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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

OSAT rankings; Panasonic exits IC biz; 5G confusion.

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Packaging and test
TrendForce has released its top-10 OSAT rankings in terms of sales for the third quarter of 2019. ASE was in first place in the rankings, followed by Amkor and JCET. “According to the latest research from TrendForce, the decline in the global OSAT industry showed signs of a gradual halt in 3Q19, since the drop in memory prices began to slow down, and smartphone sales steadily recovered. The top ten OSAT providers posted a total revenue of US$6 billion in 3Q19, a 10.1% growth YoY and 18.7% growth QoQ, indicating that the market as a whole is well on its way to recovery.”

ASE has transformed its water recycling plant into a Green Technology Learning Center. The center, located at the Kaohsiung Nantze Export Processing Zone, aims to promote the concept of a sustainable environment through the use of learning materials to educate the public on water resources and the adoption of green technologies. In addition, ASE recently hosted the ASE Group supplier award ceremony. Each year, the event honors suppliers that had demonstrated outstanding performance in categories, such as technology, quality, cost, service as well as sustainability.

USI, a member of ASE, has announced the launch of a wireless module, also known as the Alexa Connect Kit, which can fully support the Amazon Alexa Voice Service.

OptimalPlus has opened a new German office and announced a strategic partnership with ZF, a supplier of systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology.

Fab tools and materials
In a video, Ajay Baranwal of the Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing (CDLe), describes five deep learning recipes designed to tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing the mask making industry.

Soitec has reported consolidated sales of 258.5 million euros in first half of fiscal 2020, up 38.3% from the like period a year ago. The group’s consolidated net profit amounted to 41.5 million euros in H1’20, up 28% compared with a net profit of 32.6 million euros recorded in H1’19. “Given the high production level reached in the last quarter, and the product mix going forward, the Group now anticipates FY’20 capital expenditure to reach around 110 million euros instead of 130 million euros previously indicated,” according to Soitec.

Showa Denko is making a bid to acquire Hitachi Chemical, according to reports from Nikkei and Bloomberg. The deal could be worth $8.2 billion.

Chipmakers and OEMs
Panasonic is exiting the semiconductor business. Taiwan’s Nuvoton Technology will acquire the semiconductor business of Panasonic mainly operated by Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions (PSCS) in an all-cash transaction. PSCS, located in Nagaokakyo City, Kyoto, is a global supplier of semiconductor devices and solutions with products that focus on image sensors, DSPs, MOSFETs, RF-GaN and laser diodes.

Nuvoton was spun off as a Winbond Electronics affiliate in July 2008 and became public in September 2010 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSEC). Nuvoton is a subsidiary of Winbond, and Winbond holds 62% of shares of Nuvoton with consolidated revenues of about US$1.68 billion as of 2018. Winbond and Nuvoton together own one 6-inch and one 12-inch wafer fab with 4,300 employees.

In 2014, TowerJazz and Panasonic formed a joint fab venture in Japan called TPSCo. The company is 51% owned by TowerJazz, while 49% is owned by Panasonic. TowerJazz will not sell its TPSCo shares and will maintain its 51% ownership in TPSCo.

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Tesla plans to build a large electric battery production plant in Berlin. “The German Gigafactory will be the first in Europe and the fourth worldwide, joining those in California, New York, and Shanghai. While most German carmakers are speeding up their EV production plans, none of them have to date sold as many full battery EVs as Tesla,” according to Roskill, a market research firm. “The location of a Gigafactory in Germany poses a threat to the domestic auto industry, with Volkswagen CEO declaring publicly in October its respect to Tesla as a competitor: ‘Tesla is not niche. The Model 3 is a large-series model and they are one of the biggest manufacturers of electric-car batteries. We have a lot of respect for Tesla. It’s a competitor we take very seriously.’ ”

Market research
Awareness of 5G is relatively high in the U.S. market, but there is confusion with the next-generation wireless technology, according to Strategy Analytics. “Nearly two thirds of consumers surveyed claimed ‘Basic Familiarity’ or to be ‘Very Familiar’ with 5G, but of this nearly one fifth of consumers already thought they had 5G,” according to the firm. “While one in four consumers in the US listed 5G as an important feature, one in five didn’t yet see a need for 5G, or wanted to wait until the benefits of 5G were proven before purchasing this technology.”

In the third quarter of 2019, Samsung Display reclaimed the top position in the worldwide smartphone display market as the company capitalized on record-high demand for AMOLEDs. Samsung accounted for 29% of smartphone display shipments in the third quarter, up from its 21.3% share during the second quarter, according to IHS Markit, now a part of Informa Tech. The increase propelled Samsung past BOE display to take the market lead for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2018. BOE’s share of the smartphone display market decreased to 19.6%, down from 23.8% in the second quarter of 2019. No.-3 ranked Tianma held a 12.5% share, up from 12.3% in the second quarter, according to the firm.

The Trump Administration’s tariffs have impacted imports from China. “The latest data from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) import database shows that the electronics industry is slowly shifting smartphone production out of China to Vietnam, but that PC and related imports, including monitors, remain almost exclusively from China,” according to DSCC.

Events
Check out upcoming industry events and conferences: Accellera will hold a Proposed Working Group meeting on a potential standard for FMEDA tool interoperability on Dec. 6 at NXP in Munich, Germany. The RISC-V Summit will include talks, an expo, and tutorials on the open ISA Dec. 10-12 in San Jose, CA. Next year, DesignCon will take place January 28-30 in Santa Clara, CA, with a focus on board and high-speed communications design.



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