[News] MediaTek Lands Significant WiFi 7 Deals, Disrupting Broadcom’s Long-standing Dominance

According to a news report from Economy Daily News, Taiwanese IC design company MediaTek is benefiting from a rebound of the smartphone market, with shipments of its Dimensity series 5G smartphone chips gaining momentum. Simultaneously, there is positive news of a potential surge in the demand for WiFi products next year.

MediaTek has secured major contracts for WiFi 7 with leading global tablet brands, Intel’s laptop platforms, and various prominent smartphone manufacturers, breaking Broadcom’s long-standing dominance in the WiFi chip market.

Industry sources suggest that MediaTek is expected to further expand its reach next year by securing orders from Chinese smartphone brands, Intel’s laptop platforms, and the primary WiFi 7 chip orders from the leading global tablet brand from the US.

With shipment momentum entering a quarterly ascending stage, MediaTek is poised to break the past trend of Broadcom’s long-term dominance in the WiFi chip market. Additionally, MediaTek is gaining ground on its competitor Qualcomm, positioning itself as one of the top three global suppliers in the WiFi chip market.

MediaTek has refrained from commenting on customer specifics and order status. However, market expectations are high for a significant boom in WiFi 7 opportunities next year, and MediaTek is anticipated to benefit from this surge.

According to industry analysis, WiFi 7 boasts faster transmission speeds and additional frequency bands. Its theoretical speed is 4.8 times faster than the preceding WiFi 6 standard and 13 times faster than WiFi 5. The industry widely anticipates WiFi 7 to become the mainstream network transmission standard next year.

In the current PC market scenario, major PC suppliers such as Intel and AMD are almost certain to extensively support WiFi 7 next year. In the smartphone market, there are reports that Apple and Samsung are expected to incorporate WiFi 7 specifications in their new models next year, further propelling the explosion of WiFi 7 opportunities in the coming year.

In the past, MediaTek made relatively slow progress in the WiFi market, but it accelerated its efforts upon entering the WiFi 6 era. With ambitions to outpace competitors in WiFi 7, MediaTek reportedly expanded its R&D team, deploying a thousand personnel to delve into the WiFi 7 market.

In early 2022, MediaTek took an early lead by launching its WiFi 7 product line, entering the ‘design-in’ phase with clients. In the second quarter of 2023, reports suggest MediaTek is gradually making inroads into the high-end router and enterprise-related applications. These recent developments indicate positive strides for the company.

Industry analysts have emphasized that WiFi has become an essential network feature in current terminal devices. However, due to the need for integration supporting multiple frequency band specifications in network chips like WiFi and Bluetooth, the crucial point in verifying product usability lies in complying with frequency bands specified by various countries.

Since different countries use different frequency bands, a significant amount of manpower is required in the testing and verification stages. The development challenges associated with these chips are second only to modem chips.

Even Apple has reportedly delayed its in-house WiFi chip development due to a shortage of manpower. Instead, Apple has shifted its focus to procuring WiFi chips from other IC design companies. This opens up opportunities for Broadcom, Qualcomm, and MediaTek to secure significant orders for WiFi chips in Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

Reportedly, an insider has indicated that MediaTek’s WiFi 7 chips will be produced using TSMC’s 6nm process. It is anticipated that the wafer input for these chips will ramp up in the first half of 2024 as MediaTek will be gearing up to seize new opportunities in the latter half of that year when consumer devices will have widely adopted WiFi 7.

(Photo credit: MediaTek)

Please note that this article cites information from Economy Daily News.


[Insights] Broadcom Completes VMware Acquisition, Software Business Expected to Account for 40-45% of Its Revenue

After obtaining approval from Chinese regulatory authorities at the end of November, Broadcom, a leading IC design company, has officially completed the acquisition of VMware, a prominent player in cloud computing. This strategic move propels Broadcom into the competitive cloud market, with software becoming a substantial part of its revenue. This trend of IC design companies, including AMD, Qualcomm, and Nvidia, venturing into software acquisitions continues to reshape the industry landscape.

