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BYD's new energy vehicle, Yangwang U9, unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2023

China EV Inc. Preps for Global Market as Western Rivals Wilt

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Western automotive OEMs have been steadily retreating from a Chinese domestic market heavily dominated by local hybrid and battery electric vehicle manufacturers. Now, the Chinese auto OEMs are venturing out, poised to sweep into Europe, and then the rest of the world. How should lawmakers and carmakers in the U.S. and Europe respond to China EV Inc.?

Read More »China EV Inc. Preps for Global Market as Western Rivals Wilt
a small company is ro be merged with a bigger company

Analysts: Onsemi Is Natural Candidate to Buy Wolfspeed

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Silicon-based power electronics devices and silicon carbide (SiC) power devices have commonalities. Suppliers of both types tend to be more vertically integrated. Where they diverge is their yields. SiC yield – from wafers to devices – is dramatically lower than silicon-based power devices. With everyone racing to nail down base manufacturing technology, the stakes center on how long Wolfspeed can keep competitors at bay.

To be clear, Wolfspeed is not for sale.

However, considering all factors affecting today’s silicon carbide (SiC) business, the industry experts tend toward the conclusion that On Semiconductor Corp. (Onsemi) is the most logical suitor to buy Wolfspeed. Here’s why.

Read More »Analysts: Onsemi Is Natural Candidate to Buy Wolfspeed
Ganesh Moorthy. Microchip CEO

Microchip CEO Pursues ‘Bowling Pin’ Strategy

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Microchip claims it is no longer so easy to pigeonhole it as an 8-bit MCU company. CEO Ganesh Moorthy explains plans to leverage its bread-and-butter semiconductor products, create more permutations and product combinations, as Microchip plots to lead fragmented embedded/IoT markets.

Microchip is already in the “Things” market, CEO Ganesh Moorthy recently told The Ojo-Yoshida Report. That penetration, in his mind, puts the company in a well-timed position to seize the “megatrend” of the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

Here’s why.

Read More »Microchip CEO Pursues ‘Bowling Pin’ Strategy
Hidetoshi Shibata, Renesas CEO

The Man Who Put Renesas Back on The Global IC Map

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
The founders of Renesas Electronics in 2010 had high hopes to make their company Japan’s flagship semiconductor supplier. Instead, Renesas lost its way. The life-or-death question for almost a decade has been, who could save Renesas and how he could pull it off. Has Renesas found its guy?

It has taken a generational change, an intrepid global view and exceptional financial savvy to breathe a new life into Renesas, Japan’s ailing chip company. In the most recent financial call, Hidetoshi Shibata, Renesas CEO, declared, “I believe Renesas is finally joining the ranks with global peers in the semiconductor industry.”

Read More »The Man Who Put Renesas Back on The Global IC Map
Created with DALL·E, an AI system by OpenAI

Gauging ‘Reasonable Risk’ in ChatGPT

By Junko Yoshida

Since Open AI opened the door for anyone to play with ChatGPT last November, it seems as though the whole world can’t stop talking about it.

At the Ojo-Yoshida Report, Peter Clarke wrote a ChatGPT primer and declared it—despite its current idiosyncrasies — “an AI ‘babe in arms,’ destined to become far more capable and sophisticated.”

In contrast, Girish Mhatre, who penned “ChatGPT Will Eat Our Brains” for the Ojo-Yoshida Report, isn’t so sanguine. “The genie,” he cautioned, “is out of the bottle. Nothing will be the same again.”  He suggests that OpenAI’s only responsible option is “to pull back, to restrict ChatGPT access to a trusted cadre of ‘tire kickers’ charged with probing every aspect of the product from a user point of view, for a year.”

Like everyone else, we’re probing both the intended and unintended consequences of generative AI.

Amidst this controversy, we recently had Missy Cummings as our podcast guest. Cummings is director of George Mason University’s Center for Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Translational AI. She was one of the Navy’s first female “top gun” fighter pilots, flying an F/A-18 Hornet from 1988-1999.

