Samsung says shortage of car chips could affect smartphones | GeekComparison

Samsung says shortage of car chips could affect smartphones

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Samsung Electronics said a global semiconductor shortage that has hit global automakers may also disrupt orders for the memory chips used in smartphones as manufacturers rushed to respond to the crisis.

The warning from the world’s largest memory chip maker comes as companies and governments worry that limited chip production capacity could derail countries’ economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The rush of semiconductor foundries to meet the demand for automotive chips means many are now operating at full capacity, limiting their ability to take new orders, which in turn could slow the delivery of chips designed for mobile devices. .

Samsung said on Thursday that these pressures on foundries, and any subsequent slowdown in mobile device orders, could affect demand for its Dram and Nand memory chips, which allow smartphones and tablets to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

“Due to foundry supply shortages that have become a problem worldwide, the supply of other semiconductor parts may affect mobile demand, so we are closely monitoring the implications,” said Han Jinman, executive vice president of Samsung’s memory chip business.

Global semiconductor players are already moving to address chip shortages for the automotive industry.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest contract maker of processor chips, said Thursday it is “speeding up” auto-related products in an effort to meet the needs of automakers.

“While fully utilizing our capacity with demand from each industry, TSMC is reallocating our wafer capacity to support the global automotive industry,” the company said.

CC Wei, the CEO of TSMC, told investors last week that the company had converted some manufacturing capacity to respond to the sudden rebound in demand for automotive chips late last year.

The Taiwanese group’s increased attention came after automakers urged governments to campaign on their behalf.

Automotive companies in Europe, Japan and the US have held direct talks with the chipmaker and have lobbied the Taiwanese government through diplomatic channels from industry associations, said Minister Wang Mei-Hua and TSMC.

People directly familiar with those communications said such lobbying efforts were unusual.

“We believe that while economies are struggling as a result of the pandemic, governments, especially in the countries hardest hit by the virus, are seeing demand for cars as a rare growth impetus important to their overall economy. economies,” said a Taiwanese government official. “Normally we wouldn’t see such an approach if it were just a few individual companies.”

Samsung is also urgently considering expanding foundry capacity.

The company’s foundry business posted record quarterly sales in the three months to December, it said Thursday, led by strong demand for the chips used in 5G mobile technology and high-performance computing.

Samsung said a stronger South Korean win and higher manufacturing costs would weigh on the group’s first-quarter profit, but the outlook for the full year remained bright.

Semiconductors, which accounted for nearly half of Samsung’s corporate profits last year, are likely to boost profits in 2021 as chip prices rise.

“The price increase of chips this year will not be as fast as in 2017-18, but we will see a steady increase with a prolonged upcycle, which will be healthier,” said Daniel Kim, an analyst at Macquarie.

The company’s net profit rose 26.4 percent year-over-year to ₩6.45 trillion ($5.78 billion) in the fourth quarter. Earnings were lower than the 7.3 trillion forecast by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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