Tech

Display makers dip into chips and a start-up struggles to deliver

Hi everyone, this is Lauly. I’ve just returned from a weekend trip to Taipei on southern Taiwan’s Liuqiu Island, where I snorkeled among the area’s many sea turtles. It was almost enough to make me forget all the troubles and glitches in the tech industry.

Back to reality. This week, the US Senate finally passed a slimmed-down version of the CHIPS bill, more than a year after the bill was first introduced. The legislation provides billions of dollars in subsidies and tax credits aimed at bringing chip production to shore to address economic and national security concerns. The vote on the final passage is expected next week.

The text of the latest version of the law has not yet been released, but when it does, the chip industry will scour it for clauses that could limit their investments in China if they receive subsidies from the US.

And of course that’s not the only thing on the minds of the tech industry. Amid a widespread slowdown in demand, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and an industry barometer, has warned it will take several quarters for the industry to digest its excess inventory.

Dip in chips

Display manufacturing is a volatile industry, affected by even minor changes in consumer electronics demand. Tired of this ebb and flow, panel makers are foraging into the chip industry in search of more stable growth, writes Nikkei Asia Cheng Tingfang and Lauly Li.

Taiwan’s two leading display manufacturers, Innolux and AUO, and Chinese display champions BOE Technology Group and China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co have all formed teams tasked with applying their panel production technologies to chip packaging and assembly.

Chip packaging is the final step in the manufacture of chips before they are mounted on circuit boards and assembled into electronic devices. The technological threshold for chip packaging is lower than for manufacturing the chips themselves.

Display manufacturers are not alone in their efforts. Some of their key suppliers, including US-based Corning and Japan’s Asahi Glass, invest resources in developing glass carriers or substrates for use in advanced chip packaging techniques.

The display industry is under increasing pressure to find new sources of growth. After two years of booming demand thanks to pandemic-related home economics, consumer appetites for TVs, computers and smartphones have plummeted this year. Faced with a supply glut and a looming price war, display manufacturers can’t afford to carry on as usual.

Missfresh sour

Chinese grocery delivery start-up Missfresh, which raised tens of millions of dollars from Tiger Global and Goldman Sachs, is struggling to survive as it runs out of money and reels in an accounting scandal.

The Chinese group has suspended operations in most of its markets in recent months and desperately looking for new supporters to inject more money, writes the Financial Times. Ryan McMorrow, Nian Liu and Gloria Li.

Missfresh appears to have found a temporary solution last week in a 200 million rmb ($29.6 million) deal to bring a coal mining group as a shareholder. But the capital won’t come cheap: Missfresh plans to issue 300 million shares – equivalent to a 30 percent stake – for the coal company Shanxi Donghui.

The massive dilution caps a tough year for shareholders expecting big paper gains when Missfresh was listed in New York last June at a $3 billion valuation. Its current market value has dropped to $88 million.

The plunge marks another bad investment for Tiger, which was hit by about $17 billion in losses during this year’s selloff in publicly traded tech stocks, one of the largest dollar falls for a hedge fund in history.

The pain can’t be over either. Missfresh was unable to release its annual report because of problems getting its auditors to sign off on its finances.

Earlier this month, the company was forced to admit that employees at one business unit had carried out “questionable transactions” that caused earnings to be overstated by Rmb 677 million in the first nine months of last year.

Lessons in Economics

The US may be the birthplace of online learning, but Indian startups are keen to show they also know a thing or two about Nikkei Asia’s edtech business Akito Tanaka and Sayan Chakraborty write.

education start-ups in the South Asian country outraged their American colleagues this year by around USD 300 million as of mid-July. They are also entering the US market with increasing boldness – Bengaluru-based Scaler Academy has sold $1 million worth of courses in its first month of operations in the country. Indian companies are also targeting Southeast Asia, which has its own local champions.

But no matter where they come from, creating a global brand that can also serve individual markets remains a tough test for any gamer.

Agriculture 2.0

Strawberries grow on the rocks. Romaine lettuce, basil and bok choy burst from the stones. Welcome to the future of farming.

This pictorial report by seven talented reporters from Nikkei Asia — Lien Hoang, Rurika Imahashi, Dylan Loh, Jada Nagumo, Francesca Regalado, and Pak Yiu and Cissy Zhou – examines the agrarian engineering revolutionaries grappling with the crucial problem of how to feed a skyrocketing population amid a multitude of challenges.

Food prices have skyrocketed across Asia, reaching their highest levels since 2011. Farmers are facing droughts and ice storms, rising fertilizer and fuel costs, pandemic-related labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, all of which have been exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Prices are expected to continue to rise. Meanwhile, Asia’s population is projected to increase by 700 million to 5.3 billion by 2050. Last year more than 1.1 billion people in the region did not have access to adequate food.

Pioneers in the burgeoning field of agtech believe that harnessing technology can help feed a hungry world. It’s a belief that could fundamentally change the face of agriculture. In the year 2022 BC BC farmers grew plants that suited their location – the climate determined the harvest. In the year 2022 AD, the harvest with state-of-the-art greenhouses and indoor farms now determines the climate.

reading recommendations

  1. Baidu’s video platform signs content deal with China’s TikTok (Nikkei Asia)

  2. SoftBank halts work on Arm’s London IPO following political unrest (FT)

  3. Singapore will crack down on crypto companies (Nikkei Asia)

  4. India is stepping up crackdowns on Chinese phone makers (FT)

  5. TikTok urges keeping content from Ukraine for war crimes investigations (FT)

  6. Pakistan’s burgeoning startup ecosystem is struggling with the demise of the airlift (Nikkei Asia)

  7. Chinese start-up first manufactures large, flexible solar modules in industry (Nikkei Asia)

  8. Chinese drone maker campaigns to break US national security ban (FT)

  9. Chipmaker TSMC raises sales outlook but warns of inflationary pressures (FT)

  10. Thailand’s AIS refines lead in 5G as wireless rivals plan mega-merger (Nikkei Asia)

#techAsia is coordinated by Katherine Creel of Nikkei Asia in Tokyo, with support from the FT Tech Desk in London.

Register here at Nikkei Asia to receive #techAsia every week. The editors can be reached at techasia@nex.nikkei.co.jp

Display makers dip into chips and a start-up struggles to deliver Source link Display makers dip into chips and a start-up struggles to deliver

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