SMIC… Equipment investment increased by 77% in the first quarter

According to the industry on the 17th, SMIC announced in its latest earnings announcement that its revenue in the first quarter (January ~ March) was $1,750.18 billion, up 19.7% from $1,462.29 billion in the same quarter last year.
In the first quarter of this year, SMIC reported that CAFAX (capital expenditure· Capital expenditures) were $2.235 billion, up 77.5% from $1.259 billion in the same period last year.
As China begins to produce its own semiconductors due to the US sanctions on semiconductors, some analysts say that the global oversupply phenomenon is emerging as a major variable in the semiconductor industry. This is a factor that can increase the burden on Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and DB Hitech.

SEMES hỗ trợ cải thiện cơ cấu ESG của các đối tác bán dẫn vừa và nhỏ

SEMES supports small and medium-sized semiconductor suppliers to improve their ESG constitution The Win-Win Growth Committee announced in a written statement on the 16th that it has signed an agreement with SEMES to participate in the ‘ESG Support Project for Suppliers’ this year.
Through this agreement, SEMES will contribute a win-win cooperation fund and provide comprehensive support for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) education, diagnosis, and on-site due diligence for small and medium-sized partners that make up the supply chain of the semiconductor equipment industry.
The joint committee issues the ‘ESG Excellent SME Confirmation’ to small and medium-sized enterprises with excellent compliance with ESG indicators, and excellent companies with confirmation certificates can receive incentives such as preferential  bank interest rates.

The U.S. subsidizes Polar Semiconductor with 160 billion won…” Transformation to an independent foundry”

The U.S. subsidizes Polar Semiconductor with 160 billion won…” Transformation to an independent foundry”
The U.S. government will provide a $120 million subsidy to Polar Semiconductor, which produces semiconductors needed for automobiles, defense systems, and electric grids. The Ministry of Commerce announced on the 13th (local time) that it has signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding (PMT) with Polar Semiconductor.
The subsidy, under the Semiconductor Act, will allow Polar Semiconductor to double the production capacity of its Bloomington, Minnesota, facility within two years.
The U.S. government’s investment will lead to investment from the U.S. private sector, which will transform Polar Semiconductor from a major foreign-owned U.S. manufacturer to a major U.S.-owned commercial foundry, the Commerce Department said in a press release.

Intel seeks to attract investment of ’15 trillion won’ worth of investment from Ireland’s semiconductor foundry

On the 13th (local time), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Intel and Apollo are in exclusive talks to invest in an Ireland foundry, and the deal could be completed in the coming weeks. Apollo is a New York-based investment company with $671 billion (918 trillion won) in assets under management.
Intel is spending more than $100 billion in the U.S. alone to return to foundry. In addition to the U.S., the company is also building factories in Europe and Southeast Asia. In 2022, the company announced that it would invest 80 billion euros over 10 years to build a semiconductor ecosystem in Ireland, Germany, and Italy. In Ireland, the Intel 4 process (7nm-class) using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) has already been introduced, and the company plans to invest $12 billion to expand its factory. The $11 billion investment that Intel is negotiating with Apollo appears to fund the expansion of the plant.

British company Edward completes new semiconductor equipment factory in Asan, South Chungcheong Province

Edward, a British semiconductor equipment company, has completed the construction of a new core component plant for the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography process in Asan, Chungcheongnam. Edwards is the world’s No. 1 company in the production of vacuum pumps for semiconductor manufacturing processes, and is considered to be a company with the world’s highest level of competitiveness and infrastructure.
In 1992, the company established a subsidiary in Korea, and in 2009, it moved all production facilities from its home country to Korea. Including the new factory completed on this day, a total of five factories have been established and operated in Cheonan and Asan, Chungcheongnam.
The new plant will produce integrated vacuum solutions and gas processing units for equipment used in the EUV lithography process.

