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The Chip Industry Chain Continues to Increase Prices. What Opportunities Will it Usher in?

According to an analysis by industry professionals, chip manufacturers’ new round of price increases indirectly reflects that the shortage of semiconductor production capacity has not yet been alleviated and resolved. Due to rising raw material prices and rising transportation costs, chip prices have risen again. The industry expects that the increase in the average selling price of wafers will increase its gross profit margin. TSMC’s gross profit margin will return to a continuous growth track from the fourth quarter, while UMC’s gross profit margin will climb in the fourth quarter. However, chip manufacturers also worry that the increase in product prices may inhibit user demand for products.

According to SEMI, the latest quarterly global fab forecast report in mid-September, fab equipment expenditures will reach a new high for three consecutive years. As a result, the world is witnessing a rare record in the semiconductor industry history. Driven by digital transformation and other emerging technology trends, the total investment in semiconductor equipment of global front-end fabs in 2022 will reach a new high of nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars to meet the increasing demand for electronic products, and it will also refresh the 90 billion that was only set in 2021. U.S. dollar historical record.

In addition, in terms of wafer, the demand for power management ICs and driver ICs is still high-end, and some items are also reported to be negotiating with customers to increase prices. As a result, power management ICs may be out of stock until the second half of next year.

At this time, there are often three dimensions of opportunities in the market: capacity is king (the capacity and market share of the fab), equipment first (the price increase is behind the shortage of goods, and the shortage of goods is behind the upcoming wave of expansion, equipment will usher in a round of strong growth) and local production capacity (different from the previous production expansion cycle based on globalization, it will operate under the framework of localization and de-ASML).

At the same time, as the stock prices in the secondary market have fallen recently, institutions have strengthened their research on companies in the semiconductor industry chain. As a result, some institutional investors said that a decline is an opportunity.

Opportunities for fab manufacturing: TCL has launched a global production strategy plan and will invest more than 20 billion yuan in the next five years. Its main application areas include semiconductor display and materials industries.

Opportunities for equipment expansion: China Micro provides etching equipment, MOCVD equipment and other equipment to manufacturers of integrated circuits, LED chips, MEMS and other semiconductor products. Its main customers include TSMC, SMIC, UMC, YMTC and other companies.

Taiwan says it is doing its best to help solve the chip problem.

Similar to the situation a few months ago, the official websites of some top miner manufacturers show that physical mining machine products have been entirely sold out. In 2021, at regular intervals, companies like Bitmain, Canaan and Microbt will announce large sales to some of the world’s largest mining businesses. Ordinary consumers are forced to buy BTC miners through second market suppliers, who usually charge a significant premium. At the same time, some auto companies have been cutting production recently because companies like BMW, Toyota, and Volkswagen have significant problems in acquiring chips.

The head of Taiwan’s economy delivered a speech, saying that Taiwan is doing everything possible to maintain the stability of the semiconductor supply chain.

In the long run, in addition to the fact that supply chain tightening has caused shortages, the impact of global semiconductor supply shortages may cause Bitcoin mining operations and cause the manufacturers of these miners to stagnate. If these shortages continue, items such as SoC, CPU, GPU, ASIC, and controllers may incur higher costs in the future.

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Written by Marcus Richards

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