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      The rising price of electronic components hits, the epidemic accelerates to break the balance

       2020-04-14 16:29:35

      Four years ago, because of the soaring memory prices, buying and selling DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) was described as "a more profitable business than real estate." Four years later, the price increase of storage components seems to be making a comeback, and spread to many fields.

      Since the beginning of this year, due to the imbalance of supply and demand, the global memory chip market has begun to fluctuate, and key electronic components such as CMOS image sensors (CIS, complementary metal oxide semiconductor image sensors) and passive components have also appeared to varying degrees. out of stock.

      In addition, because Japan and South Korea carry a large number of electronic upstream core components and materials production, if the epidemic cannot be well controlled, industry analysts will cause a great shortage of supply for the entire electronics industry, thereby further expanding price increases trend.

      Chen Jun, chief analyst of Qunzhi Consulting, said in an interview with the First Financial Reporter that the epidemic provides a reason for the price increase of many components, but in the long run, price fluctuations still depend on whether market demand can be met. "Affected by factors such as 5G, we have judged that the production capacity is tight from the fourth quarter of last year, and the epidemic is only one of the reasons for the price increase."

      Japan and South Korea epidemic accelerate component price fluctuations

      As the largest manufacturing countries after China, the United States, Japan and Germany, the development trend of the epidemic situation in South Korea and Japan directly affects the stability of the global manufacturing supply chain.

      Taking storage as an example, the cost of storage in a mobile phone usually reaches 25% to 35%, which has exceeded the screen and CPU and has become the largest cost of mobile phones. Both Samsung and SK Hynix Korean manufacturers occupy an important position in the memory field.

      According to a survey by DRAMeXchange, based on the revenue of global NAND brand manufacturers in the fourth quarter of 2019, Samsung ranked first with a market share of 35.5%; SK Hynix ranked sixth with a market share of 9.6% . In the fourth quarter of 2019, Samsung ranked first in the memory revenue ranking of its own brand of global DRAM manufacturers, with a market share of 43.5%, and SK Hynix ranked second with a market share of 29.2%.

      In other words, the market share of two Korean manufacturers in the NAND field has reached 45.1%, while in the DRAM field, the share is as high as 72.7%.

      Shengang Securities pointed out in its report that the storage market experienced a power outage accident in Western Digital last July and a power outage accident at the Samsung Huacheng plant earlier this year, and prices have stabilized. Affected by the epidemic this time, especially South Korea as a global storage center, the epidemic situation is not optimistic, which may affect the normal operation of Samsung and SK Hynix factories, which will affect global storage supply and lead to price increases.

      The latest quotations in the industry show that the spot prices of memory and SSD hard drives have begun to fluctuate. Taking the spot price of 8Gb DDR4 standard DRAM as an example, the price increase since January has exceeded 10%, and the spot price increase of 4Gb DDR4 standard DRAM is closer to 20%.

      Japanese companies occupy an important position in the field of semiconductor materials.

      In the first five months of 2019, semiconductor materials produced in Japan accounted for 52% of global production. During the same period, the value of photoresist imported from South Korea from Japan reached US$110 million.

      According to the Korea Trade Association report, the dependence of the Korean semiconductor and display industries on fluoropolyimide, photoresist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride in Japan is 91.9%, 43.9% and 93.7%, respectively. In the silicon wafer field, Japan's Shin-Etsu Chemical and SUMCO account for 53% of the global market share. In the trade war between Japan and South Korea last year, Japan restricted the export of three materials including fluorine-containing polyimide, photoresist, and high-purity hydrogen fluoride to South Korea, which caused shock in the entire semiconductor field.

      Inadequate upstream production capacity may continue to mid-year

      In the view of many analysts, how long the price rise of electronic components lasts depends on whether the epidemic can be effectively controlled globally, and on the other hand, whether the supply of upstream production capacity can meet the demand.

      With the increase in market demand for 5G in the second half of last year, coupled with better-than-expected sales of Apple's iPhone 11 series, semiconductor production chain orders bottomed out.

      Lyon Securities said that the supply of 8-inch wafer OEMs in Asia is in short supply, not only TSMC, but also UMC, SMIC and other manufacturers are facing the same situation, including ultra-thin screen fingerprint recognition, 5G mobile phone pulling goods, etc. are all making the overall wafer demand Greatly increased. In addition, the demand for Bluetooth master chips brought by TWS headsets has increased, and the rise in demand for CMOS image sensors has also brought challenges to the production capacity of upstream wafer manufacturers.

      According to Sigmaintell's "Global Smartphone Camera Supply and Demand Report" data, global smartphone camera sensor shipments in 2019 will be approximately 4.7 billion units, a year-on-year increase of approximately 15%. Thanks to the contributions of Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi, and OPPO, leading the effort and multi-camera, the low- and mid-end of the main sales volume are successively equipped with four-camera. At the same time, with the increase in customization and the demand for large pixels, the sales of camera sensors are also increasing year by year. In terms of sensor shipments, the global smartphone camera sensor supply chain is highly centralized. In terms of regional distribution, mainland China accounts for approximately 30%, and South Korea accounts for approximately 40%.

      "Cameras will still have a better development trend in the first half of the year." Chen Jun told reporters that with the acceleration of multi-camera penetration, the demand for large pixels will increase rapidly, leading to structural tensions in the supply and demand of the camera market. Pixel sensors were in short supply in the fourth quarter. "The data for the first quarter of some products has a price increase of about 5% compared to the fourth quarter of last year."

      In addition to cameras, the growth of passive components and other products has begun to expand.

      Passive components are mainly used in circuits, and control signal transmission, gain signal size and other functions, and are indispensable for high-tech industries such as chips, communications, and panels.

      Affected by the surge in demand and the epidemic, since the beginning of this year, passive components such as MLCC (chip multilayer ceramic capacitors) and chip resistors have planned to increase prices many times. The recent price increases are mainly driven by the leading resistance giant, the price adjustment range is 30 %about.

      As early as the Spring Festival, some MLCC manufacturers announced price increases due to tight supply and demand: Huaxin Technology announced a price increase of 20% to 25% on December 27, 2019, and Fenghua High Technology announced a price increase of 20% to 30% on January 2, 2020 , Samsung Motors announced a price increase of 10% to 15% on January 2.



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