The market share enjoyed by Taiwanese foundry chip makers, back-end semiconductor manufacturers and printed circuit board (PCB) companies may start to rise between next year and 2014 as Apple Inc seeks to rely less on components made by rival Samsung Electronics Co, a Credit Suisse analyst said yesterday.
“There are a lot of opportunities [for these companies] to gain a greater share of the Apple supply chain,” Randy Abrams, director and head of the brokerage’s Taiwan equity research division, told a press conference at the first day of the 13th Credit Suisse Asian Technology Conference in Taipei.
Abrams said some Taiwanese companies may benefit from the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, following a decision by Apple to gradually shift away from using components manufactured by South Korea-based Samsung, its current major component supplier.
The launch of new Apple smartphones and tablet products later this year could boost revenue for Taiwanese suppliers — including foundries, semiconductor packaging and testing firms as well as PCB makers — and this may bolster revenues from next year or 2014, Abrams said.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, may also benefit from new processor orders placed by Apple if TSMC unveils high-tech 20-nanometer (nm) technology chips in 2014, the business director added.
Despite the global economy’s ongoing problems, Abrams said he maintained a relatively optimistic view on the semiconductor sector for the fourth quarter of the year, as he foresees inventory to starting to decline during that period.
Abrams said that Windows 8-based notebooks, Microsoft’s Surface tablet computer and Apple’s iPhone 5 would all help drive new product cycles for tech companies and boost their sales in the coming quarters.
Manish Nigam, head of the brokerage’s non-Japan Asia technology research division, said that middle-sized devices, such as tablet computers between 7 inches and 13 inches would be the market’s focus to shore up the technology sector in the second half of this year.
On the valuation front, the brokerage suggested that investors focus more on semiconductor back-end makers, instead of foundries, given their relatively low share prices and better cost controls.
Compared with the semiconductor sector, most PC stocks do not look encouraging, with little to indicate that they will strengthen in the immediate future, Credit Suisse said, adding that companies which have already shifted their focus on to the mobile sector would be worth watching.