The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Jimmy Kimmel; record IC sales; China’s strategy; leading-edge foundry contest.


Jimmy Kimmel, comedian and late night host of Jimmy Kimmel Live, replaces Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) as McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Cybercriminals are looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around popular cultural events. These criminals capitalize on the public’s fascination with celebrities to lure them to sites laden with malware, which enables them to steal passwords and personal information.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is on pace to reach $338 billion in 2014, a 7.2% increase from 2013, and up from the previous quarter’s forecast of 6.7% growth, according to Gartner. “Semiconductor revenue set an all-time record in the third quarter of 2014, fueled by a strong electronics build for the holiday season,” said Jon Erensen, research director of Gartner. “Get ready for a flood of new product introductions, ranging from simple low-cost tablets to high-end ultramobiles and smartphones. Demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been robust, but there is concern for other types of devices planned for the holidays.”

China, according to Pacific Crest Securities, is in the process of going vertical with its semiconductor supply chain, particularly around the mobile smartphone ecosystem. What does that mean for the IC industry? “Semiconductor equipment sales to Chinese fabs, including sales to large memory fabs owned by Samsung and Hynix, account for 15% to 20% of global sales. We think this could climb to 25% to 30% if Chinese foundries commit to meaningful capacity expansion. This expansion would most likely occur at 28nm or older technology, in our view, benefiting AMAT and LRCX more than ASML or KLAC on a relative basis. TER would also be a likely beneficiary of incremental wafer growth,” according to Pacific Crest Securities.

The leading-edge IC foundry market is expected to increase by 72% in 2014, according to IC Insights. And in total, TSMC is expected to have $10.3 billion in ≤28nm sales and control 84% of the total ≤28nm pure-play foundry market this year, according to the firm. “Although TSMC has a very large percentage of its sales targeting ≤45nm production, its 2014 revenue per wafer is still forecast to be up only 14% when compared to 2009. IC Insights believes that the entrance of GlobalFoundries and Samsung into the high-end foundry market over the past few years has put pressure on TSMC to keep its prices for leading-edge products competitive. Although there will probably be only five foundries able to offer high-volume leading-edge foundry production over the next five years (i.e., TSMC, GlobalFoundries, UMC, Samsung, and Intel), these companies are likely to be fierce competitors and pricing will likely be under pressure as a result,” according to the firm.

GlobalFoundries has received the 2014 award for Excellence in Silicon Ecosystems from Cisco.

Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) has opened an innovation center at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) in the U.K. The goal is to develop standardized Smart Cell Processing Technologies for cell culture and inspection. Applied Materials is in the processing of acquiring TEL.

Toshiba has begun production of vegetables at the Toshiba Clean Room Farm Yokosuka, a plant factory in Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture. Shipment of the first crop is scheduled for the end of October. Located in a formerly idle facility, Toshiba’s plant factory uses state-of-the-art technology to raise crops. Toshiba aims for annual output of three million bags (one bag is equivalent to a head of lettuce) of leaf lettuce, baby leaf greens, spinach, mizuna and herbs.

Intel has agreed to invest up to $1.5 billion for a minority stake of approximately 20% of the holding company under Tsinghua Unigroup. The Chinese company will soon own two chipmakers–Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics.

Brooks Automation has acquired FluidX, a provider of biological sample storage tubes and bench-top instruments.

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