Broadcom announced the acquisition of VMware on May 26, 2022, through a cash and stock transaction valued at USD 61 billion. After obtaining approvals from global regulatory authorities, including the EU, UK, South Korea, and Japan, the final conditional clearance from Chinese authorities was secured. This clearance involved ensuring compatibility between VMware server software and Broadcom hardware competitors’ products. The official announcement of completion came on November 22, 2023, following approval from Chinese authority. The final total transaction value came to USD 69 billion.

VMware, known for its expertise in cloud computing and virtualization software, separated from Dell in late 2021. With a customer base exceeding 400,000, it competes with Nutanix and Cloud Software Group. VMware’s core service lies in multi-cloud management, streamlining the integration of cloud resources from various vendors. It enables customers to manage multiple public clouds on a unified platform. The VMware platform significantly reduces the time needed for data migration to different public clouds, from 45 months to approximately 2.5 months.

Broadcom’s Software Business Soars to 40-45% Share after Acquisition, Ventures into Cloud and AI Markets

In 2023, VMware is expected to dominate the server virtualization market with a market share exceeding 70%. VMware’s strategic plan involves increasing the sales share of subscription services and cloud services from 25% in 2021 to 40% by 2025. With Q2 2023 revenue of USD 3.41 billion, almost double the size of Broadcom’s software business, the merger positions Broadcom’s software business to account for 40-45% of the total revenue.

This May, Broadcom CEO Tan Hock Eeng publicity stated that his company is committed to an annual investment of USD 2 billion in VMware’s R&D. Following the acquisition, Broadcom’s software division will be rebranded as VMware, and a shift from perpetual software licenses to subscription and SaaS models is planned. Broadcom aims to increase VMware’s EBITDA from USD4.7 billion in the 2022 fiscal year to USD 8.5 billion within three years.

Besides Broadcom’s entry into the cloud market through VMware, TrendForce also highlights VMware’s significance as a key partner for NVIDIA. The expanded strategic partnership, announced in August 2023, resulted in the establishment of Private AI Foundation with NVIDIA. Built on the VMware Cloud Foundation, the Private AI Foundation is a platform that allows enterprises to customize models and deploy Generative AI applications. The acquisition positions Broadcom to tap into NVIDIA’s AI ecosystem, providing an opportunity to join the NVIDIA AI server supply chain and explore the immense potential brought by AI.

Tech Giants Embrace Ecosystem Competition as IC Design Firms Dive into the Software Industry

To enhance customer loyalty, major companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, have progressively taken part in ecosystem competition in recent years. These companies have successfully established robust ecosystems. At the same time, IC design companies are gradually venturing into the software industry, shifting the focus from mergers within the IC design sector to mergers in the software industry. In addition to Broadcom acquiring VMware, notable instances in 2022 include AMD’s acquisition of data center platform provider Pensando, Qualcomm’s purchase of automotive software companies Veoneer and Arriver, and NVIDIA’s takeover of software-defined storage(SDS) company Excelero.

For Broadcom, strategic acquisitions have been a recurring theme since the failed attempt to acquire Qualcomm in 2018, after former U.S. President Donald Trump blocked it with national security concerns. Notable acquisitions include the USD18.9 billion purchase of mainframe service company CA Technologies in 2018, the USD 10.7 billion acquisition of the security division of Symantec in 2019, and the unsuccessful attempt to acquire statistical analysis software company SAS Institute for USD15-20 billion in 2021.

Buying software companies provides Broadcom with the advantage of leveraging cross-selling. This enables the promotion of its products, such as compute offload business, server storage connectivity, fiber optics, Jericho routers, and Tomahawk switches, to enterprise customers adopting solutions from these software companies.

(Image: Broadcom)


NVIDIA Surpasses Qualcomm at the The Latest Ranking of the World’s Top Ten IC Design

Fueled by an AI-driven inventory stocking frenzy across the supply chain, TrendForce reveals that Q2 revenue for the top 10 global IC design powerhouses soared to US $38.1 billion, marking a 12.5% quarterly increase. In this rising tide, NVIDIA seized the crown, officially dethroning Qualcomm as the world’s premier IC design house, while the remainder of the leaderboard remained stable.

