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The ZTE situation was resolved for $1 billion plus a $400 million escrow account which will be forfeit if it violates Iran and North Korea sanctions. The company must also replace its senior management within 30 days. The "settlement with the U.S. has broader impacts, e.g., China may now sign off on Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP.
The month started with news of 6.2 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., many of them blue collar as well as high-paid semi-skilled labor. One has to wonder how fast this nation can gear up to train workers and fill the jobs.
On the other hand, a number of this year's graduates with B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics from such noted schools as RPI, several years of R&D work in university physics laboratories with published papers, experienced in mathematical modeling, and with grade point averages above 3.0 are still unemployed and seeking jobs.
See our Comments & Discussion page for thoughts on this topic by the president of IMI.
Reducing PCB real estate
TSMC has a new way to boost the power of graphics cards by Nvidia and AMD without making them physically larger. The technology is called wafer-on-wafer, and mimics 3D NAND memory technology used in modern solid-state drives by stacking layers vertically rather than spreading the hardware horizontally across the printed circuit board, which would require additional physical space.
TSMC discovered a way to stack two wafers in a single package. The upper wafer is flipped over onto the lower wafer, and then both are bonded together. Moreover, the upper wafer contains the in/out connection thru-silicon vias. As a result the two wafers are packaged using flip-chip technology The system appears to be economically feasible (due to yields) on circuits with >16 nanometer features. Source: Digital Trends
Platform Specialty Products announced that its MacDermid Performance Solutions business successfully closed the strategic acquisition of HiTech Korea, a provider of non-conductive electronic adhesives that serve a variety of end-markets including mobile phones, automotive, camera modules and LEDs for consumer devices. The business is based in South Korea with an additional presence in Vietnam.
NOW is the time to put this on your calendar!
Monday, January 28, 2019 - San Diego at IPC APEX EXPO
7:30 am – 5:00 pm
EMS Management Council Meeting
7:30 am – 1:30 pm
IPC Design Forum
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
IPC Standards Development Committee Meetings
8:30am – 5:00pm
PCB Supply Chain Meeting: Executive Forum on Automotive Electronics*
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Professional Development Courses
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Professional Development Courses
*A unique global top to bottom systems overview with speakers from Europe and Asia as well as the U.S. Several case histories will be included.
The IPC provided comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on the domestic impact of proposed tariff rate increases on Chinese imports in a letter to The Honorable Robert Lighthizer U.S. Trade Representative. It explained the global nature and interdependencies of our industries after polling its membership.
New embedded components package
The BMBF INTAKT (interactive microimplants) innovation cluster, beat out around 1,000 other entries to be crowned one of the 100 innovative prize winners at the “Extraordinary Places in the Land of Ideas 2017” competition.
The goal of INTAKT, which is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology (IBMT), is to develop the next generation of active integrated implants. The developmental focus of these innovative adaptive systems lies in a completely redesigned interaction between humans and technology; specifically between the patients and their implants as well as the attending physician.
Würth Elektronik, a member of the cluster took on responsibility for the development of the electronics for the implant. As part of their responsibilities, they were able to come up with a thin and moldable circuit carrier. The goal was to push the limits of miniaturization while also increasing the device’s functionality. They achieved this by integrating sensors, ASICs and energy components into the PCB. They move das many components as possible to the inner layers of the circuit board. It allowed the implants to be discreetly placed in the body while also retaining reliable effectiveness.
Würth Elektronik is researching new biocompatible materials, the properties that make such materials biocompatible, as well how to process the materials for circuit board production. Moreover, Wurth tested new approaches in order to successfully transfer energy using etched planar coils or embedded inductivity.
Orbotech, who announced that it will be acquired by KLA-Tencor last month, said that its first quarter sales increased 34% over the same period last year to $250.6 million. Printed circuit board segment revenues were $87.1 million, up from $77.5 million last year. Gross profit and gross margin in the quarter were $117.9 million and 47.1%, respectively, compared with $87.1 million and 46.4%, respectively, in 2017.
Orbotech also announced new orders of approximately $50 million from one of the world's top 10 flexible printed circuit fabricators, Career Technology of Taiwan.
Memory chipmakers Nanya Technology, Winbond Electronics, and Macronix International have reported on-year increases in consolidated revenues of 77.9%, 23.4% and 41.7%, respectively, for April 2018.
DRAM firm Nanya posted April revenues of $257.8 million, hitting a record high. source: Digitimes
Brazil ended the first quarter of 2018 with 11.1% annual growth in the production of electric and electronic goods, thanks to an increase of 26.1% in the production of electronics. The figures come from the state statistics office IBGE and were aggregated by the Brazilian Electrical and Electronic Industry Association (Abinee).
