CPU shortages continued driving down global PC shipments in the first quarter of 2019 and even blurring order visibility for the second quarter. This, in turn, is seen to dim business prospects for Taiwan design houses, making them conservative about placing orders with upstream foundry houses and downstream backend service providers, according to industry sources.
The sources said that CPU shortages have disrupted shipment schedules for mid-range and high-end PCs since the second half of 2018 while also starting to affect shipments of low-end models in the first quarter of 2019, causing demand for related chips to fluctuate sharply.
New PC models for 2019 are experiencing a wave of upgrades, featuring Type-C interface, fingerprint recognition, touch bar, OLED screen and narrow bezel. But shipment prospects for such new models have yet to see encouraging signs, and Taiwan ODMs are forced to adjust down their inventory levels and slow down placing orders for related chips.
Taiwan suppliers of USB chips, LCD driver chips, MOSFET, analog chips and touch control ICs have seen clients turn conservative about placing orders for the second quarter, traditionally still a low season in a year.
Chip vendors including Elan Microelectronics, Realtek Semiconductor, Sinopower Semiconductor, Excelliance MOS, Niko Semiconductor, Anpec Electronics, EST Technology Integration, and Global Mixed-mode Technology do not expect shipments to pick up until the third quarter.
But the vendors are not pessimistic about their overall revenue growths for 2019, as ICs needed to support innovative designs and functions of new PCs carry relatively higher unit prices and gross margins and see growing demand from downstream clients, according to industry sources.
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