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IC designers see swelling China demand for image processing chips

Taiwan IC designers have seen orders swelling from China for imaging processing chips for surveillance, video conferencing and face ID applications as major Chinese chip maker HiSilicon under Huawei has stopped production of such chips in fourth-quarter of the year, according to industry sources.

Designers including Realtek Semiconductor, Sunplus Innovation Technology, ITE Tech, PixArt Imaging, Silicon Optronics, Sonix Technology and Appro Photoelectron all have abundant orders in hand, but they can hardly fulfill their orders until first-half 2021 due mainly to tight capacity at foundry houses whose delivery lead time has extended to four months, the sources said.

Most vendors are seriously mulling raising quotes to reflect increased foundry costs and even if clients accept the quotes, it does not necessarily mean they can get sufficient shipments in the fourth quarter due to foundry orders stuck at wafer fabs, thre sources continued.

HiSilicon being forced out of the market has prompted Chinese clients to stockpile more image processing chips, and the likely resurge of the pandemic in the fourth quarter is adding further momentum to orders for such chips for video conferencing applications, the sources said.

Chips demand for handset face ID applications is also expected to soar in the first half of 2021, which may further push up prices and shipments of image processing chips, the sources said.