Dreamtech enters the semiconductor module business… Mass production of modules for India subsidiary

Dreamtech announced that it will enter the semiconductor module business. Based on the know-how of ‘Mass Customization’ accumulated in the smartphone module business for the past 20 years, Dreamtech will expand its business into the memory semiconductor module field.
Dreamtech plans to produce memory semiconductor modules at a local plant in Greater Noida, India, which is scheduled to start operations in June this year.
Dreamtech’s entry into the memory semiconductor module market is a decision to respond to the recent surge in demand for AI semiconductors. As a start, Dreamtech was recently selected as a new partner of a global top-tier memory semiconductor company.

China is also speeding up the development of ‘AI semiconductor’ HBM

According to Reuters on the 15th, Changxin Memory Co., Ltd. (CXMT), China’s leading DRAM manufacturer, collaborated with Chinese semiconductor packaging company Tongfu Micro to develop HBM samples and recently provided them to customers. If it passes the customer’s verification, it will be the first Chinese company to start work to start mass production. CXMT is also investing in the development of the fourth generation of HBM3 technology. According to patent analysis firm Anaqua, CXMT’s HBM-related patents filed in the United States, China, and Taiwan are increasing every year, from 14 in 2022 to 46 in 2023 and 69 in 2024.
Another Chinese semiconductor company, Wuhan Xinxin, is building a factory that can produce 3,000 12-inch wafers per month for HBM manufacturing.

‘Intention to purchase electric decreases for the first time in 3 years in the US

According to the “2024 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration” research report released by JD Power, an automotive market research company, on the 16th (local time), 24 percent of consumers said they are “very likely” considering buying an electric vehicle this year, down 2 percentage points from 26 percent a year ago.
The percentage of people who say they are “totally likely” to consider buying an electric vehicle this year is 58 percent, down 3 percentage points from 61 percent last year.

This is the first time that new car buyers’ willingness to buy EVs has declined from the previous year since the study began in 2021, according to J.D. Power.

Lotte Inno enters the U.S. electric vehicle charging market

Lotte Innovate announced on the 16th that it will enter the North American electric vehicle charging infrastructure market with its subsidiary EVSIS.
Lotte Innovate recently established a local subsidiary, EVSIS America, in the U.S. and secured a 3,300㎡ factory site in California. It is ready to start all production lines in the first half of the year, and plans to start full-fledged business in the second half of the year. EVSIS America’s flagship product is the 180kW and 400kW ultra-fast chargers, which were introduced at CES 2024, the world’s largest IT and consumer electronics exhibition, in January.

China’s Nio launches electric vehicle cheaper than Model Y… Price competition continues.

As the United States continues to check Chinese low-priced electric vehicles, Chinese electric vehicle company Nio announced that it will launch low-priced brand Onvo’s first electric vehicle, the ‘L60 SUV’ (L60).
According to CNBC on the 15th (local time), Nio announced the launch at an event held that day and explained that the L60 will be about $4,000 cheaper than Tesla’s Model Y, a similar model.
The price of the L60 starts at 219,900 yuan ($30,439, approximately 41.19 million won). The price of Model Y starts from 249,900 yuan ($34,617, approximately 46.81 million won).
Pre-sales of the L60 began today, and delivery of the vehicle is scheduled to begin in September.

Due to slowing demand for electric vehicles… Ford urges suppliers to reduce costs

According to Reuters on the 16th (local time), Ford’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Liz Doerr said in a memo to electric vehicle partners, “Providing electric vehicles at a reasonable price to our customers is our top concern.”
According to the report, Doer asked its suppliers to streamline manufacturing operations and reduce capital expenditures. He ordered additional cost reduction measures and measures to improve profitability for some models, including the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, Transit electric van, and Mustang Mach-E sports utility vehicle (SUV) electric vehicle. He also asked him to suggest investment ideas that could enhance profitability. 
As demand stagnated, Ford began adjusting the pace of electric vehicles by increasing the number of hybrid models. Bloomberg News previously reported that in the first quarter, the loss per unit of Ford’s electric vehicles exceeded $100,000, so Ford decided to reduce electric vehicle production for the time being and notified its suppliers of a reduction in battery orders.

