The Source – Top 5 News 15th September 2023

The Source is our latest offering to support our clients and visitors. You can read our Top 5 news for week commencing 11th September 2023 below.

  1. UT Austin Takes Center Stage in Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Industry

In the wake of global chip shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, semiconductors have become a focal point of national policy, with UT Austin at the forefront of innovation. Researchers at the university are advancing semiconductor technology, attracting major investments, and forging coalitions to establish Texas as a hub for the U.S. semiconductor industry. At a recent Semiconductor Day event, key players from academia, government, and leading tech companies converged to discuss the industry’s growth. The Texas Legislature’s approval of $552 million for the Texas Institute for Electronics (TIE) underpins these efforts. Samsung and UT also announced a significant partnership to cultivate semiconductor talent. As the industry experiences unprecedented growth, UT Austin’s role in semiconductor research and development promises to shape its future.

2. Global Semiconductor Sales Dip 11.8% in July but Show Promising Monthly Growth

In July, global semiconductor industry sales fell by 11.8% year-over-year to $43.2 billion, according to The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). However, there was a 2.3% increase compared to June 2023, showing steady month-to-month growth. SIA President and CEO John Neuffer expressed optimism, noting that the year-to-year decrease in July was the smallest gap of the year so far. Region-wise sales varied, with the Americas and Europe seeing gains, while China and Asia Pacific faced declines. Notable semiconductor ETFs and companies in the industry include VanEck Semiconductor ETF, Intel, Micron Technology, and Qualcomm.

3. Singapore Semiconductor Stocks and the China-US Chip War

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have centered on critical areas like semiconductor chips, crucial for smartphones, electric vehicles, and AI. Recent developments in the semiconductor industry, including China’s ban on Micron Technology products and Nvidia’s market dominance, impact Singapore’s semiconductor stocks. While Asia Pacific and the Americas face a challenging 2023 due to inflation and consumer spending declines, a strong rebound is expected in 2024, especially in the memory segment. Local semiconductor firms in Singapore, such as UMS Holdings, Venture Corporation, AEM Holdings, and Grand Venture Technology, have varying degrees of exposure to the semiconductor industry, with implications related to geographic and industry factors. While a higher exposure to semiconductors can offer growth opportunities, it also comes with increased geopolitical risks associated with the chip war.

4. China Develops Breakthrough Technique for Gallium-Based Semiconductors

Researchers at Zhejiang University in China have unveiled a novel method for the more efficient and cost-effective production of gallium oxide, a promising alternative to silicon in semiconductor manufacturing, as reported by the South China Morning Post. This discovery gains significance in light of the ban on gallium exports to China. While silicon has long dominated the semiconductor industry, the emergence of compounds like gallium oxide signals a new direction in semiconductor technology.

5. Huawei’s Remarkable Comeback Raises Questions About US-China Tech Dominance

When the Trump administration blacklisted Huawei in 2019, the Chinese tech giant’s global smartphone business faced near devastation. However, with strong support from the Chinese government, Huawei has made a remarkable recovery, becoming a key player in China’s efforts for technological independence. This resurgence raises questions about the effectiveness of US efforts to contain China’s geopolitical rise and who will ultimately dominate areas like semiconductor design and artificial intelligence. The initial US concerns centered around Huawei’s potential for espionage through its telecom equipment, leading to a series of restrictions. Despite challenges outside of China, Huawei has thrived domestically and ventured into new technologies, such as cloud computing and semiconductor manufacturing. While the US government remains wary, Huawei’s resurgence underscores the evolving tech landscape.

6. China Set to Launch $40 Billion State Fund to Boost Chip Industry

China is gearing up to introduce a new state-backed investment fund, with the goal of raising approximately $40 billion to support its semiconductor sector. This initiative, led by the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, surpasses previous funds from 2014 and 2019, emphasizing the country’s determination to compete with the U.S. and other global rivals in the semiconductor industry. A significant portion of the fund will be allocated to chip manufacturing equipment, aligning with President Xi Jinping’s vision of achieving semiconductor self-sufficiency. The move comes in response to export control measures imposed by the U.S. and its allies, restricting China’s access to advanced chipmaking technology.

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