AI charges ahead, buoying IC design performance amid a seasonal stocking slump

NVIDIA is reaping the rewards of a global transformation. Bolstered by the global demand from CSPs, internet behemoths, and enterprises diving into generative AI and large language models, NVIDIA’s data center revenue skyrocketed by a whopping 105%. A deluge of shipments, including the likes of their advanced Hopper and Ampere architecture HGX systems and the high-performing InfinBand, played a pivotal role. Beyond that, both gaming and professional visualization sectors thrived under the allure of fresh product launches. Clocking a Q2 revenue of US$11.33 billion (a 68.3% surge), NVIDIA has vaulted over both Qualcomm and Broadcom to seize the IC design throne.

Qualcomm’s Q2 took a hit as the Android smartphone sector grappled with dwindling demand and Apple’s modem pre-purchases resulted in a subdued seasonal rhythm. Consequently, their revenue slid by 9.7%, rounding off at about US$7.17 billion. Broadcom, while benefiting from AI-ignited demand for high-end switches and routers, faced headwinds with revenue drops in server storage, broadband, and wireless. The result was a second-quarter revenue that essentially mirrored the previous quarter at around US$6.9 billion.

AMD’s Q2 performance plateaued at about $5.36 billion, weighed down by a slump in gaming GPU sales and its embedded segment operations. Conversely, MediaTek, after several quarters of inventory recalibration, witnessed a resurgence with components like TV SoCs and Wi-Fi stabilizing. The added impetus of urgent TV orders and escalating shipments for mobile phones, smart platforms, and power management ICs boosted MediaTek’s Q2 to a solid US$3.2 billion.

Marvell, though buoyed by AI deployments in data centers, faced headwinds with a decline in On-Premise Servers (enterprise private clouds). End-user demand remained frail, and with sectors like data centers, telecom infrastructure, and enterprise networking facing revenue drops, Marvell’s Q2 took a 1.4% hit, culminating at roughly $1.33 billion.

Taiwan’s IC design stalwart Novatek flourished as customers replenished TV-related inventories and ushered in novel products such as OLED DDI. Realtek, drawing strength from supply chain restocking of PC/NB-centric ICs, reported quarterly growths of 24.7% and 32.6%, respectively. Yet, without substantial signs of a holistic revival in end-sales and inventory restocking, growth in H2 seems set to face challenges.

Will Semiconductor secured the ninth spot with a Q2 revenue of $528 million, registering a modest decline of about 1.9%. Hot on its heels is the US-based power IC maestro, MPS, with its Q2 revenue tallying up to $441 million—a slip of approximately 2.2%.

Peering into Q3, while inventory levels across companies paint a rosier picture than H1, a pervasive end-user demand slump urges caution. However, a silver lining emerges with CSPs, internet titans, and private firms flocking to generative AI and large language models. As these high-value AI offerings gain traction, TrendForce projects that the top ten global IC design giants will continue their double-digit ascent in Q3, potentially reaching record-breaking figures.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at


[News] TSMC Intensifies Silicon Photonics R&D, Rumored Collaboration with Broadcom and NVIDIA

According to a report by Taiwan’s Economic Daily, AI is driving a massive demand for data transmission, and silicon photonics and Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) have become new focal points in the industry. TSMC is actively entering this field and is rumored to be collaborating with major customers such as Broadcom and NVIDIA to jointly develop these technologies. The earliest large orders are expected to come in the second half of next year.

TSMC has already assembled a research and development team of over 200 people, aiming to seize the business opportunities in the emerging market of ultra-high-speed computing chips based on silicon photonics, which are expected to arrive gradually starting next year.

Regarding these rumors, TSMC has stated that they do not comment on customer and product situations. However, TSMC has a high regard for silicon photonics technology. TSMC Vice President Douglas Yu recently stated publicly, “If we can provide a good silicon photonics integration system, it can address two key issues: energy efficiency and AI computing capability. This could be a paradigm shift. We may be at the beginning of a new era.”

Silicon photonics was a hot topic at the recent SEMICON Taiwan 2023 with major semiconductor giants like TSMC and ASE giving related keynote speeches. This surge in interest is mainly due to the proliferation of AI applications, which have raised questions about how to make data transmission faster and achieve signal latency reduction. The traditional method of using electricity for signal transmission no longer meets the demands, and silicon photonics, which converts electricity into faster optical transmission, has become the highly anticipated next-generation technology to enhance high-volume data transmission speeds in the industry.