In the electronic goods segment, the production of computer equipment increased by 26.3%, while the production of audio and video equipment grew by 47.4 %.
The end of this year long saga will meet the wishes of the Japanese government
Reuters in Tokyo reported that China regulators have approved the $18 billion sale of Toshiba’s chip unit to a consortium led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital. The deal is expected to be completed on June 1.
The takeover consortium includes South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix, Apple, Dell Technologies, Seagate Technology, and Kingston Technology.
Toshiba will reinvest in the unit with Hoya, a maker of parts for chip devices, allowing Japanese companies to retain more than 50% of the business.
Circuit Foil in Luxembourg's TWLS and TZA electrodeposited copper foils are now arsenic-free. All traces of arsenic have been removed from the treatment process.
There is no change in the base copper foil or its properties.
Contactless charging of electric and hybrid vehicles
BMW will start production of its cutting-edge inductive charging system in July. Its charging pad system will work with many of the German carmaker’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, beginning with the 5-series 530e iPerformance.
It will be available to European customers by the end of the summer. The company is expected to start a pilot program in the U.S. limited to 530e drivers in California later in the year.
BMW’s charging technology comprises a base pad with an integrated primary coil that can be installed in a garage or outside. “An alternating magnetic field is generated between the two coils, through which electricity is transmitted without cables or contacts at a charge rate of up to 3.2kW,” the Munich-based automaker explains. “This form of power supply to the high-voltage battery involves a charging time of around 3.5 hours.”
BMW says the inductive charging system’s field strength falls well within regulatory limits, while the electromagnetic radiation it produces is less than that of a typical kitchen hotplate.
A "5G plus 8k" industry alliance comprising 16 companies, including Oriental Pearl, China Telecom Shanghai branch, BesTV, and Foxconn. was founded in Shanghai this month.
The alliance will focus on ultra high-definition video transferred on 5G networkso be commercially available in China in 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.
The 5G technologywill provide speeds 20 to 50 times faster than 4G networks. China Telecom has already started 5G trial networks in six cities nationwide including Shanghai.
It's not easy - it takes more than size!
Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to turn some of the carmaker’s new T6 Transporter vans into Apple’s self-driving shuttles for employees — a project that is behind schedule and consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention, said three people familiar with the project.
Apple’s deal with Volkswagen, which has not been previously reported, and the failure of its talks with other automakers reflect the continuing travails and diminished scope of the company’s four-year-old car program.
FLEX Taiwan debuts June 7, 2018 at the Taipei International Convention Center (TICC), showcasing the latest flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) technology, innovations and industry insights.
2018FLEX Taiwan will cover key technical advancements in:
Featuring 14 keynote speeches, 2018FLEX Taiwan brings together leaders across the semiconductor, flat panel display, sensor and the entire microelectronics industries.
"Day-by-Day", the ZTE and Impending Trade War Saga
Nanya Technology, Taiwan's biggest DRAM chipmaker, will apply for a permit to provide chips to ZTE. The company said it has been notified about restrictions on shipments to ZTE, and that the ban would have limited effect on its operation. The company sid on May 9 that it is preparing to apply for a permit to continue shipping chips to ZTE Corp as export restrictions took a new turn due to a US-China trade spat.
Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek has alreadyreceived approval to resume shipping chips to ZTE.
ZTE, China’s second biggest telecom equipment maker main business operations have ceased due to a ban imposed by the U.S. government. The U.S. ban prevents ZTE from using some Qualcomm processors and Android devices with Google Mobile Services software. The Chinese firm is trying to have the ban modified or reversed, it said in exchange filings late on May 9. - From the press in Japan and China
Hit with the seven-year ban on American technology exports April 16 for illegally shipping equipment to Iran, the company has halted smartphone sales in China. Since it does significant business with U.S. and Japanese parts suppliers, prolonged stoppages to production and sales will also worsen the impact on the global smartphone supply chain. Partly state-owned ZTE was also the ninth-largest smartphone vendor in China last year and fourth in the U.S. Ranked ninth in the world, the company is one of the first major victims of intensifying Sino-American trade frictions.
A senior ZTE official said that the company paid over $2.3 billion to 211 U.S. exporters in 2017 including over $100 million each to Qualcomm, Broadcom, Intel, and Texas Instruments. In March of 2017 ZTE paid nearly $900 million in penalties for exporting U.S. technology to Iran and North Korea in violation of sanctions. American companies are estimated to provide 25% to 30% of the components used in ZTE’s equipment.
