Samsung Electronics leads investment of KRW 400 billion in semiconductor legend ‘Tenstorent’
Samsung Electronics is said to be leading the investment of more than $300 million (approximately KRW 410 billion) in TenStorrent by Jim Keller, a ‘semiconductor legend.’

On the 14th, the American IT magazine The Information reported on the 13th (local time) that Samsung Electronics is investing in Tenstorrent, a Canadian AI chip company. Samsung Electronics participates in the investment with existing investors Fidelity Asset Management and Hyundai Motor Group. It is reported that LG Electronics is also planning to participate as a new investor.

Previously, Samsung Electronics jointly led an investment of $100 million (approximately KRW 137.7 billion) in Hyundai Motor Group and TenStorrent through the Samsung Catalyst Fund (SCF) operated by its Strategic Innovation Center (SSIC) in August last year.

Rebellion-Sapion merger, countdown to the birth of a native AI semiconductor dinosaur

Sapion’s server AI accelerator ‘X330’

On the 12th, SKT and Rebellion announced that they would pursue a merger between SKT’s affiliate Sapion Korea and Rebellion to establish a leading AI semiconductor company. 

The two companies plan to finalize the main contract for the merger in the third quarter and launch an integrated corporation within the year. Rebellion is responsible for the management of the merged corporation. It has been reported that Rebellion CEO Park Seong-hyun will be the CEO, but Rebellion’s position is that “nothing has been confirmed.” KT, Rebellion’s strategic investor, also agreed to this merger. KT, along with affiliates such as KT Cloud, is a major shareholder holding more than 10% of Rebellion’s shares, and KT Group’s cumulative investment in Rebellion is KRW 66.5 billion.

Conan Technology, on-device AI speed… Real-time foreign language conversation demonstrated on Galaxy S24
Conan Technology unveiled its differentiated On-Device AI technology on the 14th, equipped with self-developed speech recognition (STT), speech synthesis (TTS), and large language model (LLM) in smartphones. 

Conan Technology uploaded a demo video under the title ‘Conan on Device’ to its official YouTube channel on this day. The ‘Conan on Device’ demo was conducted on Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S24 Ultra model. When you tap the microphone button and speak in Korean, your voice is automatically recognized, and after real-time translation, it is provided as an English voice to the other person. This method translates what the user says and plays it as a voice in the other person’s language, and the translation results between the user’s language and the other person’s language are displayed in a conversation window on the smartphone screen. In addition to the current Korean and English, we plan to add supported languages ​​through future updates. 

“Surge in demand for memory semiconductors from China’s YMTC, which is on the U.S. blacklist”
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on the 14th that demand for flash memory semiconductors from YMTC (Yangzi Memory Technology), China’s largest memory semiconductor company, which is on the U.S. government blacklist, is rapidly increasing. 

SCMP said that as China accelerates the expansion of its computing infrastructure to support the development of generative artificial intelligence (AI), demand for Chinese components ranging from graphics processing units (GPUs) to flash memory semiconductors is rapidly increasing, and industry leaders such as YMTC and Huawei are responding. He said runners are benefiting the most. 

He then pointed out that YMTC’s business expansion is inconsistent with the forecast that the company may have to give up the 3D NAND flash memory market in December 2022 after being blacklisted by the United States amid suspicions of links to the Chinese military. 

US blocks China’s access to HBM
Bloomberg News reported on the 11th (local time) that the U.S. government is considering sanctions against China for the latest technologies such as Gate All Around (GAA) and High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). Bloomberg cited sources as saying that among the two technologies, GAA is considered somewhat more priority in the U.S. government’s discussions on export restrictions to China.

However, industry insiders say it is unclear whether the GAA regulations will focus on limiting China’s own GAA chip development capabilities, or whether they will go further to block foreign companies, including U.S. semiconductor companies, from selling products to Chinese companies. It is said that it was expressed.

