Inventec Corp (英業達) yesterday reported that net income last quarter fell to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2012, dragged down by foreign exchange losses of NT$1.2 billion (US$39.79 million).
Net profit plummeted 44.87 percent to NT$678 million, from NT$1.23 billion a year earlier, and was 61.69 percent lower than the prior quarter’s NT$1.77 billion, Inventec data showed.
“The New Taiwan dollar sharply appreciated 6 percent in the first quarter, which put immense pressure on Inventec’s profitability,” chief financial officer Yu Chin-pao (游進寶) told an investors’ conference at the firm’s headquarters in Taipei.
Inventec’s loss-making solar power business continued to erode earnings generated from the company’s information and communications technology segment, Yu said.
The firm’s gross margin fell 0.3 percentage points annually to 5.6 percent last quarter, and its operating margin dropped 0.4 percentage points to 1.6 percent due to appreciation of the NT dollar and the solar power business’ lackluster performance, Yu said.
“Inventec expects the effects of appreciation to decrease this quarter,” he said. “Inventec estimates revenue this quarter will climb by a single-digit percentage from last quarter’s NT$99.75 billion, supported by growing orders for servers, handheld devices and the steady demand for commercial PCs.”
“Servers and handheld devices are the main growth engines for Inventec this year, based on an order forecast offered by our clients,” Yu added.
Inventec president Huang Kuo-chun (黃國鈞) said the company’s server business this year is likely to be driven mainly by rising global demand for data centers.
“The cloud-computing demand for artificial intelligence [AI] voice recognition applications is also expected to support the momentum, thanks to the increasing population of AI home products, such as Amazon.com Inc’s Echo,” Huang said.
“Revenue and profit in Inventec’s handheld devices segment are likely to increase by a double-digit percentage this year from last year, based on clients’ new projects,” Inventec’s handheld devices subsidiary Inventec Appliance Corp (英華達) chief executive officer David Ho (何代水) said.
The subsidiary manufactures a wide range of “smart” devices, such smartphones, wireless speakers, wearable devices and wireless earphones. Its clients include China’s Xiaomi Corp (小米), US’s Fitbit Inc and Apple Inc.
Inventec, which assembles Apple’s AirPods, has been rumored as having secured an order to make the US company’s planned AI voice-controlled home assistant, similar to the Amazon Echo, in the second half of this year.
However, Ho declined to confirm the market speculation.
Inventec has two US clients that are to introduce voice-controlled home products this year, expecting shipments to reach peak levels in the third and fourth quarter this year, he said.
Total shipments of Inventec’s handheld devices, including AI home products and earphones, are estimated to surge by more than 10 percent annually to 700 million units this year, Ho said.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
Production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp’s (TSMC, 台積電) fabs was not affected by a fire at a construction site for a water recycling facility in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that the construction site is not adjacent to its fabs, which were unaffected. CTCI Corp (中鼎工程) is responsible for the construction of the facility, which it is to operate itself once it is completed, the chipmaker said. The facility caught fire at about 11am, and the blaze was brought under control about 30 minutes after the incident was reported, the Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration
‘SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC PAIN’: A military takeover would only temporarily weigh on wafer production on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, IC Insights said Taiwan has more chip manufacturing capacity than any other economy in the world, US-based market information advisory firm IC Insights said in a research paper last week, cautioning that the nation’s strength could prompt China to attempt to take over Taiwan. Taiwan commanded 21.4 percent of global installed IC capacity, ahead of South Korea’s 20.4 percent, Japan’s 15.8 percent and China’s 15.3 percent, North America’s 12.6 percent and Europe’s 5.7 percent, IC Insights said. Taiwan is one of two countries that uses 10-nanometer technology or better to produce wafers, holding 62.8 percent of global capacity, with South Korea holding the remaining 37.2
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has