On January 24, according to a CCTV financial report, due to the impact of the epidemic, there was a wave of shortages in the international chip market, not only the mobile phone industry, but also the automobile industry. Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota and many other auto companies had to respond to the crisis by reducing production and cutting production.
According to the forecast of the Bernstein Research Company of the United States, the global shortage of automotive chips in 2021 will cause the loss of as many as 4.5 million car production, which is equivalent to nearly 5% of the global annual car production.
According to the “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” report, due to the increase in the cost of foundry production capacity and the increase in raw material prices, global automotive chip manufacturers such as Renesas Electronics, NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Toshiba are considering raising their prices. Multiple product prices.
Although these chip manufacturers have their own manufacturing plants, not all products are produced by themselves, and many of them are entrusted to wafer foundries such as TSMC for production. Affected by the new crown epidemic, the demand for chips such as laptops, smartphones, and data centers has expanded. Since the second half of last year, consumer electronics demand has begun to compete with automotive chips for production capacity after recovery.
The report pointed out that Renesas Electronics, a major automotive chip manufacturer, recently asked customers to accept higher-priced power semiconductors and MCUs and other products, and raised the prices of servers and industrial equipment chips by an average of 10%-20%.
At the same time, Toshiba has also begun to negotiate price increases with customers, targeting products such as automotive power semiconductors. A few days ago, Toshiba said: “The processing cost and material cost are soaring, and we have to ask customers to reflect it in the product price.”
In addition, companies such as NXP and STMicroelectronics have also informed customers that they plan to increase prices by about 10%-20%. Regarding the price increase, NXP responded: “The price change is a fact, and the others cannot be responded to.”
The report pointed out that although chip factories had previously demanded price increases due to rising costs, it was the first time since the dot-com bubble in 2000 that many companies raised the prices of multiple products at the same time.
Automotive chips are expected to be out of stock for as long as 1 year
According to analysts in the semiconductor industry, many automakers around the world had to suspend or reduce production due to the shortage of automotive chips. And OPPO, etc., in order to compete for the market share vacated by Huawei, actively placed orders with IC designers and wafer foundries to grab production capacity and increase inventory, crowding out other wafer production capacity including automotive.
The originally tight 8-inch wafer production capacity has long been overwhelmed, and the U.S. sanctions on SMIC have led to a shortage of automotive chips that are mainly made of 8-inch wafers.
In addition, the proportion of automotive electronics continues to increase, and the demand for automotive electronics from electric vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) has increased significantly. The shortage of automotive chips has caught the automotive industry by surprise. It is estimated that the shortage of automotive chips may continue for a long time. up to 1 year.
According to industry insiders, about 80% of the silicon wafer area is produced on the 8-inch wafer production line. The demand for electric vehicles and autonomous driving applications is strong, which has driven a large increase in the number of 8-inch wafers. Production capacity is already full.
Automotive chips mainly come from 8-inch wafer manufacturing, including CMOS image sensors, power management chips, microcontrollers (MCUs), radio frequency components, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), power discrete components, etc., which are indispensable for automobiles and electric vehicles. missing parts. At present, the world’s major 8-inch fabs include TSMC, UMC, World Advanced, SMIC, Hua Hong Semiconductor, China Resources Micro, etc.
From the perspective of wafer application distribution, automotive use accounted for about 33% of the global demand for 8-inch wafers last year, and about 5% of the demand for 12-inch wafers. Global automotive chip manufacturers mainly include NXP, Infineon, Renesas Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Bosch, etc.
Wafer foundry, after packaging and testing, may increase prices again
According to the supply chain, the wafer foundry UMC and the world advanced company plan to increase the quotation for the second time after the Lunar New Year, and the increase can be as high as 15%. In the past month, downstream packaging and testing factories ASE Investment Holdings and KYEC have also increased their demand for packaging and testing after the production of chips, and their production capacity has been tight simultaneously, and they also intend to increase prices.
Since last year, the epidemic has given birth to a big outbreak of the stay-at-home economy, and has led to a surge in demand for terminal devices such as laptops, tablets, TVs, and game consoles. In addition, the penetration rate of 5G applications has expanded, especially the semiconductor content required by 5G mobile phones is higher than that of 4G mobile phones. In the third and fourth grades, the consumption of some chips has doubled. With the multi-lens trend, the demand for power management ICs, driver ICs, fingerprint recognition chips, and image sensors (CIS) has exploded. These chips are mainly produced on 8-inch wafers, resulting in a continued shortage of 8-inch wafer foundries.
Although some chip manufacturers consider the tight capacity of 8-inch wafer fabs and transfer chips such as microcontrollers (MCU), WiFi and Bluetooth to 12-inch wafer fabs for production, they have not solved the shortage of 8-inch wafer foundries. On the contrary, the problem of insufficient wafer foundry production capacity has been extended to 12-inch wafer foundry, including 55nm to 22nm production capacity, and the market shortage is very serious.
According to 21ic’s understanding, UMC and World Advanced Corporation have raised their prices by about 10%-15% in the fourth quarter of 2020. However, the recent epidemic has not slowed down or even intensified, and the demand related to the housing economy has remained high. In addition, the auto market has continued to recover at the end of last year, resulting in continued tightness in the production capacity of 8-inch OEMs. Both companies intend to start the second wave of 8-inch OEMs after the Lunar New Year. The price increase action may increase by more than 10%.
For consumers, the shortage of chips will also affect their car purchase plans. At present, many 4S stores of joint venture brands in the domestic market have indicated that the supply of existing cars from manufacturers is limited due to the shortage of chips, and some models need to wait for cars after ordering.
Seeing such a situation, some netizens also joked, “This is also the rhythm of increasing prices.” However, what is certain is that due to the limited production capacity of existing vehicles, the terminal discount rate of some models will definitely be adjusted back. And for those “sacred cars” with price increases, the rate of price increases may reach a new high.