Power semiconductor company Onsemi lays off 1,000 employees worldwide
According to a report submitted by Onsemi to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the 13th (local time), the company plans to lay off about 1,000 employees and relocate about 300 employees by consolidating nine workplaces around the world. After laying off about 1,900 people last year, the company has embarked on another large-scale layoff.

As of the end of last year, Onsemi had about 30,000 full-time employees. On Semi manufactures semiconductors used in electric vehicle drivetrains and driver assistance systems such as cameras and sensors. In Korea, a silicon carbide (SiC) manufacturing plant for power semiconductors is in operation in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do. Previously, Onsemi announced that it would invest 1.4 trillion won in Bucheon by 2025 to build a new manufacturing facility.

Onsemi’s business conditions are worsening as demand for electric vehicles weakens due to the economic downturn caused by high inflation and high interest rates. 

Fabless company Fado, “Proposal to sell and invest in overseas companies is unfounded.”
Regarding the report that Fado, a system semiconductor fabless company, had received a sale or investment proposal from an overseas company, it said it was ‘unfounded’.

According to the semiconductor industry on the 13th, there was a report that Fado rejected an investment proposal worth 1.5 billion dollars (about 2 trillion won) from a global company. Global IT companies such as Western Digital of the United States were mentioned as investors.

In response, Fado said in a statement, “A speculative report was made today that a proposal for sale and investment of the company was received. We clearly inform our executives and employees that they have no knowledge of this fact.”

“Stop cheap Chinese-made electric cars”… The auto tariff war ignites for the first time in 40 years

Xiaomi electric car ‘SU7’

According to the Financial Times (FT) on the 12th, the European Commission notified manufacturers that it would apply additional tariffs of up to 25% on Chinese electric vehicles. The plan is to increase the current tariff rate of 10% to a maximum of 35% starting next month. This measure reflects the results of our own investigation that Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers benefited from illegal subsidies from the Chinese government.

Previously, on the 8th, the Turkic government announced in the official gazette that it would increase tariffs on Chinese cars to 40%. Starting from the 7th of next month, the existing 10% tariff rate will be significantly increased, and a minimum tariff amount of $7,000 (about 9.7 million won) per vehicle will also be introduced. 

On the 14th of last month, the White House announced that tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles would be raised to a whopping 100%. The tariff rate, which was 25%, has quadrupled since August. The basis for the tariff bomb is Article 301 of the US Trade Act. The White House’s stated justification was to “protect American manufacturing and workers from China’s unfair trade practices.” 

Audi also builds electric vehicle factory in Mexico
On the 12th, the government of the Mexican state of Puebla announced that Tareq Masher, CEO of Audi Mexico, would invest at least 1 billion euros (equivalent to 1.5 trillion won) to build an electric vehicle production facility at the factory in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla. local time).

Mexico has been receiving a lot of attention from global electric vehicle companies in recent years. For example, Tesla is investing $5 billion to build a factory in Nuevo Leon, a state bordering the United States.

The BMW Group also announced in February that it would invest approximately 800 million euros in the north-central state of San Luis Potosi to build an electric vehicle and battery pack production plant, and GM has equipped electric vehicle facilities at its Coahuila plant, another area bordering the United States.

SK and China’s Geely join hands in eco-friendly mobility, including electric vehicle batteries
SK is strengthening cooperation with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (hereinafter referred to as Geely Group) in the eco-friendly mobility field, such as electric vehicle batteries and automotive electronic parts.

SK Corporation announced on the 12th that it signed an ‘Agreement for Strategic Business Cooperation’ with Geely Group on the 11th with the following contents in mind.

Based on this agreement, the strategy is to secure global competitiveness in the green business field by combining SK’s business development capabilities with Geely Group’s mobility expertise.

Hyundai Transys supplies electric vehicle drive system worth 3 trillion won to Saudi CEER
Hyundai Transys announced on the 12th that it signed a contract with Saudi Arabian electric vehicle manufacturer CEER to supply an ‘integrated electric vehicle drive system’ (EDS) worth 3 trillion won for 10 years from 2027.

