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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

OSAT rankings; TSMC and Huawei; NIWeek.

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Packaging and test
In the rankings, ASE was the top OSAT in terms of sales in the first quarter of 2019, according to TrendForce. Amkor and JCET were next in the rankings. “Judging from the falling phone sales 1Q19 impacted by the U.S.-China trade dispute and the oversupply situation in memory markets, the total revenue of the top ten businesses in packaging and testing are predicted to stand at US$4.71 billion, a 11.8% decline YoY,” according to the firm.

At NIWeek, National Instruments has made several announcements. First, NI announced the mmWave Vector Signal Transceiver (VST), which addresses the test challenges of 5G mmWave transceivers and power amplifiers. In addition, NI has demonstrated a 5G mmWave wafer probe test solution it developed in collaboration with TEL, FormFactor and Reid-Ashman. NI has also announced the latest version of SystemLink software. SystemLink can help engineers improve operational efficiency by offering a single interface to quickly set up and manage software, tests and assets across multiple facilities and test benches.

ATE giant Advantest has announced new directors and executives.

Chipmakers
In a research note, John Vinh, an analyst at KeyBanc, said: “The U.S. Department of Commerce has effectively banned Huawei from buying components from U.S. companies by listing them on the Entity list. The companies in our universe with meaningful Huawei exposure include QRVO, SYNA, QCOM, XLNX, CRUS, SLAB, ADI, ON, and TXN.”

Apparently, though, TSMC says it can continue delivering semiconductors to Huawei, according to a report from Nikkei. TSMC makes chips for HiSilicon, the design unit of Huawei. Here’s another article on the subject.

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Marvell has entered into definitive agreements to purchase Avera Semiconductor, the ASIC business of GlobalFoundries. Recently, GlobalFoundries also sold fabs in East Fishkill, N.Y. and Singapore.

Fab tools
In a video, Jan Willis from the eBeam Initiative sits down with Harry Levinson of HJL Lithography to talk about his new ventures in lithography as well as what’s driving the increase in computation time for EUV.

Market research
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.91 billion in billings worldwide in April of 2019, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 4.7% higher than the final March 2019 level of $1.82 billion, and is 29.0% lower than the April 2018 billings level of $2.69 billion. “April billings of North American equipment manufacturers increased five percent when compared to the prior month,” said Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI. “While it is premature to call this upturn an inflection point in this cycle, the current improvement clearly reflects expenditures for advancing technology roadmaps.”

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Sales of smart speakers in China in the first quarter of 2019 grew by more than 500% year-on-year, according to Strategy Analytics. “The global market shares of Chinese brands therefore rose much closer to Amazon and Google, although the U.S. giants remained in first and second place respectively,” according to the firm. “Chinese demand was boosted by promotional activities around the Chinese New Year, and Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia smart displays proved particularly popular.”

Strategy Analytics has now increased its forecast for full-year 2019 global shipments by 10% to 147.7 million units. “For the first time China has become the world’s largest market for smart speakers. This was partly because the first quarter is traditionally a period of strong demand, but it also signals the arrival of smart speakers as one of the hottest consumer technologies in China, just as they have been in North America and parts of Europe for the past couple of years. We expect China’s love affair with smart speakers and displays to continue for some time to come,” said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics.

David Mercer, vice president at Strategy Analytics, added, “Major Chinese tech players like Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi see smart speakers as a key strategic play, just as Amazon and Google have done in western markets. Building mass market voice UI platforms will support the evolution of existing and new digital services as well as driving significant new revenue opportunities. For the moment the Chinese domestic market is the focus but the time will come when these firms will look elsewhere for growth.”



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