Micron Technology Inc, the biggest maker of computer memory chips in the US, said that the growing crisis in Ukraine highlighted the complexity and vulnerability of the semiconductor supply chain.
Some of the gases used in the production of chips come from the country, which the US says Russia is invading.
“For Micron, we have a small part of our noble gases coming from Ukraine and, of course, we carry large inventory, but more importantly have multiple sources of supply,” Micron chief executive officer Sanjay Mehrotra said, referring to a group of nonreactive gases such as neon. “While we continue to monitor the situation carefully and certainly hope the situation will de-escalate, we believe, based on current analysis, that our supply chain of noble gases is in reasonable shape.”
Shortages of electronic components, caused by a surge in demand and limited increases in production, have made the semiconductor industry particularly vulnerable to shifts in geopolitics. The COVID-19 pandemic and a series of human-made and natural hazards have also highlighted the fragility of a supply chain that spans the globe.
Manufacturing a semiconductor, which takes three to four months from start to finish, is a complex photolithographic process that requires many steps to build the tiny circuits on sheets of silicon. It is dependent on the supply of rare chemicals, and even when manufacturing is complete, chips are often moved to other parts of the world to be packaged, tested and installed in the devices that depend on them.
Mehrotra said that the shortages, which have reduced shipments of everything from home appliances to smartphones and vehicles, are improving in some respects, but have not made hoped-for progress in others.
Shipments of smartphones and computers, the two biggest product categories that use Micron’s memory chips, have been held back by shortages of basic analogue chips. That in turn has led PC makers to pare orders to companies such as Micron.
“We are coming into the year certainly expecting the supply chain shortages to improve for the non-memory components we procure from other suppliers,” Mehrotra said, adding that the rate of improvement for the shortages “is behind what we were hoping for.”
POTENTIAL SETBACK: Although Chinese chip designers and foundry firms already have US EDA software, they might be unable to update those programs under new US rules The US’ latest ban on advanced electronic design automation (EDA) software exports to China might hinder Chinese chip companies from accessing advanced semiconductor technology, as they attempt to upgrade to 3-nanometer processes in the next three to five years, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday. The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Friday announced bans on EDA tools for gate-all-around field-effect transistors (GAAFET), a new-generation semiconductor technology that US chipmaker Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co from South Korea are adopting to make 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer chips. The bureau in a statement said that gate-all-around field-effect transistor
WIDENING THE FIELD: Human resources managers must drop prejudices regarding gender, appearance and age to find the best candidates, Micro Technology said The job market for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry remained tight this quarter, as hiring activity slowed from a record high last quarter, a survey released yesterday by online human resource firm 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) showed. Ongoing labor shortages have prompted local semiconductor firms to recruit more women and foreigners in Taiwan and in Southeast Asia, the job bank said. The talent gap in the first quarter reached 35,000 people per month, a surge of 39.8 percent from the same period last year, as the contactless economy and digital transformation shore up demand for semiconductors, 104 Job Bank said in its annual report
Cloud computing equipment company Wiwynn Corp (緯穎科技), which counts Meta Platforms Inc as one of its key customers, is boosting capacity expansion in Malaysia through a new investment of about NT$1.94 billion (US$64.7 million), it said yesterday in a statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The investment, which aims to help the company with business development and strategic arrangements, would be made through subsidiary Wiwynn Technology Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd to build a new factory, Wiwynn said in the filing. The announcement came about one-and-a-half months after the company started phase II of its new server printed circuit board assembly (PCBA)
With a tantalizing array of satay chicken, wok-fried mud crab and chilled tiger prawns, the dinner buffet at Singapore’s Grand Hyatt hotel typically sets diners back about US$70. Those on a tighter budget and with an eye on sustainability can fill a box for one-tenth of that price. Across Asia, tech start-ups are taking food otherwise destined for landfill and providing discounted meals through mobile phone apps. About one-third of food is lost or wasted every year globally, and the mountains of waste are estimated to cause 8 to 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions such as methane, the UN says.