Samsung Electronics Throws a ‘Gamble’ on AI Semiconductor… ‘HBM Team’ Deployed
Samsung Electronics DS Division carried out an organizational restructuring on the 4th. It was about a month and a half after the former vice chairman took office.

The key is to strengthen HBM and cutting-edge packaging competitiveness. The two HBM-dedicated development teams operated in the form of TF were included in the organizational chart as the HBM development team within the DRAM development lab of the memory business division. It was judged that working together with the DRAM development lab would create synergy as HMB is made by stacking DRAMs. Vice President Son Young-soo was appointed as the development team leader leading the HBM specialized development personnel.

Doosan Tesna to build Pyeongtaek 2nd plant… “Responding to semiconductor testing demand”
Doosan Tesna announced on the 4th that it has decided to build a ‘Pyeongtaek 2nd Plant’ within the Pyeongtaek Brain City General Industrial Complex in Gyeonggi Province through a board of directors resolution. This investment is intended to proactively respond to the continuously increasing demand for testing of new system semiconductor products.

Last year, Doosan Tesna secured a 48,000㎡ (14,500 pyeong) site where it can install a clean room larger than the combined area of ​​its three existing factories (Pyeongtaek, Seoanseong, and Anseong).

Doosan Tesna will first invest KRW 220 billion to build a 15,870㎡ (4,800 pyeong) factory and install a clean room, and plans to start construction within the year and complete it in the first half of 2027. In the future, the company plans to optimize its investment by gradually expanding the facility as needed.

Alpha Holdings closes acquisition letter on the 5th
According to the investment banking (IB) industry on the 2nd, three preliminary bidders have completed their applications for Alpha Holdings LOI, which began on the 10th of last month. It is known that among the preliminary bidders, there are also financial investors (FIs) as well as those in the same industry who are identified as strategic investors (SIs).

Considering that the genuine buyer usually submits the LOI early and the buyer who was hesitant accepts it on the last day, it can be seen that the market is showing hot interest in Alpha Holdings. Samil PwC was in charge of the sale.

Alpha Holdings is a design house partner (DSP) that serves as a bridge between semiconductor design companies (fabless) and semiconductor foundries.

China’s Huawei, HBM also attempt ‘supply chain independence’

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on the 1st that China’s Huawei is developing HBM (high bandwidth memory) in cooperation with local foundry XMC (Wuhan Xinxin).

SCMP cited anonymous sources as saying, “In addition to Huawei and Wuhan Xinxin, local packaging companies JCET and Tongfu Microelectronics have also participated in the HBM development collaboration,” adding, “They have been instructed to develop the so-called ‘CoWoS’ packaging, which integrates the GPU and HBM into a single package.”

CoWoS is a 2.5D packaging technology developed by Taiwan’s major foundry TSMC. CoWoS inserts a thin film called an interposer between the chip and the substrate, reducing the packaging area and increasing connectivity between chips.

“Nvidia to Sell $12 Billion of AI Chips in China This Year Despite US Regulations”
According to the Financial Times (FT) on the 4th (local time), experts predicted that Nvidia will supply more than 1 million H20 AI chips designed to avoid US regulations in the next few months.

This is about twice the expected sales of Huawei’s competing product, the Ascend 910B, semiconductor consulting firm Semianalysis estimates.

The H20 is expected to be priced between $12,000 and $3,000, and could generate more than $12 billion in revenue for Nvidia. That’s more than the $10.3 billion Nvidia earned from its entire China business in the fiscal year ending in January.

Chips & Media Video IP Applied AI PC First Released
Chips&Media, a semiconductor design asset (IP) specialist, announced on the 3rd that its video IP has been applied to the latest AI PC chip from a fabless company specializing in mobile chipsets in the United States.

The AI ​​PC chip with Chips&Media’s video IP applied is said to have improved the perfection of AI PCs by implementing superior performance and low power consumption compared to existing PC chips through CPU, GPU, and NPU based on the company’s own chip design capabilities.

Chips&Media stated, “We provided AV1-supporting 4K encoder video IP for the AI ​​PC chip, and we are planning additional contracts this year to support not only encoders but also decoders as the AV1 standard ecosystem expands and AI PCs grow.” They added, “We expect that our IP will be expanded to include mobile APs as well as AI PC chips in the future.”

Taiwanese fabless companies are entering the on-demand semiconductor market one after another
According to Taiwanese media outlets such as the Economic Daily on the 30th, a source said that Taiwanese companies such as MediaTek, Novatek, and Aegis have recently entered the ASIC market. The source predicted that competition in the ASIC market will intensify with the entry of MediaTek, Novatek, and others in addition to existing companies such as Alchip, Global Unichip, and Faraday.