Seer is a company established in 2022 by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF). The Saudi government is pursuing a plan to produce 500,000 electric vehicles per year by 2030 and increase the electric vehicle penetration rate in the capital Riyadh to 30%. 

The integrated electric vehicle drive system independently developed by Hyundai Transys is scheduled to be installed in all vehicle models, including Sire’s next-generation sports utility vehicle (SUV), sedan, and coupe.

Nano Team Receives Order for Thermal Runaway Blocking Pads for North American Automobile Manufacturers Through Domestic Battery Company
Nanoteam, a company specializing in thermal management materials for electrification, announced on the 14th that it has received an order from a domestic battery company for thermal runaway prevention pads for finished vehicles in North America and will begin mass production and delivery in the first half of next year.

Thermal runaway blocking material is a material that delays the spread of fire when a fire occurs in an electric vehicle. It is considered a material that can solve safety issues, which are cited as one of the causes of the slowdown in demand for electric vehicles (Chasm).

The Nano Team product succeeded in delaying the spread of a battery fire for 15 minutes early last year. The company explains that product technology has now improved to the highest level (NP: Non-propagation), which prevents fire from spreading under certain conditions.

OCI “Starts construction of battery anode special material factory”
OCI announced on the 11th that it held a groundbreaking ceremony for a silicon anode special material (SiH4) factory at the Gunsan National Industrial Complex in Jeollabuk-do. 

This factory will be established using idle land at OCI’s Gunsan plant, which produces polysilicon and phosphoric acid for semiconductors, and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2025. In July of last year, OCI signed a long-term supply contract with Nexeon to supply special materials for silicon anode materials worth 70 billion won for five years from 2025. The initial production capacity is 1,000 tons, and OCI plans to consider expanding production scale in the future according to the growth of the global secondary battery market.

KNS wins order for 46 series cylindrical battery automation equipment
KNS announced on the 12th that it signed a contract to supply 46 series (46 mm diameter) cylindrical secondary battery development equipment worth 3.6 billion won with a domestic secondary battery parts manufacturer.

The product that KNS will supply is the 46 series rivet equipment. Unlike the existing 2170 (diameter 21 mm, height 70 mm) battery, which attaches a cap (CAP) only at the top to a cylindrical can, the 46 series cylindrical battery requires an additional parts manufacturing process for both the top and bottom of the can. For this reason, a process is needed to block the electrolyte from leaking out and connect the current at the bottom, and the equipment used for this is a rivet.

China’s world’s largest self-driving car test run underway
While countries around the world are competing to develop autonomous vehicles, the New York Times reported on the 12th that more test drives are being conducted in China than in any other country. 
The newspaper focused on analyzing factors that could enable China to take the lead in the development of self-driving cars. 

In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, where about 4.5 million cars are in operation with a population of 11 million, portal company Baidu is testing 500 self-driving cars. We plan to add 1,000 more units in the future. 

Chinese authorities currently allow driverless vehicle testing in more than 16 cities, and at least 19 automakers are competing.

Ride Flux begins full-scale autonomous driving without safety personnel
Ride Flux, a fully autonomous driving startup, announced on the 12th that it has received temporary permission to operate a ‘driverless self-driving car’ that does not have a safety officer in the driver’s seat. It is the first in Korea to obtain an unmanned autonomous driving permit that can drive up to 50 km/h without a safety officer in the driver’s seat.

Ride Flux passed the unmanned autonomous driving performance evaluation at the autonomous driving experimental city (K-City) located in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do in December last year, and received permission for unmanned test operation from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport after additional review of this year’s safe operation plan.

Robotis autonomous robot receives subsidy from Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Robotis announced on the 13th that its self-driving robot ‘GAEMI’ was selected as a robot eligible for subsidy support in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. This is thanks to the fact that it is actually operated in various hotels, hospitals, and offices in Japan and has been actively carrying out various verification projects. Kanagawa Prefecture sees the robot industry as a major future source of growth with the goal of creating a “society that coexists with robots,” and has long established a separate “Sagami Robot Industry Special Zone” area to encourage the robot industry.

