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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Tariffs; electric car IPO; China III-V foundry.

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Trade wars
The United States and China have escalated the ongoing trade war. Both sides have implemented 25% tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other’s goods, according to a report from Reuters. The U.S. and China have slapped a combined $100 billion in tariffs on products since early July, according to the report.

In testimony before a U.S. government interagency panel on considering tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, SEMI called for the removal of nearly 100 tariff lines. These items “cover items critical to the semiconductor manufacturing process, including materials and machines,” said Jay Chittooran, public policy manager at SEMI, in a blog.

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Sage Chandler, vice president of international trade at the U.S.-based Consumer Technology Association (CTA), testified before the U.S. Trade Representative to warn the Trump Administration that tariffs will cost the U.S. money and jobs.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, added: “The Trump administration’s ‘strategy’ of using tariffs to punish China for intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer is not working. Instead, it is damaging to American businesses and consumers. Not only is the White House failing to change China’s behavior on IP, but it is also putting extreme pressure on American innovation and businesses that invent, design and engineer their IP in the United States.

“Tariffs are a tax on Americans and are paid to the detriment of the U.S. economy, workers and consumers. A study done earlier this year shows tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports – coupled with retaliation by China – would reduce U.S. GDP by nearly $3 billion annually and put hundreds of thousands of American jobs at risk. No wonder 90 percent of economist say tariffs will hurt us.

“The Trump administration has prioritized economic policies – such as tax reform – to help American workers and businesses. But if the administration continues to implement tariffs, our country will face a weaker economy, job losses and American families stuck with a higher cost of living.”

Chipmakers and OEMs
UMC recently announced plans to list its China unit on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Shareholders have now approved UMC’s subsidiary, HeJian Technology, to apply for listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

China’s Sanan Integrated Circuit, a pure-play compound semiconductor foundry, has announced its entry into the North American, European, and Asia-Pacific markets with a III-V technology platform. The company’s 6-inch fab provides several technologies, such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) HBT, pHEMT, BiHEMT, integrated passive devices (IPDs), filters, gallium nitride (GaN) power HEMT, silicon carbide (SiC), and indium phosphide (InP). Founded in 2014, Xiamen-based Sanan IC is a subsidiary of Sanan Optoelectronics, an LED chip manufacturing company, based on GaN and GaAs technologies.

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Chinese electric car startup NIO, which translates to “Blue Sky Coming” in its Chinese name, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company recently began to generate revenues, but it has incurred net losses of RMB2,573.3 million, RMB5,021.2 million (US$758.8 million) and RMB3,325.5 million (US$502.6 million) in 2016, 2017 and the six months ended June 30, 2018, respectively, according to the filing.

NIO’s first car, rolled out in 2016, was the EP9. The EP9 set a world record as the then fastest all-electric car on the track, according to the filing. The company began shipping its second car, the ES8, on June 28, 2018. The ES8 is a 7-seater electric SUV. “It is equipped with our proprietary electric powertrain system, which is capable of accelerating from zero to 100 km per hour in 4.4 seconds and delivering a New European Driving Cycle, or NEDC, driving range of up to 355 km and a maximum range of up to 500 km in a single charge,” according to the filing. “As of July 31, 2018, we had delivered 481 ES8s and had unfulfilled reservations for more than 17,000 ES8s with deposits.

“The ES8 is the first car in China to have an all-aluminum body and chassis featuring aerospace grade 7003 series aluminum alloy, enabling a torsional stiffness of 44,140 Nm/Deg, and also features the highest amount of aluminum for any mass production car yet,” according to the filing. “Together with the launch of the ES8 in 2017, we launched our NIO Pilot system which we expect to be activated on our ES8 in the near future. Our NIO Pilot advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS, with comprehensive enhanced Level 2 autonomous driving features, is enabled by 23 sensors, including a trifocal front-facing camera, four surround exterior cameras, five millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a driver monitor camera. The ES8 comes equipped with the Mobileye EyeQ4 ADAS chip which has a computation capacity eight-times more powerful than its predecessor, the Mobileye EyeQ3.”

The company plans to launch another electric vehicle, the ES6, by the end of 2018. The ES6 is a 5-seater and set at a lower price point than the ES8. “The ES8 has a base price of RMB448,000 (US$65,116) before subsidies,” according to the filing. “The ES6 is being developed based on the same advanced electric vehicle platform as the ES8. The ES6 will be smaller and more affordable than the ES8, with pricing expected to be approximately RMB80,000 to RMB100,000 less than the ES8. We believe that the ES6 will allow us to target a broader market in the premium SUV segment.”

Fab materials
Soitec and MBDA have announced the joint acquisition of Dolphin Integration, a Grenoble, France-based provider of semiconductor design, silicon IP and system-on-chip solutions for low-power applications. The acquisition will result in a joint venture between Soitec and MBDA . The resulting ownership of the joint venture is as follows: Soitec at 60% and MBDA at 40%. MBDA is a European developer and manufacturer of missiles.

Linde’s previously-announced merger with Praxair will require the two companies to sell more assets than planned, according to a report from Bloomberg, which could put the deal in jeopardy.

Market research
IC Insights released its rankings of the top-25 semiconductor suppliers in terms of sales in the first half of 2018. “Intel was the number one ranked semiconductor supplier in 1Q17 but lost its lead spot to Samsung in 2Q17 as well as in the full-year 2017 ranking, a position it had held since 1993,” according to the research firm. In addition, SK Hynix jumped to third place, surpassing TSMC.



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