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Aerial view container ship in port at container terminal port

The Supply-Chain Decoupling Quandary

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
The idea of “on-shoring” or “near-shoring” is gaining traction among supply-chain practitioners in the face of stringent government policies. Policy makers have become more inclined to define specific industries and technologies as nationally sensitive, imposing limits on cross-border goods and capital flows. At stake is how quickly a global company like Apple, author of an impeccable global supply chain, can change course.

Read More »The Supply-Chain Decoupling Quandary
Apple iPhone made in China

Apple Created a Brilliant But Now Nightmarish Supply Chain

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
A reduction in Apple’s manufacturing, procurement and other supply chain engagements with China may be desirable because of geopolitical and other constraints. But a divorce may be close to impossible because it involves not one, but hundreds of supply chains, managed by the company’s suppliers.

Apple and China. China and Apple.

Outside of the abrupt breakout of war, it will take years, if not decades, for Apple Inc. to drastically reduce or eliminate its dependence on China.

Read More »Apple Created a Brilliant But Now Nightmarish Supply Chain
zero Covid protest

China’s Zero-Covid Conundrum

By George Leopold

What’s at stake:
Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid edict painted his country into a corner, and it’s unclear how China can extract itself from Xi’s disastrous public-health policy. The rest of the world braces for the economic consequences of Beijing’s next move. 

How Beijing’s zero-Covid stance mutates into a sustainable public-health policy is the key question for the Chinese people and Western companies seeking to maintain their links to China’s supply chains and contract manufacturers.

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decision time for congressional negotiators on CHIPS Act

Tech M&A Conundrum: Lessons from Nvidia’s Arm Gamble

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?

Semiconductor and other technology M&A proposals are becoming more difficult to execute due to the influence of powerful geopolitical players whose calculations go beyond traditional motives of higher revenue, profits, and market share.

Nvidia Corp.’s abandoned $40 billion offer for Arm set in motion a series of unfortunate developments that have put the semiconductor IP vendor in a tenuous position.

Months after the offer was cancelled, Arm is still caught in a tangled web. While Nvidia is now free of a regulatory onslaught of its own making, fate has yet to set Arm on the path to true freedom. Its current owners want to sell but cannot find a buyer. Arm wants to return to the equity market via an IPO, but that path remains tortuous.

Read More »Tech M&A Conundrum: Lessons from Nvidia’s Arm Gamble
AMD/Xilinx-based systems In a vehicle

No Frills, No Hype: AMD’s ‘Pragmatic’ Plan for a New Car Architecture

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
By acquiring Xilinx, AMD has the ammunition to move aggressively into next-generation automotive architectures. Yet, thus far the company has revealed scant details for a combined AMD/Xilinx automotive platform. With Xilinx’ Zynq FPGAs entrenched in the market, is AMD the victim of its own success? Is it complacent? Or is AMD reading the automotive industry — historically very slow to embracing new technologies — just right? 

Read More »No Frills, No Hype: AMD’s ‘Pragmatic’ Plan for a New Car Architecture
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What Caught Our Eye This Week

TSMC Veteran Chiang Shang-yi Joins Foxconn
Hon Hai Technology Group, better known as Foxconn, has lured one of Taiwan’s top semiconductor executives, Chiang Shang-yi, to serve as the company’s semiconductor strategy officer.

Chiang, 76, the former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) executive headed its R&D operation until 2006. Foxconn is leaning into Chiang’s global reputation as pioneering the rise of Taiwan’s foundry business. Hon Hai created a new position at Foxconn for Chiang, who will report to Chairman Young Liu.

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electric vehicle software

Automakers Accelerate Shift Toward EV, Software Prowess

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
A lingering chip shortage has given semiconductor makers the upper hand for now with car manufacturers. But the changing profile of the auto industry, whose work force is increasingly IT-savvy, is transforming the way traditional automotive chip suppliers design devices. Qualcomm, Mobileye and Nvidia remain the leaders in big-brain chips for next-generation vehicles, leaving others like NXP and Renesas scrambling to redefine their roles in the EV/ADAS market. 

Evident at the recent Electronica show in Munich was a shift in the balance of power between automotive OEMs and semiconductor suppliers.

Read More »Automakers Accelerate Shift Toward EV, Software Prowess
5G satellite communications

Can Your 5G Handset Talk via Satellites?

By Ron Wilson

What’s at stake?
Major efforts are underway to build low-earth-orbit satellites that act as 5G base stations, communicating directly with conventional 5G handsets. Can this scheme work technically? And if so, can industry and governments sort out the labyrinth of business and regulatory issues it would create?

Imagine that your 5G smartphone would work anywhere—not just in the urban corridors where non-standalone 5G has been deployed today, but in rural villages, in the middle of nowhere, on planes, at sea: around the world. That vision is included within the international wireless standards body 3GPP’s recent Release 16. And it is the subject of accelerating research—and competition—among 5G technology suppliers and satellite communications providers.

Read More »Can Your 5G Handset Talk via Satellites?
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What Caught Our Eye This Week

China Panel Proposes U.S. Supply Chain Agency

An annual report to Congress released this week recommends creation of executive branch agency to coordinate U.S. efforts for securing domestic supply chains, including semiconductors and rare earth elements.

The recommendation by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission calls for a establishing an Economic and Security Preparedness and Resilience Office. The unit would oversee interagency efforts to strengthen U.S. supply chains “in the context of the ongoing geopolitical rivalry and possible conflict with China.”

Read More »What Caught Our Eye This Week
CEO Roundtable at Electronica

Semiconductor CEOs Embrace New Geopolitical ‘Normal’

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake:
Western chipmakers see some justifications and benefits arising from U.S. restrictions on technology exports to China. Cutting off access to advanced manufacturing equipment, they said, would limit China’s ability to innovate in areas such as new chip materials.

Western semiconductor executives may worry over the decoupling of the global economy as a result of geopolitical tensions between U.S.-allied nations and China, but they are not averse to benefiting from the imbroglio.

Read More »Semiconductor CEOs Embrace New Geopolitical ‘Normal’