China Speeds Up Advanced Chip Development


China is accelerating its efforts to advance its domestic semiconductor industry, amid ongoing trade tensions with the West, in hopes of becoming more self-sufficient. The country is still behind in IC technology and is nowhere close to being self-reliant, but it is making noticeable progress. Until recently, China’s domestic chipmakers were stuck with mature foundry processes with no pres... » read more

Startup Funding: May 2020


It was a good month for semiconductor startups, with investment spanning a larger company in later funding rounds to brand new seed funding for two chip manufacturing startups. Two AI hardware startups bridge data center and edge, plus EV companies around the world get funding. In total, the eighteen startups profiled this month raised $446.3 million. Semiconductor & design Shanghai-based ... » read more

Startup Funding: April 2020


It was another strong month for automotive startups, with one autonomous trucking company in China drawing a massive $100M investment. Another hot area was optimization of machine learning deployments, including one new company launch. Quantum computing, etch equipment, and mmWave feature in this month's look at twenty-two startups that collectively raised $375M. Semiconductors & design ... » read more

Scaling CMOS Image Sensors


After a period of record growth, the CMOS image sensor market is beginning to face some new and unforeseen challenges. CMOS image sensors provide the camera functions in smartphones and other products, but now they are facing scaling and related manufacturing issues in the fab. And like all chip products, image sensors are seeing slower growth amid the coronavirus outbreak. Manufactured a... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tool shipping costs The coronavirus is impacting semiconductor equipment companies. Many have withdrawn their previous forecasts. “It has also led to a rise in shipping costs,” said Krish Sankar, an analyst with Cowen, in a research note. Most semiconductor equipment and components are shipped via air, according to Sankar. The exception is flat-panel display equipment and other sys... » read more

Startup Funding: February 2020


AI drew the biggest investments last month, with two AI hardware companies and one autonomous driving software startup pulling in nine-figure sums. Investors also pumped money into semiconductor manufacturing and test equipment, notably around EUV lithography and advanced packaging. AI Hardware SambaNova Systems received $250M in Series C funding for its software-defined hardware for AI, le... » read more

The Risk Of Two Supply Chains


Ever since the Trump administration weaponized trade restrictions against individual companies — first ZTE, then Huawei — China has begun developing a second supply chain for electronics. Inside of China, this is viewed as a necessary step for survival. In April 2018, the U.S. government banned ZTE from sourcing U.S. components for seven years, nearly putting that company out of business... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs IC Insights has released its rankings of the 25 largest wafer capacity leaders in terms of monthly installed capacity in 200mm-equivalents as of December 2019. Samsung was in first place, followed by TSMC, Micron, SK Hynix, and Kioxia, formerly Toshiba Memory, according to IC Insights. Combined capacity of the top five companies represented 53% of total global wafer capa... » read more

DRAM Scaling Challenges Grow


DRAM makers are pushing into the next phase of scaling, but they are facing several challenges as the memory technology approaches its physical limit. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. There are efforts in R&D to extend the technology, and ultimate... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers The IC industry once had several leading-edge vendors that invested and built new fabs. But over time, the field has narrowed due to soaring costs and a dwindling customer base. In 1994, the share of semiconductor industry capital spending held by the top five companies was 25%, according to IC Insights. This meant that a number of companies invested and built new fabs during the... » read more

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