Chip Industry Week In Review

U.S. pumps $162M into Microchip; 5 companies create RISC-V startup; 12 companies form auto IC research group; X-Fab buys M-MOS; Bruker buys Phasefocus; Rambus adds genAI clock driver.


By Susan Rambo, Jesse Allen, and Liz Allan

The U.S. government will provide about $162 million in federal incentives, under the CHIPS and Science Act, to help Microchip onshore its semiconductor supply chain. The move is aimed at securing a reliable domestic supply of MCUs and mature-node chips. “Today’s announcement will help propel semiconductor manufacturing projects in Colorado and Oregon, and reinforce America’s chip supply chains for critical automotive, medical, aerospace, and defense technologies, among other applications,” said John Neuffer, Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) president and CEO.

Five chip companies — Robert Bosch, Infineon, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP, and Qualcomm — joined forces to create a new company Quintauris. The stated goal is to develop and commercialize RISC-V-based hardware, provide reference architectures, and help establish solutions that can be widely used across various industries. While the initial focus will be automotive, the companies plan to expand into mobile and IoT, as well.

X-FAB acquired M-MOS Semiconductor, a fabless company specializing in the development of MOSFET technologies and the design of custom MOSFET devices, for €22.5 million (~$24.7 million). X‑FAB anticipates the acquisition will accelerate development of its power discrete business.

Global semiconductor capacity will reach 30 million wafers per month in 2024, a new record, up 5.5% from 2023, according to SEMI.


Special report: Investments are booming as countries and companies vie for supply chain security and technology leadership. Here’s a look at 130 fab and facility investments in the chip industry.


Quick links to more news:

Design and Power
Manufacturing and Test
Automotive and Batteries
Pervasive Computing and AI
In-Depth Reports

Design and Power

Rambus announced availability of its Gen4 DDR5 Registering Clock Driver (RCD), which boosts the data rate to 7200 MT/s to support generative AI and other advanced data center workloads.

The U.S. H-1B visa program is poised for a shakeup due to a critical talent shortage and the need to keep highly qualified engineers in the country, especially after they graduate from U.S. universities.

Astrobotic leveraged Ansys’ multiphysics and digital mission engineering (DME) solutions to prepare for a lunar mission by predicting many categories of the spacecraft’s performance indicators, from plotting the orbital trajectory to analyzing communication system performance.

Georgia Tech researchers created the world’s first functional semiconductor made from graphene, a single sheet of carbon atoms held together by the strongest bonds known.

DARPA is trying to identify under-explored approaches to quantum computing that could accelerate the timetable for utility-scale operation, where the computational value exceeds its cost. Microsoft and PsiQuantum have been selected to move forward in the program and will design fault-tolerant smaller-scale quantum computer prototypes based on topological qubits and silicon-based photonics, respectively.

Manufacturing and Test

The magnitude 7.5 Noto Peninsula earthquake in Japan has not stopped production in the semiconductor industry, but it did temporarily halt manufacturing at TAIYO YUDEN, Shin-Etsu, GlobalWafers, Toshiba, and TPSCo, according to TrendForce. Advantest reported no issues, and Toshiba will provide an update.

Bruker said it will acquire Phasefocus, a privately held company with expertise in imaging and image processing algorithms.

The Dutch government’s mandate that ASML stop shipping its NXT:2050i and NXT:2100i lithography systems to Chinese customers, has been partially revoked. ASML said the export control would affect only a small number of customers in China, and that it did not expect the export controls to have a material impact in 2023.

To remain competitive with foreign salaries, the Asia-based semiconductor industry is increasing starting pay rates. ’Tokyo Electron will raise the starting salaries of new hires by about 40%, according to Nikkei Asia. TSMC, meanwhile, offered starting salaries in 2022 that were 40% higher than the local average, and will offer larger starting salaries at its new plant in Kikuyo, Kumamoto Prefecture, which may boost salaries across the board, according to the JapanTimes.

Israel’s government will provide a $3.2 billion grant to help pay for the $25 billion chip plant Intel is building in southern Israel.