SK Signet supplies electric vehicle chargers to global gas pump company Gilbaco.

SK Signet announced on the 16th that it has signed a partnership with Gilbaco at the recent ‘Unity Expo’ held in Stuttgart, Germany.
The company will supply the ultra-fast EV charger ‘V2’ to 32 key markets, including Gilbaco North America, South America, and Europe. The V2 introduced by CES2023 is a 400kW ultra-fast charger. It outputs up to 400kW and can be charged to 20~80% in 15 minutes.
Headquartered in North Carolina, USA, Gilbaco has more than 60% of the market share of convenience store gas pumps in the United States. It has a market share of more than 40% of the European lubricator market, including 80% in Germany. The electric vehicle charger field is being targeted as a new business and is being expanded.

Honda to double investment in electric vehicles and software…”Injection of 87 trillion won”

Japanese automaker Honda announced on the 16th that it will invest 10 trillion yen (about 87 trillion won) in electric vehicles and software by 2030.
According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) and Kyodo News, Honda President Toshihiro Mibe announced the plan at a briefing held in Tokyo on the same day.
Honda has so far announced that it plans to invest 5 trillion yen (about 43.5 trillion won) in electric vehicles, but on the same day, it announced that it would double the investment. Honda plans to invest 6 trillion yen (about 52.2 trillion won) in vehicle manufacturing, including the construction of next-generation factories, and 2 trillion yen (about 17.4 trillion won) in electric vehicle battery and software development.

USTR Representative Announces “Watch” Measures for Mexican-Made EVs

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai confirmed on the 14th (local time) that the United States plans to announce a detailed tariff increase plan for some Chinese imports, including electric vehicles, next week.

It has hinted at a separate policy of action against Chinese-made electric vehicles produced in Mexico, where concerns have been raised.

“This action is for imports from China,” Tai said at a White House briefing, adding, “Imports of products made in Mexico are also very important, and this is one of the things that we are discussing with the industry. I’d like to ask them to keep an eye on it,” he said, hinting at the possibility of further action in the future.

HL Mando and Kakao Mobility develop ‘self-driving parking robot service’

HL Mando, Kakao Mobility, and KM Parking & Space have joined hands to commercialize autonomous parking robots. The three companies signed an MOU for this purpose at Pangyo Next M on the 13th.
Through this agreement, the three companies will develop a service that connects the entire process of robot parking. It is a method of grafting a smart parking solution to HL Mando’s parking robot Parkie. Kakao Mobility focuses on the development of control systems. In addition, Kakao Mobility’s parking solution subsidiary, KM Parking & Space, will build and operate a smart parking lot.

NCSoft AI-equipped self-driving robot deployed to the Central Science Office

The National Science Museum of Korea announced on the 16th that it will permanently exhibit the conversational AI autonomous driving robot ‘Nargo’ on the 17th floor of the National Science Museum’s Creative Narae Hall from the 16th.

The National Science Museum of Korea piloted Nargo for three months under the Public Procurement Service’s innovative product trial purchase system. Through additional collaborative research with developer Twinny, it was equipped with NCSOFT’s LLM ‘Barco LLM’ and advanced to a robot that can think and move like a human. In this regard, the Science Museum emphasized that it is the first case of using a domestic proprietary LLM in an exhibition hall.

Toyota, Honda, Nissan unite in future car SW development

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun and Nihon Keizai Shimbun on the 16th, the ‘Mobility DX (Digital Transformation) Strategy’ prepared by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry this month will include software cooperation between the three companies. The three companies will soon discuss specific plans and begin cooperation next year. We are also considering cooperation with other Japanese automakers such as Suzuki, Mazda, Subaru, and Mitsubishi.
The core of this strategy is ‘software-centric vehicle (SDV)’. It is a technology that improves car performance through software updates rather than hardware such as engines and parts. 
Specifically, we will join forces to jointly develop technologies in seven fields. These include semiconductors, application programming interface (API), simulation, generative artificial intelligence (AI), security, lidar, and high-precision three-dimensional (3D) maps. The goal is to make this common. 

