Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) said it does not expect its shipments of memory chips to Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to be affected by the latest US export restrictions on the Chinese tech giant.
“As long as the company [Huawei] places orders, we will ship [chips], unless the [Taiwanese] government restricts all Taiwanese companies from shipping” to Huawei, Macronix chairman and chief executive officer Miin Wu (吳敏求) said on Monday in Hsinchu.
The US Department of Commerce on Friday took a further step to block chip supplies from non-US companies to Huawei by requiring foreign semiconductor makers to get US government permission before shipping chips to the Chinese firm if they use US software or equipment during production.
Macronix said the new US restrictions would not apply to non-US semiconductor firms making chips that are not designed by or developed by Huawei.
Macronix supplies self-designed high-density memory chips for Huawei’s 5G base stations. The Chinese firm is one of its top three clients, but accounted for less than 10 percent of its revenue last year.
Asked about its outlook for this year, Wu said that working from home would likely become a new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and as people and enterprises upgrade Internet-related equipment, including computers, networking equipment and data centers, to boost transmission speeds and productivity, it would boost demand for memory chips, he said.
The pandemic has also spurred demand for game consoles and software, as well as accelerated 5G deployment worldwide, Wu said on the sidelines of a ceremony in which he received an honorary doctorate from National Chiao Tung University for his outstanding achievement in the semiconductor industry.
COVID-19-induced demand supports Macronx’s expectations of supply constraints in high-density NOR flash memory chips and NAND flash memory chips in the second half of the year, mainly because there are fewer suppliers, he said.
From this quarter, Macronix is raising prices by a single-digit percentage for NOR and NAND flash memory chips on a quarterly basis.
The company is also on track to ship its first 48-layer 3D NAND flash memory chip in the second half of this year, it said.
Market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) shared a similar view, forecasting that DRAM and NAND flash makers would continue shipping chips to Huawei, as their chips are not custom-made for Huawei or its chip arm HiSilicon Technologies Co (海思), it said in a note on Monday.
However, the Taipei-based researcher cut its price outlook for DRAM and NAND flash memory chips for this year due to fallout from the pandemic and the latest US restrictions on Huawei, saying DRAM chip prices are to drop as much as 5 percent quarterly in the fourth quarter after three quarters of increases and NAND flash chip prices are to see a quarterly decline of about 5 percent next quarter and dip between 5 percent and 10 percent in the fourth quarter.
TrendForce earlier this year forecast that prices for those two types of memory chips would increase throughout the year.
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