The Week In Review: Manufacturing & Design

Tensions with China; Applied-TEL update; Bacus survey; SEMI’s call for papers.


Tensions between the U.S. and China are growing. In a research report, Gus Richard, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said: “The technology sector is being impacted by U.S./Chinese tensions over cybersecurity. The combination of Huawei being blocked from doing business in the United States and the Snowden affair are impacting U.S. tech companies’ prospects in China. China’s state-run media identified eight US companies—Cisco, IBM, Google, Qualcomm, Intel, Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft as security threats. Evidence of tension (is) building between China and U.S. technology companies. In Q3, IBM reported a 22% drop in China revenue, leading to a 4% decline in its third quarter profit. Cisco report last quarter that China was down 10% as it works through the challenging political dynamics in that country. China’s National Development and Reform Commission is investigating Qualcomm under its anti-monopoly laws. In September 2013, a different agency-the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, a Chinese regulatory agency, commenced an informal review of Broadcom’s compliance with China’s antitrust laws.’’

In recent years, the flat-panel display mask industry has been plagued by excessive capacity. Most mask makers and their suppliers have struggled to remain profitable. However, in 2013 this trend changed directions, according to DisplaySearch.

Applied Materials and TEL recently held a roundtable in Japan to discuss the merger of equals announced on Sept. 24, 2013. Executives provided updates on the rationale behind the merger.

In a video, photomask veteran Brian Grenon discussed what surprised him most about the recent eBeam Initiative survey.

Eric Choh, GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 plant mananger in Malta, is leaving the company, according to The Times Union.

SEMI reported that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings reached $7.65 billion in the third quarter of 2013. The billings figure is 1% higher than the second quarter of 2013 and 16% lower than the same quarter a year ago.

SEMI announced a call for papers for the new Semiconductor Technology Symposium, the TechXPOT programs, and a new Science Park program featuring university research and advanced R&D subjects at Semicon West. The event will be held July 8-10 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. Presentation abstracts are due March 17, 2014.

Soitec and Intelligent Epitaxy Technology have signed a collaborative agreement to better serve the GaAs market.

Soitec has been informed that the European Commission has approved the financing for the Guépard program. This program was launched to develop a new generation of highly efficient photovoltaic cells.

CEA-Leti announced an agreement with Qualcomm to assess the feasibility and the value of Leti’s sequential 3D technology.

Tessera Technologies announced the appointment of Thomas Lacey as chief executive. Lacey, who was appointed interim CEO in May of 2013, will also continue to serve on board.

Air Products announced that, effective January 1, 2014 or as contracts permit, it will increase prices for fluorinated gases and other process materials supplied by its electronics business.

Shares of Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) fell after one of its plants was shut down on environmental concerns.

SK Hynix and Micron Technology benefited the most from the strong memory market, propelling them both into the top five for the first time in terms of chip rankings, according to Gartner.

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