The third quarter of 2021 saw remarkable revenue growth for semiconductors, especially in Europe, in spite of continued component gaps exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this month’s semiconductor news update, we’ll take a look under the hood of Europe’s components distribution market, an R&D collab that’s set to shake up the EV market in Singapore, and the rocky Q4 expected in the DRAM market.
Record Year For European Semiconductor Sales
It’s true that 2021 started off slowly for the European components distribution market. A double-digit rally in Q3, however, has turned this into a record year. Both semiconductors and IP&E (Interconnect, Passive and Electromechanical) components have enjoyed a late surge in sales — by +31.8% and +44.7%, respectively.
Among products and product groups, Discrete, Power, Sensors, Opto, and Memories led the way, exceeding overall market growth. Analog and MOS Micro, meanwhile, trailed the trend (but still grew). Shortages remain the biggest problem in the industry.
Herman Reiter, the newly appointed chairman of DMASS, cautions that “2022 may tell a different story. We would hope that by mid-2022 we will see some relief on the supply side and the supply chain. Long-term, for the first time since the 80s, our industry sees huge geopolitical inflection marks, where availability and access to technology may drive the development rather than the actual end-market demand.”
A*STAR and STMicro Launch SiC R&D Collab For EV Market
Two giants are teaming up on research and development for silicon carbide power-electronics applications. The collaboration between STMicroelectronics and the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) will establish a foundation in Singapore for a comprehensive SiC ecosystem.
The automotive and industrial markets stand to gain the most from the arrangement, as optimized SiC-integrated devices and package modules promise substantial performance improvements in next-gen power electronics.
Prof Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME promises that the companies’ combined efforts will “continue to anchor high-value R&D activities in Singapore and bolster its reputation as an attractive regional hub for research, innovation and enterprise,” especially for the growing electric vehicles market.
DRAM Revenue Still Increasing, But Headed For a Slide
DRAM buyers, fearful of a supply crunch, continued raising their demand through mid-2021. That’s when pandemic-induced component gaps had collateral effects. With a glut of memory but a shortage of other components, many OEMs—especially PC OEMs—scaled back DRAM procurement. The server-related market segment, however, has continued to prop up overall demand, with most DRAM suppliers posting marginal growth in Q3. All told, DRAM revenue increased by 10.2% QoQ (to $26.6 billion) for 3Q21.
Heading into Q4, research from TrendForce suggests that sliding DRAM prices will be an inescapable trend. Individual suppliers will only maintain profitability proportionate to their progress in process migration and yield rate improvement.
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