How will the global semiconductor industry chain be affected by the increasing epidemic in Japan and South Korea?

 How will the global semiconductor industry chain be affected by the increasing epidemic in Japan and South Korea?

At present, Samsung, SK Hynix and other semiconductor giants of Japan and South Korea have not shut down and are all in operation. In the short term, the impact is not obvious, but once the epidemic continues to worsen, the shortage of key supply will bring huge losses to the global industrial chain.

According to the reporter, Samsungs confirmed employees are in the mobile phone factory, and its a test line. There are not many employees, which has little impact on the whole. Samsung Electronics said its chip and panel plants in South Korea were unaffected.

A number of semiconductor industry insiders told the 21st century economic reporter that the Japanese and South Korean governments intervention is not so strong now. The factories are operating normally and need to keep dynamic tracking.

Memory prices have risen slightly

According to the survey of dramexchange, Samsung ranked first in terms of global NAND brand manufacturers revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a market share of 35.5%; SK Hynix ranked sixth, with a market share of 9.6%. In the global DRAM factorys own brand memory revenue ranking in the fourth quarter of 2019, Samsung ranked first with a market share of 43.5%, SK Hynix ranked second with a market share of 29.2%.

As a whole, in NAND field, Samsung plus SK Hynix, Korean manufacturers account for 45.1%, close to half of the country; in DRAM field, Samsung and SK account for 72.7%.

In addition to the factories in South Korea, Samsung also has factories in Xian, China. There are worries about the impact of the epidemic on the expansion process, but it is still in accordance with the original plan. SK Hynix has factories in Wuxi, China, and the investment plan tends to be conservative due to the impact of the Sino US trade war and the epidemic. In addition, there are factories in Iwate Prefecture and Sanjiang County of Japan according to the data of kanman and the west of NAND factory, which are also affected by the epidemic.

Wu Yating, an analyst with Jibang consulting, replied to the 21st century economic report that due to the high automation of the memory factory, the current production has not been affected by the epidemic. As for the demand side, affected by the epidemic, laptops and smartphones have been significantly shipped and repaired; however, both DRAM and nandflash are about to turn into a tight supply market, but the purchase intention of the purchasing end is still strong.

It should be pointed out that the production of semiconductor industry is basically all year round, and its process is special, once stopped, it will cause significant losses, so the factory will not easily stop production or reduce production capacity. Since the end of last year, the supply and demand of memory have been changing. Under the influence of the epidemic, it may lead to further shortage, and the price of memory will rise.

Jibang consulting pointed out that from the global supply side, the characteristics of the memory industry is that unless encountering global systemic risks, manufacturers will not cut production abruptly. In addition, the client inventory is still insufficient. Even if downstream customers are facing the problem of lack of work and materials at this stage, they will still maintain a certain purchasing power; in addition, most semiconductor factories have been highly automated, and the demand for human resources is not high. Therefore, Jibang consulting estimated that DRAM and nandflash prices in the first quarter maintained a slight upward trend.

On the other hand, the industry also pays attention to the replacement of domestic memory enterprises, the most representative of which are Changjiang storage, Hefei Changxin and Jinhua storage. At present, Changjiang storage announced that the company has started mass production of 3dnand flash memory, which is also the first 64 layer 3dnand flash memory in China. According to the official website of Changxin storage, the newly listed memory capacity of Changxin notebook and desktop computer is 8GB, and the speed is ddr4-2666. The company plans to build another two wafer factories.

The two companies have made breakthroughs in the fields of NAND and DRAM, but the domestic storage industry is still in the catch-up stage, which has a large gap with the international large-scale factories and needs a long time of accumulation.

Many materials and products are irreplaceable

At present, Japan has not disclosed the epidemic situation in its factories, but its position in the upstream of semiconductors is superior. If the epidemic results in the shortage of raw materials, it will undoubtedly be a heavy blow to the global and Chinese semiconductor industry.

Semiconductor production process is mainly divided into three parts: design, manufacturing and sealing test. In the latter two parts, key equipment and materials are needed, which are also the upstream cornerstone to ensure the smooth production of chips.

But Japans hard core capability is in the upstream raw materials and hardware equipment, many technical barriers are very high, especially in materials, many Japanese enterprises products are irreplaceable.

According to the 2018 global semiconductor output value data released by icinsights, the semiconductor material is about 11% of the total output value, and the equipment is about 12%. The sum of the two is 23%, accounting for about a quarter of the semiconductor industry.

Although the overall volume of materials and equipment is not large, high barriers make players very few, and there is a big gap between high play and ordinary players. Japan is a high play player. In the field of raw materials, Japanese enterprises occupy half of the global semiconductor material market.

For example, in the silicon chip field with the highest cost share (more than 30%) of materials, shinyue Chemical Co., Ltd. of Japan has the first market share, followed by sumco of Japan (Sumitomo of Mitsubishi), global wafer of Taiwan of China, Siltronic of Germany and SK Hynix of South Korea. According to the Southwest Securities report, in 2018, the global market share of the top four silicon chip suppliers reached 94%, of which Japans Xinyue chemical accounted for 28%, and Japans Sumitomo Mitsubishi accounted for 25%.

In the field of photoresist, Japanese JSR, Tokyo chemical industry, Sumitomo chemical, Dow, Fuji electronics and other enterprises monopolize; in the field of target materials, Japanese mine metal, Honeywell, Dongcao and Praxair occupy most of the market.

In addition, Japans well-known semiconductor material suppliers include Sumitomo chemical, Showa electric, Daikin industry, Stella chemifa, Morita chemical, Japan relief printing Co., Ltd., etc.

In terms of equipment suppliers, Tokyo electronics, one of the worlds top five equipment giants, is a Japanese enterprise. In terms of technology laurel lithography, Nikon and Canon can produce, although the manufacturing process and market share are not comparable to ASML in the Netherlands.

In addition to the most powerful materials and equipment, Japans chip suppliers have made achievements in the field of segmentation. For example, Risa electronics is the top three automotive semiconductor manufacturer in the world, and this year completed the acquisition of chip manufacturer IDT with us $6.7 billion. Although Sony is facing problems such as architecture integration and factory shutdown, it is dominating in the field of image shooting only with CMOS sensor chips.

In these areas, no matter in China or other countries, there are few complete industrial chains to replace. The report of Guotai Junan Securities also pointed out that in the electronic industry, Japanese enterprises have an absolute advantage in the field of OEM and sealing materials. Japanese enterprises have been engaged in research and development of materials for many years, and have reached the level of technical perfection. In the important fields of fine molecules such as silicon wafer materials, light masks and targets, Japanese enterprises account for more than 50% of the total. At present, China has not been able to achieve a major breakthrough in this field.

Compared with China, the semiconductor industry chain of South Korea and Japan focuses on the middle and upper reaches, with higher intelligence intensity, lower artificial intensity and stronger anti epidemic ability. However, the risk brought by the outbreak cannot be ignored. If it is further intensified, the industrial chain will be impacted.

Source: responsible editor of 21st century economic report: Yang bin_nf4368