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Taiwan IC design houses to embrace strong 1Q21

Taiwan-based IC design houses are poised to embrace brisk sales in the first quarter of 2021 despite foundry capacity constraints, with first-tier players including MediaTek and Novatek Microelectronics likely to generate record-high revenues during the quarter, according to industry sources.

MediaTek expects to post revenue growth of up to 8% sequentially in the first quarter of 2021. Its sales guidance for the quarter indicates the company may see its first-quarter revenues exceed the record-high NT$97.17 billion set in the third quarter of last year.

Display driver IC specialist Novatek has guided for a 12-16% revenue increase sequentially in the first quarter of 2021, with the revenues set to hit a record high for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Himax Technologies and Parade Technologies have also expressed optimism about their performance in the first quarter of this year. Specializing in display driver ICs, Himax expects to post revenue growth of 5-10% sequentially to another record high in the first quarter. Parade, which supplies mixed-signal ICs for display and high-speed interface standards, estimated a particularly strong first quarter with revenues set to drop up to 6% or grow up to 3% on quarter.

Other fellow Taiwan-based IC design houses including MEMS microphone specialist ZillTek Technology, power management IC designers Fitipower Integrated Technology and Global Mixed-mode Technology (GMT), and RF component specialist RichWave Technology all generated record-high revenues in January 2021.

In addition, Taiwan-based fabless chipmakers specializing in smartphone chips are gearing up for the 5G smartphone market boom this year, according to market sources. The market for 5G smartphones is set to top 500 million units in 2021, which will buoy sales performance at not only suppliers of applications processors and display driver ICs but also peripheral chipmakers including those specializing in USB-C and other fast-charging solutions, such as Etron Technology, GMT, Leadtrend Technology and Weltrend Semiconductor.