The Week In Review: Manufacturing

2015 IC rankings; fab capacity leaders; small SSD; diamond chips.

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2016 is starting off on the wrong foot. Samsung disclosed its preliminary results for the forth quarter. Samsung expects a difficult business environment in 2016, according to reports. Plus, Apple is seeing lower than expected demand. “We are lowering our March quarter iPhone units to 45M units (prior 54M) to reflect incremental softness and recent production cuts. Our sense is that iPhones are likely sitting at higher than optimal inventory across multiple geographies, and as a result, Apple has implemented further production curtailment across the supply chain,” said Amit Daryanan, an analyst at RBC. “We heard from two key Apple suppliers–Cirrus Logic, who provided preliminary results that were well below expectations ($347M vs. street at $386M) and Qorvo who now estimates December quarter sales at $620M (prior guide at $720-730M).”

Worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled $333.7 billion in 2015, a 1.9% decrease from 2014 revenue of $340.3 billion, according to preliminary results from Gartner. In addition, Gartner released its IC rankings in terms of sales in 2015. Intel recorded a 1.2% revenue decline, due to falls in PC shipments. However, it retained the No. 1 market share position for the 24th year in a row with 15.5% market share. Samsung’s memory business helped drive growth of 11.8% in 2015, and the company maintained the No. 2 spot with 11.6% market share. Meanwhile, SK Hynix jumped from No. 5 to No. 3 in the 2015 rankings, while Qualcomm fell from No. 3 to No. 4. The rankings can be seen here.

IC Insights has released its rankings for global wafer fab capacity in 2015. As of December 2015, Samsung had the most installed wafer capacity with 2.5 million 200mm-equivalent wafers per month, which represented 15.5% of the world’s total capacity, according to IC Insights. Samsung was in first place, followed in order by TSMC, Micron, Toshiba/SanDisk, SK Hynix, GlobalFoundries, Intel, UMC, TI and ST. “Intel’s capacity declined slightly in 2015 because of the company’s Fab 68 in China being taken off-line while it is converted from the production of logic chipsets to next-generation flash memory,” according to IC Insights.

Samsung announced the Samsung Portable SSD T3, a palm-sized, external solid-state drive (SSD) that offers multi-terabyte (TB) storage capacity. Equipped with Samsung’s 3D NAND chips, the T3 drive enables users to store and transfer large multimedia content across a variety of devices.

Akhan Semiconductor, a developer of diamond semiconductor technology, is deploying 200mm manufacturing equipment and processes within its new production facility in Gurnee, Ill. The company hopes to ship its first diamond-based devices this quarter.

Amkor has increased its ownership interest in Japanese OSAT vendor J-Devices from 65.7% to 100%. In a statement, Steve Kelley, Amkor’s president and chief executive, said: “This transaction cements Amkor’s position as the world’s second largest OSAT, well ahead of the next two players. We also become the largest OSAT for the automotive market, with roughly $750 million in combined automotive-based revenues in 2015.”

Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) has convened a review committee and board meeting regarding Advanced Semiconductor Engineering’s proposed move to gain a majority interest in SPIL. The conclusion: ASE’s second tender offer price is not reasonable.

The SEMI Foundation announced that Belle W. Y. Wei was elected as a new director. The SEMI Foundation is known for its flagship program, SEMI High Tech U, which serves high school students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In a blog, Denny McGuirk, president and chief executive of SEMI, takes a look back at 2015 and provides an outlook of 2016.