|Bid||61.05 x 1100|
|Ask||61.24 x 1400|
|Day's Range||61.11 - 63.14|
|52 Week Range||43.61 - 65.11|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.67|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||12.40|
|Earnings Date||Apr 21, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.39 (2.21%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Feb 04, 2021|
|1y Target Est||62.41|
(Bloomberg) -- In just two decades, China sent people into space, built its own aircraft carrier and developed a stealth fighter jet. Now the world’s youngest superpower is setting out to prove its capabilities once more -- this time in semiconductors.At stake is nothing less than the future of the world’s No. 2 economy. Beijing’s blueprint for chip supremacy is enshrined in a five-year economic vision to be unveiled during a summit of top leaders in the capital this week. It’s a multi-layered strategy both pragmatic and ambitious in scope, embracing aspirations to replace pivotal U.S. suppliers and fend off Washington, while molding homegrown champions in emergent technologies.China wants to build a coterie of technology giants that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., conferring the same priority on that effort as it accorded to building atomic capability. While specifics of that endeavor won’t emerge for months, comments by government officials, Party mouthpieces like the People’s Daily and state think-tanks provide important clues about the envisioned road map.Read more: Xi Mobilizes China for Tech Revolution to Cut Dependence on WestThe approach entails making do over the next five years or so with aging semiconductors that are adequate for electric cars and even military applications, but can’t run advanced smartphones and similar devices. That buys China time to focus on fields like so-called third-generation chipmaking in which no country yet dominates and -- Beijing hopes -- create an array of indigenous giants in areas including machinery, software and new materials. The ultimate goal is to groom local alternatives to global linchpins like Cadence Inc. and Synopsys Inc. in design software and Europe’s ASML Holding NV in chipmaking gear.“Semiconductors are a crucial sector in the information era that will lead the future of economic development,” Science & Technology Minister Wang Zhigang said at a press conference last week. “At the same time, China will strive to achieve self reliance and strengthen our own capabilities.”The World Is Short of Computer Chips. Here’s Why: QuickTakeChina’s efforts gained urgency because the Biden administration is escalating a battle against what it called “techno-autocracies.” That could extend or even expand blacklistings that banned key transactions with corporations from Huawei Technologies Co. to ByteDance Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. To a country that imports $300 billion of chips annually, a worsening global shortage drives home the risk of relying on potentially hostile suppliers for the building blocks of everything from artificial intelligence to sixth-generation networking and autonomous vehicles.It will take years for local companies to match foreign counterparts in manufacturing and design expertise, during which there’s no ready answer to the dominance of Japanese and American names in chipmaking equipment. Chinese companies will still only supply 35% of its domestic demand by the end of this decade, IDC analyst Mario Morales estimates.They’ll also have to contend with Washington. The U.S. signaled it intends to go ahead with a Trump administration-proposed rule to secure the technology supply chain next month, a move that gives the Department of Commerce broad authority to prohibit transactions involving “foreign adversaries” like China.“The United States and its allies should utilize targeted export controls on high-end semiconductor manufacturing equipment ... to protect existing technical advantages and slow the advancement of China’s semiconductor industry,” the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, headed up by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, recommended to Biden and Congress this week.Huawei, the country’s largest technology company by revenue, underscores the leverage Washington wields. Once the world’s biggest smartphone maker, Huawei was forced to sell its Honor division and run at close to minimum production capacity after it lost access to chips from the likes of TSMC under American regulations.Read more: China Said to Plan Broad Chip Sector Support to Fight Trump“It just stimulates the Chinese community to accelerate their internal developments and eventually they may come out even stronger,” said Luc Van den hove, president of the Imec research center in Leuven, Belgium, which focuses on innovation in semiconductor technology. “And I think that’s certainly a risk of trying to keep the two worlds further apart.”Read more: Biden Putting Tech, Not Troops, at Center of U.S.-China StrategyBeijing had set aside at the start of its last five-year plan around 1 trillion yuan ($155 billion) for potential investment in semiconductors over five to 10 years, according to McKinsey. It will now continue to bankroll research and investment in coming years, Wang said last week. China will increase fiscal support for scientific research and encourage leading companies to join national programs, he added. That should galvanize the much larger influx of private capital needed to produce genuine breakthroughs.It’s an approach that’s worked before for the internet, where a mix of government and private capital helped build the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Inc. In February, the state-backed Global Times reported smartphone makers Xiaomi Corp. and Oppo acquired stakes in Jiangsu Changjing Electronics Technology Co., exemplifying the sort of private-sector involvement Beijing’s counting on.When it comes to the chips, “we will see more support relative to private firms, because they play a bigger role in those sectors,” said Wendy Leutert, GLP-Ming Z. Mei Chair of Chinese Economics and Trade at Indiana University.Read more: The U.S.