Tag: MediaTek

US’s ZTE ban backfires

Great-Depression-Unemployment-Line-It seems that the US’s daft ban on ZTE gear is doing more harm to its home-grown businesses which are suffering more.

The U.S. Commerce Department decided to punish ZTE for selling coms gear to the Iranians years ago and issued an export ban on the outfit. However that seems to be punishing a lot of US companies who depend on ZTE’s components or business.

Jose optical-parts maker Oclaro saw its shares plummet because it sells multiple products to ZTE, a maker of mobile devices and telecoms systems.

Chipmaker Integrated Device Technology said the Commerce Department’s ruling “could cause changes to revenue trends” in its quarter ending July 3 its shares fell 1 percent.

Among other suppliers whose shares fell were Lumentum, down 3.3 percent; NeoPhotonics Corp, down 8.6 percent; Fabrinet, down 5.3 percent; Finisar Corp, down 7.7 percent; Inphi Corp, down 7.3 percent; and Skyworks Solutions Inc, down 4.1 percent.
ZTE distributor Avenet fell 1.5 percent.

Qualcomm slid 1.58 percent while its rival MediaTek Inc rose three percent. Any switch by ZTE to replace Qualcomm as a supplier might take several months, because of the need to work out need specifications.

However the worse it yet to come. The worst fallout for US suppliers around ZTE’s telecommunications-infrastructure equipment rather than its handset business.

Still while the US tech industry suffers, at least they can be re-assured that by stuffing themselves up they will be punishing that naughty Chinese telco for breaking a US embargo when the Americans hated the Chinese.

Tsinghua targets two more chip firms

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsThe Chinese state backed company Tsinghua Unigroup wants to buy shares in two Taiwanese chip companies.

The two targets are Siliconware Precision Industry and ChipMOS – it wants to take 25 percent in each of these firms, with the first costing $1.7 billion and the ChipMOS share $347 million, according to Electronics Weekly.

Tsinghua already has a chunk of hard drive firm Western Digital and has attempted to buy US DRAM manufacturer Micron, as well as Taiwanese firms MediaTek and Powertech. The US and Taiwanese governments are believed to have put a spanner in the works for all these three.

According to Electronics Weekly, the Taiwanese government is unlukely to block the investments because they will be minority shares.

The Chinese government has pledged to grow its semiconductor industry over the next five years.

Chinese chips could rival Qualcomm and Mediatek

DSC_6368Beancounters at data analyst TrendForce have been shuffling their tarot cards and have decided that one day that Chinese chip designers will rival the big names like Qualcomm and MediaTek.

The Chinese have been spending a fortune trying to get self-reliance in semiconductors and have spawned a cluster of chip designers.

Trendforce said that China has nine companies that design and sell chips in the global top 50 from just one in 2009. Clients such as Chinese smartphone manufacturers have also helped compatriot chip designers amass a market share of almost a fifth, according to data analyst TrendForce.

Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon and Spreadtrum Communications are rising in prominence as the government ploughs funds into home-grown technology to reduce cyber-security risk, following revelations in 2013 of US global cyber-snooping programs.

It is harder for US tech firms to do business and Qualcomm is facing delays closing licensing agreements. In contrast, sales at Chinese designers are set to surge this year, some by as much as 40 percent.

Chinese chip designers lag top rivals in terms of technology by four to five years yet have the potential to disrupt the global chip supply chain, industry experts and executives said.

China’s list of chip design hopefuls include HiSilicon, Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics which are controlled by state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup. But there is also All Winner Technology, Leadcore, Galaxycore Microelectronics and Goodix Technology.

TSMC has indicated it thinks that the Chinese will become a strong force in a few years particularly in the integrated circuits market.

TSMC co-Chief Executive Officer Mark Liu warned the Chinese that they have to be careful not to just dump a ton of low price chips in the market.

This is what happened when the Chinese tried to develop industries, such as solar panels and liquid crystal displays. In that case the investment led to oversupply and plunging prices.

China to pour $47 billion into chip industry

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsTsinghua Unigroup, a conglomerate backed by the Chinese government, is to plunge $47 billion into the semiconductor business in the next five years.

That’s according to Reuters, which interviewed Tsinghua chairman Zhao Weiguo, who said China wants to become the third biggest semiconductor manufacturer in the world.

Intel, Samsung and Qualcomm hold the first three positions in semiconductor companies worldwide, but that could change because of the amount of money Tsinghua will throw into the chip pot.

Tsinghua has already said it has eyes on buying Mediatek and wanted to buy US memory manufacturer Micron. But moves like these are currently blocked by the Taiwanese and US governments respectively, which want to protect local manufacturers. Micron ruled out being bought  by Tsinghua.

But Tsinghua already has shares in US company Western Digital and Taiwan’s Powertech.

Xiaomi still loves Qualcomm

the-cure-for-st-valentineRumours of a fall-out between Xiaomi and Qualcomm have proved false – the coming Xiaomi Mi5 will have Qualcomm’s new 820 chip under the bonnet.

It had been thought that the pair had an argument over the payment of royalties for 4G/3G modem technology. Other rumours suggested that Xiaomi had been seeing other suppliers.