ZTE is also reported to have paid over $100 million each to other U.S. suppliers in 2017 including chip makers Xilinx and optical component company Acacia Communications as well as memory chip maker Sandisk.
The ban also hurts ZTE’s ability to provide services, such as repairs to infrastructure, to customers in other countries and regions in which it operates. ZTE provides services for 100 million users in India, 300 million users in Indonesia, and 29 million users in Italy, the official said.
President Trump "tweeted" on May 13, "President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"
On May 21 the impending U.S. and retaliatory China duties were placed on hold pending the outcome of a new framework under which China would increase its purchases of American agricultural and liquefied natural gas (and other) products, ZTE would pay a large fine while changing its board of directors, and China would also provide added protections for IP.
On May 22 China said it will reduce auto import duties from 25% to 15% effective July 1 following pledges to buy more U.S. goods and end restrictions on foreign ownership in the industry.
On May 25 a tentative agreement was reached with the U.S. administration under which ZTE would pay another fine ($1.3 billion this time) and buy a large amount of components from the U.S. - But, Congress is opposed to it based on what has been released so far.
The WSJ reported from Beijing on the 26th that Chinese authorities are set to approve Qualcomm planned $44 billion acquisition of Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors NV in the next few days, according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be another significant step toward easing frayed U.S.-China trade relations.
On May 29 the White House said that the administration would proceed with its proposal to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods from China, and place new limits on Chinese investments in U.S. high-tech industries.
The final list of covered imports subject to tariffs will be announced by June 15. Proposed investment restrictions will be announced by June 30. The tariffs and investment restrictions will take effect at a later date.
China has been looking to accelerate plans to develop its semiconductor market to reduce its heavy reliance on imports and has invited overseas investors to invest in the country’s top state-backed chip fund.
Two major Chinese companies are setting up SMT for smartphones and TVs in India to beat new cost increases due to new duties
Chinese handset and telecom equipment maker Huawei is starting PCB assembly by setting up its SMT line in partnership with its contract manufacturing partner, Flex, in Sriperumbudur near Chennai. ”The deployment of the SMT line is in full swing. We will achieve full capacity in the next two months. This is going to swell our growth to get into top three brands,” said P. Sanjeev, Vice President Sales, Huawei India - Consumer Business Group. 100% of Huawei's smartphones for the "local market" will have India assembled PCBs within two months.The executive also informed that the brand has been heavily impacted by the recent rupee fluctuation and the PCBA duty. Xiaomi, India’s top smartphone vendor recently increased the prices of smartphones and television sets, following the government’s move to impose 10% duty on imports of populated printed circuit boards (PCBs), camera modules and connectors.Xiaomi, however, has also started PCB assembling in Sriperumbudur in collaboration with its Taiwanese manufacturing partner, Foxconn.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's electronic exports hit a new April high
Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said that its export orders in April posted year-on-year gains for the 20th time in the last 21 months, increasing 9.8% to $39.11 billion. Export orders placed with Taiwan-based electronic components and machinery suppliers hit record highs last month.
Orders for electronic components increased y-o-y 12.1% to $10.18 billion with strong demand for ICs, servers, and PCBs for a growing range of applications in high performance computing, the IoT, automotive electronics, and gaming PCs.
Still growing creating new opportunities
Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to grow for the third consecutive year in 2018 to $450 billion, up 7.7% over 2017, according to a new Semiconductor Applications Forecaster (SAF) from International Data Corporation (IDC). The overall memory market was the key story of last year, due to strong demand, limited supply, and product mix constraints. Non-memory semiconductors are forecast to grow $11 billion to $302 billion in 2018.
Revenue concentration continued to increase with the top 10 companies making up 60% of the semiconductor market. “Market consolidation in the semiconductor industry over the past five years continues to shape the competitive landscape for semiconductor suppliers as each company continues to refine its core markets and make acquisitions to find new and emerging sectors for growth. The pace of change and technology is expected to accelerate as machine learning and autonomous systems enable a more diverse set of architectures to address the opportunity. This will fuel the engine of growth for semiconductor technology over the next decade,” said Mario Morales, program vice president, Semiconductors at IDC.
The automotive market will continue to be the leading area of growth , growing at a 9.6% CAGR from 2017-2022. “The key drivers of electrification, connectivity and infotainment, advanced driver assistance (ADAS), and autonomous driving features will continue to drive the growth of semiconductor content on a per vehicle basis,” said Nina Turner, research manager for Semiconductors at IDC.
Volkswagen is opening two more new factories in the world’s biggest auto market, China, with its local partner FAW Group. The new facilities will be in Tianjin and Foshan. It opened another this month in Qingdao. The new facilities will focus on making sport-utility and electric vehicles.