UMC earned an AAA certification for IP management from Taiwan’s Industrial Development Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The certification is given to companies that show continuous efforts on managing and optimizing IP.

The U.S. National Institute for Innovation and Technology launched the national Semiconductor and Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program (SAM-TAP) as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s mission to create Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) for the semiconductor and nanotechnology-related industries.

Automotive and Batteries

Twelve companies, including Renesas, Cadence, Synopsys, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan, established the Advanced SoC Research for Automotive (ASRA) network to research and develop high-performance digital ICs for automotive. The plan is to have these chips in mass production from 2030 onward.

A huge number of startups are attempting to jump start new technologies in the automotive sector in what has become a highly competitive and global race. Investors are funneling large sums of money for everything from lidar to power semiconductors.

Changes to the federal EV tax credit took effect on January 1. Topping out at $7,500, the credit will exclude certain EVs that contain components or critical minerals from “foreign entities of concern” (FEOC). Some buyers will be able to access the credit right after purchasing an eligible vehicle.

Ansys sensors will be accessible within NVIDIA‘s scenario-based AV simulator, allowing users to access to high-fidelity sensor simulation outputs for the training and validation of perception ADAS/AV systems.

Airbus and BMW launched the Quantum Mobility Quest global computing challenge “to tackle the most pressing challenges in aviation and automotive that have remained insurmountable for classical computers.”

Rivian is recalling some 2022 R1T and R1S vehicles because the accelerator pedal may not detect when the driver releases the pedal, which can result in unintended vehicle movement of the vehicle. Rivian has released an over-the-air software update, and will replace the accelerator pedals for free.

Croatian EV company Rimac, which makes the Nevera electric hypercar and co-owns Bugatti, plans to produce a fleet of autonomous taxis by 2026, reports Forbes.

LeddarTech, which develops AI-based low-level sensor fusion and perception software for assisted and autonomous driving, is now a public company. It will trade as LDTC on the NASDAQ.

In what may truly be the first smartphone on wheels, China’s Xiaomi launched its SU7 EV, which it claims will accelerate faster than Porsche’s Taycan and Tesla’s Model S, reports CNBC. The car is integrated with Xiaomi’s smartphone and internet-connected home appliances, but also will be compatible with the iPhone, iPad, CarPlay, and AirPlay.

Meanwhile, BYD surpassed Tesla’s production for a second straight year with more than 3 million vehicles, and Nio unveiled its ET9 executive sedan to take on Mercedes-Benz‘s Maybach and Porsche‘s Panamera, featuring self-designed autonomous driving semiconductors, 900-volt electric drive for fast charging, and large cylindrical battery cells, according to Reuters. It is expected to start delivery in Q1 2025.

Hyundai filed a patent for a foldable all-solid-state battery with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, reports the Korean Car Blog.

Yamaha created a new company, ENYRING, which provides swappable batteries for compact urban EVs, such as e-bikes. The goal is to create a closed loop, in which recycled materials are used as resources for creating new products.

EV battery prices dropped in December, but are expected to stabilize by Q2 2024, reports TrendForce. Also, the global sales volume of neighborhood EVs (NEVs) was estimated to reach about 12.8 million units in 2023, with China expected to have a 60% market share, 22% in Western Europe, 11% in the U.S., and 6% in other regions.


MITRE Engenuity completed a pilot program to address the need for cybersecurity risk mitigation across the mobile digital financial services (mDFS) ecosystem. The team created a cyber risk model to help direct the fintech industry and government toward solutions-oriented investments.

Fig. 1: A two-lens approach to security. Source: Mitre Engenuity

With encryption at risk in the post-quantum world, FPGAs are increasingly vulnerable. The solution requires both traditional and novel defenses.

A proposed augmented security module (ASM) provides security services for IoT devices within the same network, requiring minimal device modifications, according to researchers at Kyung Hee University and Oregon State University.