In fact it was seen talking to MediaTek and it was thought that it was going to get a contract to supply the new Helio X20 series Deca-core processor for the Mi5.

Then when the Mi5 was delayed it was thought that this was because the chip was being swapped over. Now it appears that Mediatek and Xiaomi are just good friends, although it is unclear why the phone was delayed.

Now, IHS market research firm head Kevin Wang, has categorically dismissed all speculations and has said that the Xiaomi Mi5 will indeed come with 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core SoC (System on Chip).

Qualcomm was one of the first firms to invest in Xiaomi’s initial days and still maintains a good rapport with the Chinese company.

This was confirmed when Xiaomi Mi5’s benchmark result surfaced online, confirming the presence of Snapdragon 820 processor.

It is believed that Xiaomi Mi5 will get unveiled on 3 December and hit stores by the year-end or January 2016.

It will be a great relief for Qualcomm which has not had much in the way of good news lately. Xiaomi might have paid up for the licence when it saw what the new Snapdragon could do.

Qualcomm appears to have put the disaster of its 810 chip behind it and come up with rather a nice chip.

Tsinghua eyes up MediaTek

ChinaThe Chinese state backed consortium Tsinghua Unigroup wants to take over successful chip firm Mediatek.

China has a long range plan to grow its semiconductor industry and according to a report in Digitimes, Tsinghua’s chairman Zhao Weiguo said that if Taiwan lifts its ban on Chinese firm, there could well be a merger of the companies.

MediaTek said that it would be happy to talk with Tsinghua in a merger provided that Taiwanese government restrictions were lifted.

Although Taiwan does not allow Chinese companies to take shares in companies on the island, there’s a great deal of self interest in both countries cooperating.

For example, many Taiwanese semiconductor firms have factories in mainland China.

Chip maker predicts poor sales

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsThe Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) makes semiconductors for a number of companies including Qualcomm, Apple, Mediatek and others but it today said revenues for its fourth quarter wouldn’t be as buoyant as it first thought.

TSMC said its revenues would show the first fall in the quarter for four years.

In a statement it said that while its third financial quarter would do better than it expected because of a better exchange rate between the US dollar and the Taiwanese dollar, it expected a decline in its fourth quarter.

Although TSMC did not give a reason for the decline, there’s evidence that slack demand for smartphones and other electronics devices will be responsible for the decline.

The company said in the summer that inventories of chips in PCs, tablets and smartphones remained high.

Despite the fluctuations in the chip maker’s fortunes, TSMC still expects that it will show sales growth of close to 10 percent.

Mediatek makes strategic acquisition

cashUp and coming Asian semiconductor company Mediatek said it will take a 51 percent stake in Richtek Technology and wants to own 100 percent of the company.

Mediatek is a key player in the global smartphone and tablet market and wants Richtek because of its power management semiconductors.

The chairman and CEO of Mediatek, Ming-Kai Tsai said in a prepared statement that he thinks the merger will strengthen his company in the internet of things segment and put it in a better competitive position in the global semiconductor market.

Mediatek will pay $5.94 for each share of Richtek with options to buy 51 percent and eventually take over the entire company.

That’s expected to happen in the second quarter of next year.

Richtek chairman Kenneth Tai said that the two companies have complementary products and expand its analogue integrated circuits to grow its business in the future.

Nvidia could buy MediaTek

Old carsMediaTek has become a quiet giant in the semiconductor business over the last two years and now the rumour mill is suggesting that it may be the subject of an acquisition by Nvidia.

MediaTek has filed a statement with the Taiwanese bourse which is slightly ambiguous on whether it is in discussions with the graphics giant or not.

In a statement it merely said that it wasn’t the source of a rumour carried by the Chinese newspaper, Economic Daily News.

According to Digitimes, investors believe that it could merge with Nvidia as part of a plan to move into the burgeoning automotive market.

The semiconductor industry has seen a rash of mergers and consolidation over the last 18 months as the cost of research and development and the pace of change continues to make it an ultra competitive sector.

Nvidia has already forged partnerships with several major car outfits and has publicly said it wants to make waves in the automotive sector. A merger of the two firms would make sense as they both have different, but complementary, skills.

Tablet shipments to flatten and fall

Dell TabletResearch on the global tablet market appear to indicate that shipments will stay flat in this quarter but will be down 10 percent from the same period last year.

And Apple iPads will fall by 30 percent in the second quarter of this year, with shipments of only 9.8 million units, according to Digitimes Research.

The research outfit estimates shipments of non-Apple branded products will be approximately 19 million units with Samsung trying to bridge the distance between it and the Cupertino giant.

That leaves the so-called “white box” manufacturers – many of them based in China. They are expected to ship 20 million units in the second quarter.

Lenovo has started to ship its cheap Mediatek tablet this quarter. Digitimes Research said that Asustek will see shipments fall – partly because Intel has cut subsidies and because there are problems with its SoFIA 3G-R system on a chip (SoC).

Most pundits agree that shipments of tablets are in decline because it is a more or less mature market, and the replacement cycle is slow.