Pandemic demand, smartphone shuffle squeeze global chipmakers

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A 14nm chip developed by Rockchip is on display in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China.

Synopsis

A new boom cycle may be starting in the highly cyclical chip sector. Rising chip prices are leading to bumper profits for leading third-party manufacturers, whose production capacity is fully booked. The shortage of chips is unlikely to ease in the first half of 2021, say experts.

Yang GeHigh-tech veteran Guo Ming first noticed that change might be brewing in the highly cyclical sector for microchips in last year’s third quarter. His company, a midsize Chinese manufacturer of display driver integrated circuits, was a typical industry player, designing its own chips and using third-party partners to manufacture them.Realizing supplies were tightening, he quickly negotiated with his company’s Taiwan partner to secure the

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