands are optimistic about the local market’s improvement following the launch of Huawei’s new smartphones. Beyond flagship models like the Mate 60, mid-range series like Nova are also showing increased activity. Leading non-Apple smartphone manufacturers are gearing up for a surge in demand and are actively stocking up on top-tier flagship chips, thus stimulating the supply chain’s demand for additional orders.

At the same time, Taiwanese manufacturers mention that Chinese smartphone brands that primarily target emerging markets have already digested their accumulated inventory and are now starting to replenish their stocks. Some smartphone-related chip manufacturers have also pointed out that Samsung and other Korean smartphone giants are enjoying good sales of foldable phones and have recently conveyed messages about increasing orders.

TrendForce notes that the current revival on demand side in the global smartphone market is primarily driven by inventory restocking. The potential for sustained orders remains uncertain due to the prevailing economic challenges.

(Image: MediaTek)

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[News] PSMC Announces First Plant in Miyagi Prefecture in Collaboration with SBI

Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing (PSMC), SBI Holdings, Inc., Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture and JSMC signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the 31st, confirming that JSMC’s first fab will be selected in Japan. The Second Northern Sendai Central Industrial Park in Ohira Village, Kurokawa District, Miyagi Prefecture (Second Northern Sendai Central Industrial Park) is the planned site.

It is understood that in August this year, PSMC and SBI jointly established JSMC and began preparations for setting up a wafer fab in Japan. After extensive discussions with the municipal government of the candidate locations and multiple on-site inspections, a number of factors were taken into consideration, including: the robustness of infrastructure such as water supply, drainage, high-voltage power supply, and logistics capabilities, as well as the park’s ability to withstand natural disasters, and surrounding life.

PSMC states that the quality of the environment and the potential for future industry-university cooperation ultimately led to the selection of the Second Northern Sendai Central Industrial Park as the site.

PSMC said that SBI is committed to working closely with the Japanese government, Miyagi Prefecture, partners and relevant financial institutions to discuss various details of investment in Japan. More information will be announced after the details are finalized.

(Image: PSMC)


[News] Rumors Suggest All Nvidia B100 Baseboard Manufacturing Orders Are Secured by Wistron

According to CTEE, NVIDIA’s forthcoming AI server, the GB200 (B100), slated for a 2024 release, has entered the certification phase in the supply chain. Recent market rumors suggest that Foxconn, originally intended to secure orders for the B100 board, faced certification challenges. As a result, Wistron has maintained its initial order share.

Additionally, it is worth noting that Ingrasys, a subsidiary of Foxconn, is actively manufacturing the H100 product and is a strong contender to secure orders.

Unofficial sources indicate that NVIDIA initially considered making Foxconn the second supplier for AI-GPU server baseboard in the upcoming B100 series. However, due to yield concerns and other factors, Wistron is still expected to receive 100% of the orders. Wistron has also capitalized on the opportunity to secure orders for the front-end AI-GPU module, which appears to be a successful move.

The rapid evolution of AI has intensified competition among assembly plants. Wistron and Foxconn play crucial roles as suppliers for NVIDIA’s current mainstream H100 series GPU modules and baseboards.

Wistron, as the exclusive supplier for H100 baseboards in the NVIDIA DGX and HGX architectures, also holds the exclusive role of providing mainboards and assembling AI servers for DGX. As shipments of the H100 series AI servers, built on the NVIDIA DGX and HGX frameworks, steadily increase in the latter half of the year, Wistron’s AI server-related product business shows consistent growth.

It’s worth noting that Ingrasys is responsible for manufacturing the H100. NVIDIA’s founder, Jensen Huang, and Foxconn’s Chairman, Young Liu, jointly attended a technology event, highlighted the close collaboration in between, underscoring Foxconn’s determination to secure B100 orders.

(Image: Wistron)

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