Thursday, January 16, 2020
Taiwan-based IC design houses have started ramping up their output for their customers' new products slated for launch mainly in China during the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, which may indicate a particularly strong first quarter of 2020 for the fabless chipmakers, according to industry sources.
Taiwan's fabless chipmakers are scaling up their wafer starts at foundries, particularly at 8-inch fabs, which have enjoyed a pull-in of orders for OLED display driver ICs, CMOS image sensors and optical fingerprint sensors, the sources indicated. The orders have been picking up faster than expected.
Foundries have also seen their 12-inch fab capacity become increasingly tight since the start of 2020, the sources noted. At TSMC, for example, 16nm, 12nm and 10nm process capacity has been utilized for robust chip orders mainly for chips associated with 5G and edge AI technologies, the sources said.
Meanwhile, TSMC continues to see its 7nm process capacity fully loaded, the sources continued. TSMC's tight 7nm process capacity may constrain the global supply of 5G mobile chips throughout the first half of 2020 and keep the chip ASPs high, previous reports quoted industry sources as saying.
MediaTek, and other first-tier Taiwan-based IC design houses are expected to provide their positive sales and profit outlook for the first quarter, according to the sources.
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