GigaDevice gearing up for automotive MCU sampling


GigaDevice has taped out its in-house developed automotive-grade MCUs and is ready to ship samples to clients for validation, according to the China-based company.

GigaDevice said component shortages in 2021 had in one way or another impacted clients’ partnership preference as they are now choosing partners with a more reliable supply chain and a more complete product lineup.

Despite memory and MCU shortages, GigaDevice still posted consolidated revenues of CNY1.35 billion (US$212.59 million) for the first two months of 2022, increasing 49.22% on year.

The company said that it is ready to ship samples of its first automotive-grade MCU to clients and that the product is expected to enter volume production in mid-2022. It also announced that it will debut an automotive-grade MCU featuring an Arm Cortex-M33 core this year.

For other MCU firms, after Infineon announced its decision to raise prices, STM recently informed its clients about hiking prices for all its products starting the second quarter, as it cited challenges brought by the ongoing semiconductor shortages and geopolitical situations. Industry analysts said other major semiconductor suppliers are likely to follow suit.

As the world’s fourth-largest MCU and the ninth-largest power management IC (PMIC) supplier, STM has raised product prices four times already since January 2021. After Infineon announced future price increases for its products in February, an earthquake struck northeastern Japan in March and added uncertainties to the global supply chain.

According to statistics from Susquehanna Financial Group, the lead time for MCU supply in February was 35.7 weeks, and that of PMIC was extended by 1.5 weeks.

Retailers predict that the prices of automotive MCUs will increase by an average of 15-20% in the second quarter, further worsening the supply-demand imbalance. US banking company Morgan Stanley also pointed out that non-China-based companies are losing their share in the China MCU market, which shows that China is actively developing domestic MCUs.

Meanwhile, China-based electrical appliance giant Midea Group said its subsidiary Shanghai Meiren Semiconductor had reached an annual production capacity of 10 million MCUs in 2021 and will begin volume production of automotive chips in 2024. It said the subsidiary’s automotive chips will first be applied to water pumps in electric vehicles.

Chipsea Technology, which focuses on the R&D and design of high-precision analog-to-digital converters (ADC) and high-performance MCU, also announced recently that it is planning to raise up to CNY410 million to research and develop automotive MCUs.


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