A self-adaptive striped-function logic locking method named SFLL-AD was proposed by researchers at Zhejiang University.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) researchers used a twofold method for jailbreaking large language models (LLMs). First, they reverse-engineered how LLMs detect and defend themselves from malicious queries, and then they taught an LLM to automatically learn and produce prompts that bypass the defenses of other LLMs.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued various alerts, including advisories about a Bleichenbacher style attack on Mitsubushi’s factory automation products, and a buffer overflow attack on Rockwell’s Automation FactoryTalk Activation Manager.

Pervasive Computing and AI

NXP and MicroEJ teamed up to offer software containers with standard APIs, enabling portability of RTOS-based MCUs and Linux-based processors in industrial and edge environments.

Qualcomm debuted a single-chip architecture for mixed reality and virtual reality, with 4.3K resolution.

Intel and DigitalBridge formed Articul8 AI, an independent company offering a full-stack, vertically-optimized, and secure generative AI software platform that keeps customer data, training, and inference within the enterprise security perimeter.

Google DeepMind introduced AutoRT, a system that can collect more experiential training data, as well as more diverse data, to speed up robotic learning and prepare them for the real world.

Stanford University researchers showed how the Mobile ALOHA robotic system can autonomously complete complex mobile manipulation tasks such as sauteing a piece of shrimp, opening a two-door wall cabinet, calling and entering an elevator, and rinsing a used pan.

Global premium smartphone sales likely grew 6% year-over-year in 2023 to hit a new record, according to Counterpoint. Premium phones have a value of more than $600, and the segment is expected to capture almost a quarter of global smartphone market sales and 60% of the revenues in 2023. The overall smartphone market, meanwhile, is expected to show a decline.

Global cellular IoT module shipments dropped 2% in Q3 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, and full-year shipments are expected to decline by 5%, according to Counterpoint. The top five applications – smart meters, automotive, POS, router/CPE, and telematics – accounted for more than 60% of total shipments. Meanwhile, the 5G market’s share in the global cellular IoT module market crossed 5% for the first time, with early adoption showing in the router/CPE, PC, and automotive markets.

Global TV shipments were expected to fall by 2.3% in 2023, adversely impacted by inflation, reports TrendForce, while the shipment of LCD panels is projected to hit around 242 million units in 2024, a growth rate of about 3.4%.

Oxford University researchers set out a new principle to explain how the brain adjusts connections between neurons during learning, with the potential to inspire faster and more robust learning algorithms in AI.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT-CSAIL) developed an approach that uses AI models to conduct experiments on other systems and explain their behavior. “Central to this strategy is the automated interpretability agent (AIA), designed to mimic a scientist’s experimental processes.”

In-Depth Reports

More new stories by the Semiconductor Engineering editorial team:

  • Expert discussion: Voltage droop in analog and mixed-signal designs, and the need for multi-vendor tool interoperability and more precision.
  • Expert discussion: What’s changing in sensor technology and why.


Sassine Ghazi took over as CEO of Synopsys, posting a letter to stakeholders.

Aspinity, a developer of analog machine learning chips for always-on edge processing, appointed Richard Hegberg as its new CEO. Previous CEO and co-founder Tom Doyle will take up the role of COO.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

Event Date Location
ISS 2024: Industry Strategy Symposium Jan 7 – 10 Half Moon Bay, CA
CES 2024: Consumer Electronics Jan 9 – 12 Las Vegas, NV
Automotive World: Advanced Automotive Technology Show Jan 24 – 26 Tokyo, Japan
Speed, Protocol and Security: New Automotive Network Challenges Jan 24 Novi, MI
SPIE Photonics West Jan 27 – Feb 1 San Francisco, CA
DesignCon 2024 Jan 30 – Feb 1 Santa Clara, CA
Chiplet Summit Feb 6 – 8 Santa Clara, CA
The Rise of Photonic Computing Feb 7 – 8 San Jose, CA
Wafer-Level Packaging Symposium Feb 13 – 15 Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
All Upcoming Events

Upcoming webinars are here.

Further Reading and Newsletters

Read the latest special reports and top stories, or check out the latest newsletters:

Systems and Design
Low Power-High Performance
Test, Measurement and Analytics
Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials
Automotive, Security and Pervasive Computing


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