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Electronics News Digest

23 June 2021 News

South Africa

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has established a graphene programme to help South Africa to develop its own capabilities, technologies and products based on graphene. Graphene, a black powder, is highly electrically conductive and if incorporated in composites, can be useful in protecting electronic equipment from static electricity and even an aircraft from lightning. This material, which was first discovered in 2004, has already proven to be of great value in commercial products and it is estimated that the global graphene market will be worth $2,1 billion by 2025.

Science, technology and innovation (STI) must be placed at the centre of the implementation of the African Free Trade Continental Area (AfCFTA), according to SA’s Department of Science and Innovation. Signed by 54 out of 55 countries, the agreement includes trade in goods and services, investments, intellectual property rights, and competition policy between and within African countries. The AfCFTA – the world’s largest free-trade area – started trading on 1 January 2021, creating a market of 1,2 billion people and the eighth economic bloc in the world with a combined GDP of $3 trillion, which is projected to more than double by 2050.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) recently announced that the ongoing settlement negotiations on radio frequency spectrum licensing litigation “are unfolding well and with a very encouraging outlook.” ICASA says as soon as a settlement is reached, it will only need a few more weeks to set the spectrum auction process in motion, and to communicate the new closing date for Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) applications.

Overseas

Companies

SiFive, a startup that designs semiconductors, has received takeover interest from Intel, according to a Bloomberg report. According to hearsay, Intel offered to acquire SiFive for more than $2 billion. The company has allegedly received takeover offers from multiple parties other than Intel, and has also fielded offers for an investment, which could be a preferable route. SiFive has been in talks with potential advisors on how to handle the takeover interest.

Industry

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced worldwide sales of semiconductors were $41,8 billion in April 2021, an increase of 1,9% from the March 2021 total of $41,0 billion and 21,7% more than the April 2020 total of $34,4 billion. Additionally, SIA has endorsed the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organisation’s forecast which projects the industry’s worldwide sales will be $527,2 billion in 2021, a 19,7% increase from the 2020 sales total of $440,4 billion.

In IC Insights’ ranking of the leading analog IC suppliers for 2020 (see table below) the top 10 companies accounted for $35,4 billion in analog IC sales and represented 62% of the total $57,0 billion analog market last year, the same share they held in 2019. With analog sales of $10,9 billion and 19% market share, Texas Instruments (TI) maintained its firm grip as the leading supplier, with its sales increasing about $650 million or 6% compared to 2019. Vaulting into third place in the 2020 ranking was Skyworks Solutions, whose 24% growth was driven primarily by an increase in demand for wireless connectivity products coupled with the onset of technology upgrade cycles including for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 solutions.




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