China’s Hesai sues U.S. government for ‘blacklisting’

According to Bloomberg News, in a complaint filed against the U.S. Department of Defense in a court in Washington DC on the 13th (local time), Hesai said, “The company’s reputation has been damaged, its stock price has fallen significantly, and business opportunities have been lost” regarding being on the U.S. sanctions list. “I lost it,” he claimed. The United States continues to update and disclose a list of Chinese military-related companies in accordance with Section 1260H of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This includes major Chinese companies, including Hesai, Huawei, and SMIC.
Hesai claimed that it manufactures products only for commercial and private use. The company is developing LiDAR sensor technology necessary to prevent collisions of self-driving cars. Hesai emphasized, “No Chinese government or military agency has attempted to influence or control Hesai Group’s management strategy and research and development (R&D) work.”

Nextchip and Hanwha Systems join hands in research and development of automotive ISP semiconductor and camera modules

NextChip, a fabless automotive semiconductor company, is accelerating the R&D of ISP semiconductors and night vision camera modules with VGA-class resolution or higher to enhance the safety of autonomous driving in low-light driving environments with Hanwha Systems.

The Next Chip consortium (Hanwha Systems, Korea Electronics Technology Research Institute, CanLab, and eIntelligence) announced on the 15th that it has been selected for the ‘Development of ISP Semiconductors for VGA or Higher-Class Thermal Imaging Night Vision Cameras’, a smart car project for the development of automotive industry technology this year by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Through this, it will receive 11 billion won in support from the government over the next four years.

Through the selection of this project, the consortium will carry out R&D tasks such as △localization of ISP semiconductors for thermal imaging cameras of VGA and above, △development and advancement of thermal imaging night vision cameras, and △evaluation and verification of thermal imaging night vision cameras.

LGD unveils a large number of new next-generation OLED technologies at SID

LG Display announced on the 15th that it introduced new OLEDoS technology for VR (virtual reality), large OLED panels, and automotive display solutions optimized for SDV (software-driven vehicles) under the theme of ‘A Better Future’ at ‘SID 2024’, which opened at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, U.S. on the 14th (local time).
On this day, LG Display unveiled for the first time the new Oledos technology for VR, which dramatically increases screen brightness and resolution compared to the existing one.
It is 1.3 inches in size, about the size of a 500 won coin, and has an ultra-high brightness of 10,000 nits (1 nit is the brightness of a candle), an ultra-high resolution of 4,000 ppi (pixels per inch) in 4K, and a picture quality that meets more than 97% of the DCI’s standard color gamut DCI-P3.

China’s CSOT unveils ‘triple foldable’ OLED
On the 15th, CSOT demonstrated a 7.85-inch three-foldable display at the ‘2024 SID Display Week’.

The display thickness is 472μm, and the overall thickness is 17mm, so it can be freely switched between G-type and Z-type when folded. In addition to tandem, a low-power OLED implementation method, low-power technologies such as low-temperature crystalline oxide (LTPO) and panel-level package (PLP) were applied.

Samsung Display unveils innovative technologies such as next-generation QD at SID

Samsung Display announced on the 15th that it unveiled various innovative technologies at ‘SID 2024’ on the 14th (local time).
Next-generation quantum dot (QD) technology that realizes RGB pixels using only ultrafine semiconductor particles ‘quantum dots’, glasses-free 3D that automatically switches between 2D and 3D according to the user’s gaze, and RGB oledos deposition fine silicone mask (FSM) were introduced.
Samsung Display’s industry-first QD-LED is a next-generation self-emitting technology that uses quantum dots, ultrafine semiconductor particles, to realize RGB pixels.
The laptop-sized 18.2-inch QD-LED has a resolution of 3200×1800 and has a high pixel density (202PPI) and brightness (250 nits) comparable to high-resolution premium monitors.