Ants can freely enter and exit elevators without being connected to a separate communication device, making them possible to be introduced and operated even in old buildings. In particular, it has arms that can move freely, allowing various interactions such as card tagging, knocking, and ringing in addition to pressing the elevator button.

Autonomous A2G signed an agreement with Seongnam City for the ‘Mobility Specialized City Creation Project’
Autonomous A2G announced on the 14th that it signed a business agreement with Seongnam City to promote the ‘Mobility Specialized City Creation Project’. 

This agreement was reached as Seongnam City was finally selected for the ‘2023 Mobility Specialized City Creation Project’ hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Along with A2G, SK M&Service and Humax Mobility also participated as contracting organizations.

Through the ‘Mobility Specialized City Development Project’, Seongnam City is developing △Seongnam-type integrated mobility (MaaS) platform △local customized mobility hub △open sharing service for residents of official and affiliated vehicles △personal mobility service △self-driving shuttle service △self-driving LiDAR infrastructure service The plan is to build etc. 

SOS Lab confirms that the public offering price exceeds the upper limit by 11,500 won… Listed on KOSDAQ on the 25th

Lidar developed by SOS Lab

SOS Lab announced on the 12th that it conducted demand forecasting for domestic and foreign institutional investors for 5 trading days from the 3rd to the 10th and set the public offering price at 11,500 won, which exceeded the upper end of the desired public offering price by nearly 28%.

SOS Lab plans to publicize 2 million shares in this listing, and previously proposed a desired public offering price range of 7,500 won to 9,000 won with Korea Investment & Securities, the listing manager.

2,216 domestic and foreign institutions participated in the demand forecast, and the public offering price was adjusted upward as approximately 98% of the total institutions proposed a price of 11,500 won or more. The competition rate was calculated to be 1072.3 to 1.

Samsung Display’s first ‘circular OLED’… I rode in a mini electric car

Samsung Display announced that it would unveil the industry’s first circular OLED (organic light emitting diode) for CID developed at the ‘The New Mini Family’ launching event held at S Factory in Seongsu-dong, Seoul on the 13th. 

At the event, a total of five new cars were displayed, including MINI’s two pure electric vehicle models, the ‘New All-Electric Mini Cooper’ and the ‘New All-Electri Mini Countryman’. Samsung Display exclusively supplies circular OLEDs to five models. 

Samsung Display’s CDI panel was completed based on ‘one-chip DDI’ developed in collaboration with Mini. The explanation is that the technology was used to create a screen optimized for circular displays.

LG Display expected to reduce operating deficit
On the 14th, Hyundai Motor Securities predicted that LG Display’s operating loss in the second quarter would narrow despite the off-season in the mobile sector. LG Display’s sales in the second quarter of this year were estimated at KRW 6.239 trillion and its operating loss at KRW 369 billion.

Kim Jong-bae, a researcher at Hyundai Motor Securities, predicted, “The operating deficit in the second quarter will narrow due to increased IT organic light-emitting diode (OLED) sales, expanded liquid crystal display (LCD) and OLED TV shipments, rising panel prices, and continued favorable exchange rates.”

The entire display moves… Hyundai Mobis unveils MVIX 5.0
Hyundai Mobis unveiled its self-developed next-generation digital nose fit M.VICS 5.0 on the 11th. The digital cockpit is an infotainment system installed in front of the driver and passenger seats that provides driving information and communicates with the outside world.

Hyundai Mobis’ MVIX 5.0 contains the latest display convergence technology. The entire front, from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat, is filled with one large screen without borders. It is connected as one, from a 27-inch main screen to a 12.3-inch high-definition screen for the passenger seat, a 7-inch screen containing various vehicle status information, and a display that manipulates various driving environments through touch and haptics (physical responses such as vibration).