Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

President Biden signed the expansive $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law yesterday. The legislation includes $52.7 billion in subsidies and tax credits to help strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development. In addition to revitalizing domestic manufacturing efforts, the package intends to “create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” explains the White House. The measure is also part of larger effort by the federal government to combat the growing influence of China, especially involving tech sectors and the potential impact to security and privacy. Continue reading Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan tech and science funding bill in a 64-33 vote. The CHIPS and Science Act commits $280 billion to be spent over five years in what is being called the largest manufacturing, research and development initiative of its kind. The largest single area of investment is $76 billion to fund domestic semiconductor production, which includes $24 billion in new tax incentives. Yesterday, the bill passed in a 243-187 House vote and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation aims to bolster national security by making the U.S. chip independent and boosting competition against China. Continue reading Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

China’s troubled Tsinghua Unigroup chip conglomerate is about to get an $800 million infusion from Taiwan’s Foxconn in the consumer electronics giant’s bid to expand its electric vehicle activity. Battery-powered cars generally require more semiconductors than those that run on gas, and analysts say Tsinghua Unigroup is attractive to Foxconn — which makes everything from iPhones to Xboxes — for its mobile chipset and memory expertise. In 2021, Foxconn secured a deal with U.S. automotive startup Fisker to jointly manufacture electric cars with automotive chips Foxconn plans to develop with Stellantis. Continue reading Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

Senate Advances $52B Bill to Combat Global Chip Shortage

The Senate moved to advance legislation that supports U.S. semiconductor manufacturing by stripping other aspects from a larger China competitiveness bill. Dubbed “CHIPS-plus,” the narrowed proposal still allocates $52 billion in subsidies for chipmakers but had a “hold-this-space” marker for the remainder of the language. The procedural motion required 51 votes to determine if this stripped-down version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) could proceed to a final vote even though adjustments would continue to be made before the Senate votes on the finished result. It cleared that hurdle, 64-34. Continue reading Senate Advances $52B Bill to Combat Global Chip Shortage

Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

A slump in PC sales and crashing cryptocurrency markets appear to be tempering a demand for semiconductors spurred by COVID-19 era supply chain shortages. Inflation is another mitigating factor, as sales of laptops and high-end GPUs for gaming and cryptocurrency mining slacken. Research firm Gartner predicts global PC shipments will contract by 9.5 percent in 2022, with consumer demand projected to decline by 13.5 percent. Enterprise sales are also expected to drop, by 7.2 percent, according to Gartner. Those numbers align with the 10 percent PC sales decline Micron Technology has forecast. Continue reading Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Taiwanese semiconductor giant GlobalWafers wants to invest $5 billion to construct a state-of-the-art 300-millimeter silicon wafer factory in Sherman, Texas, but only if Congress can fund the CHIPS for America Act, which passed in January 2021 and has been promised $52 billion but sits with an empty purse. The new GlobalWafers factory would be the first of its kind in the U.S. in 20 years and is expected to create 1,500 jobs. GlobalWafers president Mark England says if government incentives are not unleashed soon the company will “pivot to South Korea.” Continue reading GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Broadcom announced it will acquire VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at $61 billion. The deal, which expands semiconductor supplier Broadcom into enterprise software, is among the top technology transactions of all time, right behind Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and Dell’s 2016 acquisition of EMC for $67 billion. Broadcom will also assume $8 billion of VMware debt. The news sent shares of Broadcom up 2 percent and VMware more than 1 percent early Thursday. VMware enterprise products optimize client-side servers as well as cloud servers. Continue reading Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Samsung Announces Plans for $356 Billion Investment in Tech

Samsung says over the next five years it will invest $356 billion in chip production, biopharmaceuticals and other next-gen tech, creating tens of thousands of new jobs. While Samsung says most of the funds — $285 billion — will be spent in South Korea, the Seoul-based electronics giant also has operations in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Philippines. That new plan marks a 30 percent increase in Samsung’s spending over the previous five-year period and is a considerable expansion over earlier budgeting. Memory chip manufacturing and 6G wireless are among the areas to benefit from the new investment. Continue reading Samsung Announces Plans for $356 Billion Investment in Tech

Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

President Biden kicked-off his three-day visit to South Korea with a trip to a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, emphasizing an interest in strengthening supply chains and boosting competition with China in the technology sector. Biden remarked that the U.S. wants to shore-up business ties with allies including South Korea to offset the influence of  “countries that don’t share our values.” Located in Pyeongtaek, the plant churns out some of Samsung’s most advanced memory chips and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was present, marking the pair’s first in-person visit. Continue reading Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

The U.S. and European Union are seeking to establish joint policies that advance cooperation and democratic approaches to trade, technology, and security on both sides of the Atlantic. The second meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) — May 15-16 in Saclay, near Paris — emphasized how Washington, Brussels and other free-market democracies should develop a joint response to the challenges presented by dictatorships and their controlled economies. In addition to semiconductor supply chain issues, topics including China’s digital clout, export controls for technology IP and human rights were discussed. Continue reading The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

Apple’s fiscal Q2 was one of the best quarters in its 46 years of business. The company reported record revenue of $97.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year, far outperforming analyst expectations of $94 billion. More than $28 billion in operating cash flow and a return of nearly $27 billion to Apple shareholders resulted in the January through March period. But Apple warned that the outlook could dim in the current quarter, with China’s COVID-19 resurgence threatening to slow manufacturing, stymying sales by anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in fiscal Q3. Continue reading Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is reporting first quarter 2022 revenue between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion, a 35.5 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to Q4 2021, the first quarter results represent a 12.1 percent revenue uptick and 22 percent growth in net income. This, despite ongoing fallout from supply chain shortages that company CEO C.C. Wei says he expects will continue triggering production constraints. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the company has a plant, were cited as the most significant stressors to the company’s semiconductor output. Continue reading TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Nikon Corp. is restyling itself from a company that primarily manufactures cameras to one that supplies components to other businesses. Its consumer market share eroded by smartphone image systems, the Japanese company’s revenue also plunged, dropping by about 50 percent since its 2013 peak of $8 billion. In February, Nikon upped its revenue forecast for the year ended March 31 to $4.35 billion, more than $370 million of it projected as operating profit, thanks in large part to components, which is expected to earn more profit than any other division, nosing past imaging. Continue reading Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

The competition for global computer chip dominance depends largely on who can create the smallest components with the most advanced capabilities. So far, Taiwan-based TSMC leads, and the nation accounts for more than 90 percent of global production of advanced chips. By comparison, the U.S. claims about a 12 percent share, prompting the government to cite reliance on foreign-made processors as a cause of inflation and a national security threat. California-based Intel is heeding the challenge, spending billions on initiatives for AI computing, a high-end microprocessor plant expansion in Arizona and new plant in Ohio. Continue reading Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

The supply chain crunch is about to worsen due to a phased shutdown of Shanghai that began Monday, say recent reports. The coastal city of 26 million people — a seat of international finance and business, and home to the world’s biggest container-shipping port — finds itself grappling with its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date. Authorities have switched from temporary neighborhood lockdowns to a mandatory citywide shutdown in a phased implementation whose stage two runs Friday to Tuesday. China’s biggest chipmaker, however, and an iPhone plant are continuing to operate under strict rules in Shanghai. Continue reading China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact