According to the latest data from EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce, cobalt prices continued to rise in 2018 and soared by more than 20% in the first quarter. The rise of raw material prices results from short-term capital speculation and high supplier concentration. This concentrated industry structure may continue to push up the prices in long term. The soaring costs of raw material will be reflected in prices of lithium batteries and new energy vehicles quarter by quarter. This is also a challenge for the battery industry, which has been figuring out ways to reduce the dependence on cobalt.
5G is expected to enter commercial operation in 2020, while vehicles become more intelligent, networked and electric, driving the development of SiC and GaN, the third-generation semiconductor materials. TrendForce estimates that the revenue for SiC substrates and GaN substrates will be US$180 million and US$3 million respectively in 2018.
Self-driving taxi services that combine ridesharing and autonomous vehicles have undergone road tests in 2017, and most companies expect to launch their commercial self-driving taxi services formally in 2021, which will tremendously change the future of transport. TrendForce estimates the CAGR of self-driving taxis to reach 81% from 2018 to 2023.
Fabless semiconductor giant Broadcom Limited (shortened here as Broadcom) announced on November 6 that the company is offering US$130 billion to acquire its rival Qualcomm. Qualcomm’s official response is that the company board is currently reviewing the proposal. This deal, if approved by Qualcomm’s board, represents another milestone for M&As in the global semiconductor sector as its value sets a new record high for the industry. Once completed, TrendForce expects the deal will expand Broadcom’s presence in the automotive electronics market. Furthermore, the joining of Broadcom and Qualcomm will impact the global foundry market and threaten the competitiveness of China's and Taiwan's IC industries in the future.
As 2017 comes to an end, global market intelligence provider TrendForce has unveiled a list of top 10 trends in the information and communication technology sector for 2018. These trends will be influencing the development of key industries in the upcoming year.