Messe München announced that
November's electronica 2020 will be held digitally due to increasingly stringent travel restrictions in
SEMI, the industry association serving the global electronics design and manufacturing supply chain, released the following statement in response to the new export control rule changes announced by the United States Commerce Department.
"SEMI recognizes the role of export control measures to address threats to U.S. national security. However, we are very concerned the new export control regulations issued on August 17, 2020, by the U.S. Department of Commerce will ultimately undermine U.S. national security interests by harming the semiconductor industry in the U.S. and creating substantial uncertainty and disruption in the semiconductor supply chain. On July 14, in public comments on the May 15 regulations, SEMI cautioned that those relatively narrow actions created unique disincentives to purchase U.S.-origin semiconductor equipment and design software and had already resulted in $17 million lost sales of U.S-origin items to firms unrelated to Huawei.
Commerce’s decision to significantly expand these unilateral restrictions will likely lead to more lost sales, eroding the customer base for U.S-origin items. The new restrictions will also fuel a perception that the supply of U.S. technology is unreliable and lead non-U.S. customers to call for the design-out of U.S. technology. Meanwhile, these actions further incentivize efforts to supplant these U.S. technologies.
SEMI respectfully requests Commerce immediately extend to 120 days the savings clause for items in production before August 17, ensure predictable and timely license decisions for all items and significant flexibility for licenses unrelated to 5G items. We also urge the administration to pursue policies with fewer unintended consequences and damage to U.S. technology leadership. Revenue from global sales is a major source of U.S. research and development (R&D) funding in these technologies; lost global revenue will lead to a decrease in R&D, undermining U.S. semiconductor innovation and thereby harming national security."
There are bumps in the road to recovery. They include scheduling labor and support engineering for production lines, budgeting for changes in Covid-19 era operations, adjusting production schedules and procedures, avoiding/reducing the flow of red ink, and rationalizing direct and contract staff - all this as we attempt to determine what the new buzzword "upskilling" means to us. Where is it needed? How do we identify the staff that needs training as we limp into this digital world? Who can we provide what we need? How do we verify it? That resurrects and heightens the need for trust. Where do we go and how do we determine trusted partners for future collaboration and upskilling?
Sanmina Corporation has announced that Jure Sola, the company's co-founder and Executive Chairman, will reassume the Chairman and CEO position to lead Sanmina through its next strategic phase during the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hartmut Liebelleft after less than 11 months on the job.
To align with Sanmina's new vision of maximizing shareholder value, the company plans to organize into three segments – Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), SCI (defense products and system builds) and Components Technology (advanced interconnect technology and mechanical systems). Sanmina will provide further details on its fourth quarter earnings call.
Continued moves from China by Taiwan flexible circuit makers
Zhen Ding Technology plans to set up a new plant in Southern Taiwan Science Park at a cost of more than $680 million pending government approval. It will be dedicated to production for high-end applications with capacity equal to that of its major production plants in China. The company has also set up a new plant in India to handle backend module assembly.
Flexium Interconnect is stepping up construction of a new plant in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan for production of LCP (liquid crystal polymer)-based flexible antenna boards for 5G iPhones.
Makers of PCBs for networking and server applications have also moved to set up production plants in Southeast Asia to mitigate possible impacts of US-China trade tensions according to the Digitimes.
3nm and 2 nm nodes? That is almost beyond my imagination
Taipei's August 21 Digitimes had a news item by Jesse Shen that boggles the mind. It reported that TSMC's online technology symposium on August 25 will provide updates about ite advanced process technology including 3nm and 2nm process nodes, as well as its extended 5nm process family.
TSMC will also demonstrate its advanced packaging technology, particularly its latest 3D SoIC packaging technology that will be ready for volume production in 2021. The contract chipmaker has already moved its EUV-based 5nm process technology to volume production.
In addition, the company continues to advance its wafer-level packaging technology with new-generation CoWoS and InFO, while also pursuing more advanced and multi-function packaging technologies for heterogeneous chips. In particular, the foundry has made progress in the development of 3D heterogeneous integration technology to support proliferating 5G, AI, IoT, and automotive electronics applications.
Dateline: Aug. 11th, 2020
Goods made in Hong Kong for export to the United States will need to be labelled as made in China after Sept. 25, according to a U.S. government notice. The move follows China’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong and a U.S. decision to end the former British colony’s special status under U.S. law.
The latest step will see Hong Kong companies subject to the same trade war tariffs levied on mainland Chinese exporters, should they make products subject to these duties, said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection notice. It said that 45 days after its publication, goods “must be marked to indicate that their origin is ‘China’”. Source: Reuters
Nan Ya PCB saw its net profits soar nearly 80% sequentially to $28.36 million in the second quarter of 2020, a sharp improvement from operating losses seen last year. earlier, according to industry sources. The gains were the result of strong shipments of both ABF and BT substrates.
ABF substrates contributed over 40% of Na Ya’s revenues, compared with 30% for BT substrates and the remainder for other PCB products. Nan Ya PCB maintained full capacity utilization for ABF substrates in the second quarter and expects to do so in the third quarter on applications for new HPC chips.
Its capacity utilization for BT substrates will ramp up to 95% in the third quarter from 80% due primarioly to increasing shipments of BT-based SiP substrates for handset camera modules and Apple Watch. Source: Digitimes
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced new sanctions on August 17 eliminate Huawei's access to advanced computer chips. These restrict any foreign semiconductor company from selling chips developed or produced using U.S. software or technology to Huawei, without first obtaining a license to do so.
Quanxin Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (Jinan), better known as QXIC, and Wuhan Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacting, or HSMC, have each employed more than 50 former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC} veteran engineers and managers since last year. Both are also led by ex-TSMC executives with established reputations in the chip world. They aim to develop 14-nanometer and 12-nanometer chip process technologies, which are two to three generations behind TSMC but still the most cutting-edge in China. Both companies are backed by China's government.
Hongxin and QXIC, founded in 2017 and 2019 respectively and government backed, are part of a recent boom in China’s semiconductor industry as Beijing prioritizes self-sufficiency in key tech areas impacted by tensions with Washington. Source: Nikkei Asian Review
Not so rare a move these days
In the wake of supply disruptions of certain metals caused by the covid-19 pandemic, Japan has decided to ramp up government control over strategic reserves of 34 rare metals and increasing inventories of some strategically important metals such as cobalt.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry urged more flexibility in determining inventory levels for each rare metal, after taking into account their strategic importance, geopolitical risks and domestic demand. For national security considerations, the department asked the Shinzo Abe cabinet to keep inventory targets and actual stockpile levels secret.
“Japan has designated 34 ‘rare metals’ – including rare earths – as having the potential for stockpiling and currently holds reserves of seven — nickel, chrome, tungsten, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese and vanadium,” according to an Argus report.
Japan has also been securing its external supply of rare earths. Back in June 2019, Japan Australia Rare Earths BV (JARE), a joint venture between state-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and Sojitz Corporation, approved a generous financing package for Australia’s Lynas Corporation, expanding the country’s control over the company’s rare earths output.
The deal was signed amid China’s threats to use its market supply dominance as a weapon in the trade war with the United States.