He said that MediaTek has been taking steps to attack the ASIC market for several years, and is designing ASIC chips for everything from consumer products to enterprise products. He estimated that the ASIC chip sector currently accounts for less than 10% of MediaTek’s performance.

Other sources said Novatek is focusing on the ASIC market, which includes systems-on-chips (SoCs) that integrate separate chips such as drive ICs, central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), and neural processing units (NPUs) into one. 

China, EU brandy anti-dumping hearing on the 18th… First reaction after decision to impose additional tariffs on electric vehicles
On the 5th, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced through a notice posted on its website that it will hold an anti-dumping hearing on EU brandy on the 18th. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce had previously announced on January 5th that it would launch an anti-dumping investigation on EU brandy.

Brandy is China’s most imported distilled spirit, and 99% of the brandy imported into China is known to be from France. 

China’s announcement of the hearing schedule is its first response since the EU formally imposed additional tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles. 

BYD, Thailand factory in operation… “Attack on Southeast Asia export hub”
China’s BYD opened an electric vehicle factory in Thailand on the 4th (local time).

This is BYD’s first factory in Southeast Asia, a rapidly growing electric vehicle market. The factory has invested about 490 million dollars and is expected to produce 150,000 vehicles per year.

“Thailand has a clear vision for electric vehicles and is entering a new era of automobile manufacturing,” said Wang Chuanfu, BYD CEO. “We will bring technology from China to Thailand.”

Hyundai Motor Group Establishes Battery Cell-Electric Vehicle Production System in Indonesia

On the 3rd, Hyundai Motor Group announced that it held the ‘Indonesia EV Ecosystem Completion Ceremony’ at HLI Green Power in the Karawang New Industrial Complex, Indonesia. Approximately 300 key figures from Korea and Indonesia, including Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, attended the event.

The HLI Green Power plant, where the ceremony was held, is a battery base jointly invested by Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution. Construction began in September 2021 and has electrode processes, assembly processes, and activation processes on a total site of 320,000 m2 (96,800 pyeong). It can produce battery cells with an annual capacity of 10 gigawatt hours (GWh), enough for more than 150,000 electric vehicle batteries. The battery cells produced are high-performance NCMA lithium-ion battery cells with high nickel (N), cobalt (C), and manganese (M) plus aluminum (A).

K-Battery, Non-Chinese Market Share 46.8%… 1.4%p ↓ from the previous year
According to market research firm SNE Research on the 5th, global electric vehicle battery usage excluding China from January to May was approximately 130 gigawatt hours (GWh), up 13.1% year-on-year. On the other hand, the domestic three companies’ market share recorded 46.8%, down 1.4 percentage points (p) year-on-year.

LG Energy Solution ranks second with a market share of 25.6%. The growth rate compared to the same period last year is 5.9% (33.3 GWh). It appears that the growth was driven by brisk sales of the Ford Mustang Mark-E and GM Lyriq in North America and the Tesla Model 3 Y and Renault Megane in Europe.

SK On (3rd place, 10.7% market share) recorded a 5% (13.9 GWh) increase in battery usage compared to the same period last year. The solid sales of the Ford F-150 and Mercedes EQA in North America boosted the growth. Samsung SDI, which recorded the highest growth rate of 27.2% (13.7 GWh) among the three domestic companies, ranked 4th with a market share of 10.5%. 

Daebo Magnetics and Posco Future M Sign Supply Contract for Electromagnetic Demagnetizers
Daebo Magnetic, a company specializing in electromagnet demagnets, announced on the 1st that it signed a 5.2 billion won electromagnet demagnetizer supply contract with POSCO Future M. 

Under this contract, Daebo Magnetics will supply a five-stage de-stemming machine to POSCO Future M’s Gwangyang cathode material plant by May next year.

The electromagnet de-ionizer is a device that removes iron components in lithium, which are identified as the main cause of secondary battery explosions and fires. The de-ionization process is essential to ensure safety and improve yield during battery manufacturing. Recently, as battery safety improvement has become more important than ever, all battery manufacturers are actively introducing electromagnet de-ionizers in the cathode material manufacturing process.

Lithium prices back to January…Are cathode material performance rebounds far away?
According to the Korea Resources Information Service (KOMIS) on the 3rd, the price of lithium carbonate was 87.5 yuan per kg on the 28th of last month. This is a 20.8% drop compared to the highest point this year on April 10th (110.5 yuan per kg). The price of lithium carbonate started in the mid-to-late 80 yuan range in January of this year and began to rise from the end of February, but has been falling again since May, falling to the level at the beginning of the year.

Lithium is a key material that accounts for 60-70% of the cost of cathode materials. 

KG Mobility, Pony AI and Pony Link Sign MOU for ‘Autonomous Driving Technology Cooperation’

KG Mobility announced on the 4th that it signed an MOU for autonomous driving technology cooperation with Pony AI and PonyLink (formerly Gembacks Link) and agreed to cooperate with each other.