Industry reports suggest that TSMC is currently collaborating with major customers like Broadcom and NVIDIA to develop new products in the field of silicon photonics and Co-Packaged Optics. The manufacturing process technology ranges from 45 nanometers to 7 nanometers, and with mass production slated for 2025. At that time, it is expected to bring new business opportunities to TSMC.

Industry sources reveal that TSMC has already organized a research and development team of approximately 200 people. In the future, silicon photonics is expected to be incorporated into CPU, GPU, and other computing processes. By changing from electronic transmission lines to faster optical transmission internally, computing capabilities are expected to increase several tens of times compared to existing processors. Currently, this technology is still in the research and academic paper stage, but the industry has high hopes that it will become a new driver of explosive growth for TSMC’s operations in the coming years.

(Photo credit: Google)


Amid Rising Volume and Pricing, Top 10 IC Design Companies Post 2021 Revenue Topping US$100 Billion

According to TrendForce research, due to the vigorous stocking of various terminal applications causing a shortage of wafers in 2021, the global IC industry was severely undersupplied. This, coupled with spiking chip prices, boosted the 2021 revenue of the global top ten IC design companies to US$127.4 billion, or 48% YoY.

TrendForce further indicates three major disparities from the 2020 ranking. First, NVIDIA surpassed Broadcom to take the second position. Second, Taiwanese companies Novatek and Realtek rose to sixth and eighth place, respectively. Originally ranked tenth, Dialog was replaced at this position by Himax after Dialog was acquired by IDM giant Renesas.

Qualcomm continues its reign as number one in the world, primarily due to 51% and 63% growth YoY in sales of mobile phone SoC (System on Chip) and IoT chips, respectively. The addition of diversified development in its RF and automotive chip businesses was key to a 51% increase in revenue. NVIDIA implemented the integration of software and hardware, demonstrating its ambitions in creating a “comprehensive computing platform.” Driven by the annual growth of gaming graphics card and data center revenue at 64% and 59%, respectively, NVIDIA successfully climbed to second place. Broadcom benefited from the stable sales performance of network chips, broadband communication chips, and storage and bridging chips, with revenue growing 18% YoY. AMD’s computer and graphics revenue grew by 45% YoY due to strong sales of the Ryzen CPU and Radeon GPU and rising average selling price. Coupled with accelerating demand from cloud companies, the annual revenue of AMD’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-customized divisions increased by 113%, driving annual growth of total revenue to 68%.

In terms of Taiwanese firms, MediaTek’s strategy of focusing on mobile phone SoC has produced miraculous results. Benefiting from an increase in 5G penetration, the sales performance of MediaTek’s mobile phone product portfolio surged by 93% and the company has committed to increasing the proportion of high-end product portfolios, resulting in 61% annual revenue growth. Novatek’s two major product lines of SoC and display driver IC have both grown significantly. Due to improved product specifications, increased shipments, and beneficial pricing gains, revenue grew by 79% YoY, the highest among the top ten. Realtek has been driven by strong demand for Netcom and commercial notebook products, while the performance of audio and Bluetooth chips remains quite stable, conferring an annual revenue growth of 43%. Himax joins the top ten ranking for the first time in 2021. Due to significant annual revenue growth in large-sized and medium/small-sized driver IC of 65% and 87%, respectively, and the successful introduction of driver IC into automotive panels, total revenue exceeded US$1.5 billion, or 74% YoY.

Looking forward to 2022, after AMD completes the acquisition of Xilinx, other players will fill out the rankings. In the broader picture, intensifying demand for high-specification products such as high-performance computing, Netcom, high-speed transmission, servers, automotive, and industrial applications will create good business opportunities for IC design companies and drive overall revenue growth. However, terminal system manufacturers face the correction of component mismatch issues. In addition, growing foundry costs, intensifying geopolitical conflicts, and rising inflation will all be detrimental to global economic growth and may impact an already weakened consumer electronics market. These are the challenges IC design companies face in 2022 and by what means can product sales momentum be maintained within existing production capacity, R&D efficacy strengthened, and chip specifications upgraded, will become the primary focus of development in 2022.

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