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The 16th Global Analyst Conference of Huawei was held in Shenzhen, China from April 16 to 18, 2019.
Huawei’s rotating chairman Hu Houkun said at the meeting, “Huawei’s current strategy is to help customers build simpler, stronger and safer 5G networks”. As of April 15, Huawei has signed 40 5G commercial contracts, a significant increase in the number of 30 contracts signed last year. The data is still climbing, and Huawei has won half of the world’s 5G orders.
In addition, according to China Daily News, Huawei’s consumer business exceeded its carrier business in revenue and became the company’s largest source of revenue. It had just completed its goal of $50 billion in revenue two years ahead of schedule - in 2018, it achieved annual revenues of $52.5 billion, up 45% year-on-year.
Was the electronics dip just seasonal this time? Or, did a global slowdown enter in to the picture? How much and how widespread was the damage caused by defective materials from a supplier?
Progress was reported in China-U.S. trade negotiations at the end of the month, but no resolution of forced transfer of technology by foreign companies operating in China has been announced yet. April's talks in the U.S. will be critical to resolving the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
It's complicated! Very complicated!
The Wall Street Journal reported, "U.S. semiconductor companies want no part of any trade deal that calls for stepped-up purchases from China. Washington has pressed Beijing to buy more than $1 trillion in U.S. goods and services as part of an agreement, and China has offered to buy $30 billion of U.S. chips over six years. But U.S. chip makers have told President Trump’s administration not to include them, Bob Davis reports.
Why? Because U.S. production costs are so high, mandatory-purchase quotas would essentially force U.S. chip makers to open new factories in China and give Beijing bureaucrats more sway over the U.S. firms. That would benefit Chinese competitors and make the U.S. firms more dependent on Beijing, executives at the U.S. companies fear. “The market should determine commercial success, not government fiat,” said John Neuffer, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association."
Meanwhile, the apparent failure of a sensor and control software in the Boeing 737 Max aircraft has cast a pall over the industry and once again raises the question of challenges in reliability, training and AI software.
Major semiconductor companies reported a marked decline in consolidated revenue last month due to seasonal factors and disruption from the Lunar New Year holiday according to the Taipei Times.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, saw revenue drop 22% to $1.97 billion from the previous month. TSMC said that the decline was 5.8% on an annual basis.
United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), the world’s No. 3 contract chipmaker, reported that February's sales were the lowest in three years, while Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp, which makes controller chips used in LCD panels, saw monthly turnover fall to the lowest in the past year.
UMC’s consolidated revenue fell 11.3% month-on-month and 12.15% year-on-year to $343 million, the lowest since March 2016.
Zion Market Research says that the global printed electronic market will reach $10.3 billion by 2021. The company has issued a new report covering substrates and inks by technology (flexography, ink-jet printing, gravure printing and screen printing) for sensors, displays, batteries, RFID, lighting and photovoltaics. The report is said to provide a global industry perspective, a comprehensive analysis, and a forecast.
The global solder balls market is projected to grow to $324 million by 2025 according to Transparency Market Research.
Transparency Market Research has published a new report titled “Solder Balls Market (Alloy Type: Lead Solder Balls and Lead Free Solder Balls; Solder Type: Eutectic and Non-Eutectic; Size Type: Up to 100um, 100um - 400um and 400um & above) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2017-2025.”
According to the report, the global solder balls market was valued at $187 Million in 2016 and is likely to reach $ 323.7 Million by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 6.3% between 2017 and 2025.
Key players operating in the global solder balls market are Duksan Metal Co. Ltd., Senju Metal Industry Co. Ltd., Indium Corporation, Nippon Micrometal Corporation, and Hitachi Metals Nanotech Co. Ltd.
Analysts say that ASE Technology Holding Co (ASE), the world’s biggest chip packager and tester, could see sales drop 20% this quarter from last quarter’s NT$3.7 billion.
Taiwan PCB maker Apex International remains optimistic about its sales performance this year. The company reported consolidated revenues of $32.3 million for January 2019, up 17.5% sequentially and 15.8% on year.
Apex expects its expanding business in the automotive sector will make a positive contribution to company revenues in 2019.
Combined revenues of Taiwan’s top-3 foundries - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), United Microelectronics (UMC) and Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) - are expected to fall 23.4% sequentially and 17% on year to US$8.27 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to Digitimes Research.
A seasonal slowdown in smartphone chip orders, disappointing sales of the new iPhones, and unfavorable market conditions discouraging fabless chipmakers from building up stockpiles will drag down these foundries’ revenues during the quarter, acccording to Digitimes.
Digitimes Research also identified the impact of defective chemical materials on TSMC’s production earlier in the first quarter as another cause of the drops in the combined revenues generated by Taiwan’s top-3 foundries during the quarter.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi said that its fourth-quarter net profit more than tripled to $275.59 million).
The results show Xiaomi is doing well in a slowing Chinese smartphone market, the world’s biggest, by increasing its focus on markets such as India and Europe.
Sales for the full 2018 calendar year were $26.1 billion with a net profit of $1.3 billion. Revenue from outside China in the 4th quarter of 2018 were 40% of the total.
The company stated that it is renewing its commitment to the “Make in India” initiative by inaugurating its seventh manufacturing plant in India. The 1 million square foot facility will be set up in Tamil Nadu in partnership with Flex.
Xiaomi has also announced that plans to do PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly) assembly as well in the country which will lead to sourcing components worth 65% of the price of the device locally. The company also stressed the fact that it employs over 20,000 people in its Indian manufacturing operations, of which 95% are women employees.
The complexities and costs of electric vehicle development has contributed to increases in intercompany collaborations between major companies, often between competitors.
Ford and Volkswagon to share technology for electric and self-driving vehicles
BMW and Daimler to share services and electric charging points
Audi, BMW, and Daimler to buy a digital mapping company
Daimler and Uber for autonomous driving vehicles
BMW, Intel and Mobileye (Israel) to develop a self-driving car
Fiat Chrysler and Google for self-driving cars
Shouldn't smaller companies emulate this activity, perhaps through consortia?
The IPC has joined the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.