-China Conflict Over Chips Is About to Get UglierIn the meantime, up-and-comers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. and Tsinghua Unigroup can help tide the country over a deficit of mobile processors, memory and telecom modules should Washington close off supply routes. They will mainly operate mature processes of 14 nanometers and older, sufficient for all but the most exacting applications such as smartphones, high-performance computing and graphics processors. Meanwhile, global leader TSMC is ramping up for mass production of 3 nm chips in 2022, about five or six generations ahead.At the same time, they’ll act as focal points for the country’s most capable brains to work on stop-gap measures such as advanced packaging that can improve chip computing power in the absence of more sophisticated U.S. technology. The hope is that such fine-tuning buys time for the homegrown development of advanced technologies, such as in 7-nanometer chips and silicon design software.Some of the key local players in that space include Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment Co. and Naura Technology Group Co., who are working on equipment that can someday replace ASML’s extreme ultra-violet lithography or EUV machines -- a prerequisite for any advanced chipmaking.Local startups like Empyrean are trying to replicate the similarly indispensable software tools licensed by Synopsys and Cadence, employed by most of the world’s chip designers from Intel on down. Even in the commoditized realm of memory, a subsidiary of state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup is spending billions on mass production to challenge Samsung Electronics Co. and Micron Technology Inc.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysTSMC may lose market share in China in the next three years to local contract chipmakers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International. These Chinese peers are accelerating advance-node technology development and will likely gain orders from local chip designers such as Will Semiconductor and Unisoc, which are trying to avoid dependence on U.S. technology due to bilateral trade tensions and the risk of sanctions.- Charles Shum and Masahiro Wakasugi, analystsClick here for the research.Read more: China Still Buying $300 Billion of Chips From U.S., ElsewherePresident Xi Jinping has pledged an estimated $1.4 trillion through 2025 for technologies ranging from wireless networks to AI. A big chunk of that is geared toward semiconductors.Chinese firms such as Tsinghua will be responsible for building half the world’s 30-odd new fabrication plants or fabs in the next two years alone. It’s already spending 2.4 times more than the U.S. on semiconductor equipment, much of it made by American companies, Morales wrote in a report.The World Is Short of Computer Chips. Here’s Why: QuickTakeThe bet is that its corporations can compete if they accelerate research into burgeoning, adjacent fields like AI and quantum computing now. That’s where third-generation chips come in. Those are mainly made of materials such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride, can operate at high frequency and in higher power and temperature environments, with broad applications in fifth-generation radio frequency chips, military-grade radar and electric vehicles.The country may secure first-mover advantage, even if traditional silicon-based semiconductors will continue to account for the vast majority of global use for the foreseeable future, Citigroup analysts have said. U.S.-based Cree Inc. and Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. are just beginning to grow this business, while Chinese rivals such as Sanan Optoelectronics Co. and state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corp. have made inroads.The country’s other chipmakers, which include SMIC, Will Semiconductor Ltd. and National Silicon Industry Group Co., benefit more broadly from the state support.“The investment commitment that China is making ensures that the Chinese semiconductor ecosystem will continue to play an important role in the progress of our industry and the overall IT market,” said IDC’s Morales.(Updates with China’s comment on research in the 12th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Volocopter GmbH raised 200 million euros ($242 million) in additional capital, the latest move in the increasingly competitive race to be the first electric air-taxi firm to start commercial flights.The so-called Series D funding brings in new investors including toll road and airport operator Atlantia SpA, tire maker Continental AG, NTT, Avala Capital and funds managed by BlackRock, Volocopter said in a statement Wednesday. The fund-raising is oversubscribed, with all existing investors taking part.Volocopter plans to start commercial operations in Singapore by 2023, with tickets for 15-minute tourist flights already on sale for 300 euros. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is also considering a type-certification application, opening up the possibility of flights in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington in the next two to three years.The fund-raising comes amid a flurry of investment in the emerging urban air-mobility sector as would-be air-taxi firms jostle to bring rival technologies to the market.Joby Aviation last month agreed to merge with Reinvent Technology Partners, a blank-check company formed by the founders of LinkedIn Corp. and Zynga Inc., taking it public. The transaction is expected to provide about $1.6 billion.Earlier in February, investment banker Ken Moelis struck another SPAC deal to list California-based flying-taxi developer Archer. The transaction is expected to generate about $1.1 billion in gross proceeds and involves a $20 million investment from United Airlines Holdings Inc., which said it could buy 200 of the company’s craft to whisk customers to the airport.Volocopter, which has raised 322 million euros in total, said the new funding will “solidify” its position in urban air-mobility, helping its VoloCity craft through certification and accelerating the launch of commercial routes. The two-seat model, powered by multiple electric rotors, performed its first manned test in 2011 and has since completed more than 1,000 flights.The company, whose existing backers include carmakers Daimler AG and Geely Automobile Holdings Limited, as well as logistics firm DB Schenker and the venture-capital arm of chipmaker Intel Corp., is seeking FAA approval alongside an earlier application to the European Aviation Safety Agency, as well as Singaporean authorities.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Intel Corp. was told to pay VLSI Technology LLC $2.18 billion by a federal jury in Texas after losing a patent-infringement trial over technology related to chip-making, one of the largest patent-damages award in U.S. history. Intel pledged to appeal.Intel infringed two patents owned by closely held VLSI, the jury in Waco, Texas, said Tuesday. The jury found $1.5 billion for infringement of one patent and $675 million for infringement of the second. The jury rejected Intel’s denial of infringing either of the patents and its argument that one patent was invalid because it claimed to cover work done by Intel engineers.The patents had been owned by Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors Inc., which would get a cut of any damage award, Intel lawyer William Lee of WilmerHale told jurors in closing arguments Monday. VLSI, founded four years ago, has no products and its only potential revenue is this lawsuit, he said.VLSI “took two patents off the shelf that hadn’t been used for 10 years and said, ‘We’d like $2 billion,”’ Lee told the jury. The “outrageous” demand by VLSI “would tax the true innovators.”He had argued that VLSI was entitled to no more than $2.2 million.“Intel strongly disagrees with today’s jury verdict,” the company said in a statement. “We intend to appeal and are confident that we will prevail.”Intel fell 2.6% to $61.24 in New York trading. The stock is up 23% since the beginning of the year.One of the patents was originally issued in 2012 to Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and the other in 2010 to SigmaTel Inc. Freescale bought SigmaTel and was in turn bought by NXP in 2015. The two patents in this case were transferred to VLSI in 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Law.VLSI lawyer Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella said the patents cover inventions that increase the power and speed of processors, a key issue for competition.‘Willful Blindness’Federal law doesn’t require someone to know of a patent to be found to have infringed it, and Intel purposely didn’t look to see if it was using someone else’s inventions, he said. He accused the Santa Clara, California-based company of “willful blindness.”The jury said there was no willful infringement. A finding otherwise would have enabled District Court Judge Alan Albright to increase the award even further, to up to three times the amount set by the jury.“We are very pleased that the jury recognized the value of the innovations as reflected in the patents and are extremely happy with the jury verdict,” Michael Stolarski, chief executive of VLSI, said in an e-mailed statement.Officials with NXP couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.The damage request isn’t so high when the billions of chips sold by Intel are taken into account, Chu said. Intel paid MicroUnity Systems Engineering Corp. $300 million 2005 and in 2011 paid Nvidia Corp. $1.5 billion even though a settlement in that case involved a cross license of technology, he said.“Operating companies are going to be disturbed by not only the size of the award but also the damages theory,” said Michael Tomasulo, a Winston Strawn lawyer who attended the trial. “They more or less seemed to have bought the entire VLSI case.”The damage award is about half of Intel’s fourth-quarter profit. The company has dominated the $400 billion chip industry for most of the past 30 years, though it’s struggling to maintain that position.The verdict is smaller than the $2.5 billion verdict won by Merck & Co. over a hepatitis C treatment. It was later thrown out. Last year, Cisco Systems Inc. was told by a federal judge in Virginia to pay $1.9 billion to a small cybersecurity companies that accused it of copying a feature to steal away government contracts. Cisco has asked the judge for a new trial.The case is among the few in-person patent trials in recent months, with many courts pressing pause amid the coronavirus pandemic. It was delayed a week because of the winter storm that wreaked havoc across much of Texas.Intel had sought to postpone the case because of the pandemic, but was rejected by Albright, a former patent litigator and magistrate who was sworn in as a federal judge in 2018 and has quickly turned his courtroom into one of the most popular for patent owners to file suit.The case is VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corp., 21-57, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Waco).(Updates with VLSI comment in 12th paragraph. An earlier version corrected the spelling of law firm name in eighth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.