With this MOU, KGM plans to develop self-driving cars by combining KGM’s self-driving system with Pony AI’s technology, and will cooperate with PonyLink on various businesses related to self-driving cars, such as taxis and buses.

Pony AI is a global top 10 technology company that provides transportation services such as robo-taxi and robo-truck along with the development of self-driving cars based on key core technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and mapping systems. Pony Link possesses integrated control center construction technology, mobile communication core network technology, and connected car-based technology.

Waybus, the first step in autonomous robot business based on digital twins
Wavers, a spatial information integration solution company, announced on the 5th that it will participate in a self-driving robot demonstration project based on digital twin technology.

According to the company, Wavers is participating in the verification of autonomous robot movement path data in the address-based autonomous robot utilization expansion model verification project promoted by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the Korea Land and Geospatial Informatix Corporation (LX) Address Information Utilization Support Center. 

After completing this demonstration project, the company plans to create synergy through mutual cooperation in the autonomous driving robot field with the main business operator, robot technology company ‘AR247’. 

Robotis, Apartment Complex Delivery Robot ‘Ant’ Autonomous Driving Demonstration
Robotis, a company specializing in autonomous driving robots, announced on the 5th that it was the first participating company to successfully complete a demonstration of its autonomous driving robot ‘Ant (GAEMI)’ for implementing a robot delivery service within an apartment complex at the LH Housing Performance Research and Development Center.

Last April, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, LH, and the Korea Integrated Logistics Association signed a business agreement (MOU) to support robot delivery verification. This is the first case of full-scale robot delivery technology field verification and testing since the LH Housing Performance Research Center was opened as a test bed for verifying robot delivery technology in apartment complexes.

On this day, Ant successfully presented various demonstrations, including: △Robot autonomous driving in an apartment environment, △Robot learning and mapping in a standard environment of LH apartments, △Robot autonomous driving and interfloor movement test, △Elevator button direct operation test using a robot arm to board and disembark, and △Obstacle recognition and avoidance test.

HL Mando to Demonstrate Parking Robot at Incheon International Airport
HL Mando, a company specializing in EV and autonomous driving solutions, announced on the 5th that it signed a business agreement with Incheon International Airport Corporation for ‘joint research on autonomous driving-based parking robots.’

The signing ceremony held at Incheon International Airport on the 4th was attended by key officials including HL Mando Vice Chairman Cho Seong-hyeon and Incheon International Airport Corporation President Lee Hak-jae.

With this agreement, the two companies will conduct a demonstration operation of the valet parking robot ‘Paki’ at Incheon International Airport starting in October. This is the first case of applying an autonomous parking robot to a large public facility such as an airport.

Sunik System Signs Contract for 8.6 Generation OLED Deposition Equipment Production Site

Seonik Systems announced on the 4th that it will sign a contract for a 22,628㎡ (approximately 6,845 pyeong) site in the Brain City Industrial Complex in Doyil-dong, Pyeongtaek-si, Gyeonggi-do.

The transfer amount is 23.61514 billion won. The transfer base date is December 13, 2027, and the Seonik system is expected to be used starting in the first half of next year when the infrastructure such as water and electricity is in place.

The purpose of the acquisition was stated to be to secure a site for a new factory to increase the production capacity of deposition equipment. It is interpreted as an expansion in preparation for additional orders for deposition equipment for mass production of 8.6-generation organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). 

Finetech supplies OLED manufacturing equipment worth 13.8 billion won… Cumulative orders exceed 33 billion won
Finetech announced on the 3rd that it signed a 13.8 billion won contract with Samsung Display Vietnam to supply OLED (organic light-emitting diode) manufacturing equipment.

This order is a large-scale supply contract, accounting for 31% of last year’s sales (KRW 44.7 billion). As of last month, the cumulative order amount for this year is approximately KRW 33.4 billion, which is 75% of last year’s sales. 

A company official explained, “Based on our best bonding equipment technology, we expect to receive not only this large-scale order but also continued orders as the OLED market expands.”

Samsung Display IT Panel, Industry’s First Pantone Certification
Samsung Display announced on the 4th that its monitor and laptop panels have become the first in the industry to receive Pantone color and skin tone certification. Pantone is a global color expert company that creates color standards around the world.

To obtain Pantone Color Certification, you must achieve a certain standard by evaluating the accuracy of over 2,300 colors based on the Pantone Color Standard. Skin Tone Certification can also be obtained by accurately reproducing over 130 skin tones. 

Samsung Display became the first in the industry to receive Pantone certification for its QD-OLED (quantum dot organic light-emitting diode) panels for TVs last year, and this year it was also recognized for the excellence of its IT panels.