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Chinese Manufacturers Catch up in GaN Technology


Chinese manufacturers technology have advanced in the past year to result in large GaN price fluctuations, and have entered III-V EPI-wafer synthesizing industry to build a comprehensive IoT and telecommunication supply chain in the upstream sector.

Whether Chinese manufacturers developments in the industry will re-enact the oversupply situation in the LED industry over the past few years, is something the industry will be focused on in 2017.

Chinese manufacturers advancements in GaN has led to large price fluctuations. Leading Chinese LED manufacturer San’an Opto is heading this trend in 2016 with its intended acquisition of Taiwanese semiconductor firm GCS Holdings, but the deal was called off last minute by The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on Aug. 2, 2016.

The U.S. government agency was concerned about undisclosed aspects of the acquisition. The two companies have since decided to form a joint venture instead.

San’an Opto intends to invest in III-V group synthesized chemicals to strengthen its EPI-wafer R&D capacity in China, which will cause large price fluctuations in the GaN industry.

In 2015, another Chinese company Accelink Technologies was also rumored in the process of acquiring a manufacturer that develops EPI-wafers for fiber-optic communications, but it was rumored other companies did not agree.

According to industry analyses, Chinese manufacturers originally would have to spend more than three years to develop III-V group synthesized chemicals, but if the companies are able to acquire the know-how from another company, it could shorten the period needed.

Taiwanese manufacturers have been developing GaN-based semiconductors in smartphones and wireless communications for many years, attracting the attention of Chinese companies, such as WIN Semiconductors and Visual Photonics Epitaxy that are vying the optic fiber telecommunication markets to raise their product value and gross margins. Their advanced GaN technology attracted Chinese manufacturers’ attention.

WIN Semiconductors finances during first half of 2016 set a new record high in second quarter, and listed periodic depreciation of newly installed production capacity, and product portfolio impact the second quarter gross margin dropped 2.5%. However, if the company’s after-tax profits of NT $220 million (US $7.01 million) are included in the calculations, the company profits set a new record high for the single quarter.

Despite these positive developments, the company’s growth in third quarter will be lower than the past.

With the smartphone peak season approaching, WIN Semiconductors has passed client certification, and product certifications has grown steadily, reaching new heights in second quarter. Financial institutes estimate the company factories utilization rates can be maintained at a height of 90%, and its quarterly revenue will climb up 3%, or 26% annually to reach NT $3.67 billion.

As for the company’s gross margins, increase in cellular product depreciation has caused gross margins to fall to the same levels as second quarter.

Financial institutes estimated WIN Semiconductors peak profits will be in third quarter of 2016, and its revenue quarterly growth will fall below 10%, lower than industry estimations.

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