Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

China considers easing rules on IP transfer; 67,000 semiconductor worker shortfall in U.S.; gallium prices surge; Huawei working with SMIC on 5G chips; AMD looks for other fabs; NI upgrades LabVIEW; wafer shipments grow QoQ; WF6 shortage ahead.


The Chinese government is considering easing proposed rules that require foreign office equipment makers operating in the country to transfer key product technology to China, per Nikkei Asia. In April 2022, Chinese authorities began revamping their national standards to include a new requirement that key components, such as semiconductors and laser-related items, be designed, developed, and produced in China.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), in partnership with Oxford Economics, released a study finding the United States faces a significant shortage of technicians, computer scientists, and engineers, with a projected shortfall of 67,000 of these workers in the semiconductor industry by 2030 and a gap of 1.4 million such workers throughout the broader U.S. economy. SIA makes recommendations in its report for improving the pipeline, as have prominent engineering educators.

Fig.1 Historical semiconductor workforce and projected 2023-2030 gap. Source: SIA

Earlier this month, gallium prices surged after China said it would start requiring permits to export the key metal and other chipmaking materials in August, signaling a potentially significant impact on the industry, reported Nikkei Asia. The benchmark price for gallium in the U.S. and European markets reached $332.50 per kilogram on July 20, according to U.K.-based Argus Media, up 18% from the end of June. China made its announcement on July 3.

Germany plans to spend €20 billion ($22 billion) to bolster semiconductor manufacturing in Germany in a push to shore up the country’s tech sector and secure supplies of critical components, Bloomberg reported. About 75% of the money will go to the German facilities of Intel and TSMC.

Huawei is working with SMIC to put its in-house designed 5G mobile chipset into mass production in the coming months, according to Nikkei Asia.

Tokyo Electron Technology Solutions (TEL) completed construction of a new development building. The company says it is poised for sizable growth in the coming years, with constant advancements in patterning technologies, including deposition, coating/development, etch, and cleaning.

AMD CEO Lisa Su told Nikkei Asia that the company will “consider other manufacturing capabilities” besides TSMC to make AMD-designed chips in order to “ensure that we have the most resilient supply chain.”


National Instruments (NI) announced an upgrade to its flagship product LabVIEW. Among the improvements are new visual features and faster re-building of applications and packed project libraries.

Market Research

SEMI reported that worldwide silicon wafer shipments increased 2.0% quarter-over-quarter to 3,331 million square inches in the second quarter of 2023, down 10.1% from the 3,704 million square inches recorded during the same quarter last year.

TECHCET is anticipating supply of WF6 to become constrained by 2025 with threat of shortage in 2026. Tungsten (from WF6 precursor) usage is highly driven by vertical scaling of 3D NAND and increased wafer start numbers in all segments. WF6 supply/demand is expected to stay in balance through 2023. Possible shortages could be mitigated if molybdenum (Mo) solid precursors start replacing WF6 and transition from R&D to HVM.


The Phase 0 effort of DARPA’s Next-Generation Microelectronics Manufacturing program will establish foundational research to inform next steps toward creating a domestic center for fabricating 3D heterogeneously integrated microsystems. The program’s selectees are: Applied Materials, Arizona State University, BRIDG, HRL Laboratories, Intel Federal, North Carolina State University, Northrop Grumman Space Systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, PseudolithIC, Raytheon Technologies, and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging.

SEMI produced the first edition of its SEMI University newsletter, with pointers to courses of interest to industry.

And, finally, it turns out that Barbie was an engineer.

Further reading

 See the latest Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials newsletter for these feature articles:

  • High-NA Lithography Starting To Take Shape
  • Using ML For Improved Fab Scheduling
  • Goals Of Going Green

Read our Test, Measurement & Analytics newsletter for these highlights and more:

  • Pinpointing Timing Delays in Complex SoCs
  • Mission Critical Devices Drive System-Level Test Expansion
  • Governments Begin to Shape Metrology Directions

Upcoming events in the chip industry:

  • SemiconIndia 2023, July 28 – 30 (Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India)
  • SPIE Optics + Photonics 2023, Aug 20 – 24 (San Diego, CA)
  • Hot Chips 2023, Aug 27 – 29 (Hybrid/Stanford University)
  • NVMTS 2023: Non-Volatile Memory Technology Symposium, Aug 30 – Sept 1 (Leuven, Belgium)
  • Strategic Materials Conference (SMC 2023), Oct 20 – 24 (San Jose, CA)

Click here for upcoming webinars.

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