Below is our conversation with Cummings on ChatGPT and generative AI, excerpted from our podcast.

Read More »Gauging ‘Reasonable Risk’ in ChatGPT
Liang-Gee Chen, Taiwan's former Minister of Science and Technology.

Taiwan’s Semiconductor Industry Must Look Outward

By Judith Cheng

Liang-Gee Chen, Taiwan’s former Minister of Science and Technology, has proven to be a genuinely rare leader among Taiwanese officials. What drove Chen was not his political ambition. Rather, it was his passion for science — rooted in his own engineering background — that made Chen a uniquely qualified and vocal policy maker.

Chen earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from National Cheng Kung University in 1979, 1981, and 1986, respectively. Add to those credentials dozens of U.S. patents. Chen is also the longest-serving Minister of Science and Technology. During his more than three-year tenure (February 2017 to May 2019), he earned the moniker, “King of Ideas”. Chen’s management style differed sharply from politicians and policymakers. For instance, he wrote weekly internal emails designed to encourage more collaboration among civil servants. He also encouraged research in AI and promoted entrepreneurship, aiming to accelerate the transformation of Taiwan’s electronic industry from hardware to full-stack systems.

Read More »Taiwan’s Semiconductor Industry Must Look Outward
U.S. China chips

Chipmakers Face Another Year of Geopolitical Rifts

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake:
Geopolitical issues continue to pose serious challenges to the semiconductor industry and the fallout will continue in 2023. Pushed into a corner by stiff sanctions, China will be more motivated to wean itself off Western technology. This may cause an irreversible decoupling of the chip supply chain with significant implications.

China will fall short of its vaunted goal of self-sufficiency in technology production by 2025. Face with stiff economic sanctions, Beijing will accelerate plans to liberate itself from the Western-led semiconductor supply chain, according to veteran industry watcher Jean-Christophe Eloy.

Read More »Chipmakers Face Another Year of Geopolitical Rifts
Crystal Ball 2023

Phil Koopman’s 2023 AV Predictions

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
The auto industry is already steering hard toward Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). But in terms of safety, it’s wrong to think ADAS is easier than AV. Nor should anyone assume that AV and ADAS are following separate paths. Safety expert Phil Koopman calls Level 2 driver assistance is “a fiction.”

After spending a decade pushing for robotaxis, 2022 turned out to be a year of reckoning for the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. The AV emperor, it turns out, was naked as the auto industry greatly underestimated how hard it is to implement autonomous driving.

Read More »Phil Koopman’s 2023 AV Predictions
triangulate vertically integrated

Onsemi Triangulates Its Silicon Carbide Strategy

By George Leopold

What’s at stake:
Silicon carbide remains a luxury technology: Nice to have but still pricey. New all-inclusive business models that allow chipmakers to produce SiC materials, devices and packages are seen as one way to scale the technology to reduce cost. Onsemi is among those with an early-mover advantage.

Early investors in the nascent market for silicon carbide (SiC) technology have a leg up on relative late-comers jumping on the power-electronics bandwagon being driven by electric vehicle and industrial applications. Among those advantages are the ability to address the emerging SiC market through a vertically integrated business model that enables across-the-board production of material substrates, or boules, wafers, devices and SiC packages.

Read More »Onsemi Triangulates Its Silicon Carbide Strategy
Mike Noonen

Mike Noonen: The Startup Launching Maestro

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
Mike Noonen is the man semiconductor startup founders and venture capitalists call upon to hustle their investments through production to IPO or acquisition. By joining AR/VR holographic chip developer Swave, Noonen is about to accelerate disruption of the virtual imaging market.

The Mike Noonen semiconductor startup academy would be a roaring success. That is, if Noonen, now CEO of Swave Photonics, had one.

Read More »Mike Noonen: The Startup Launching Maestro