Following automobiles and smart phones, the “chip-lack” dilemma of the home appliance industry has gradually emerged in the public’s field of vision.
The storm of “lack of core” has swept the world, and it is doomed that “no one will survive”.
In recent months, unexpected events such as factory fires, power outages, cold waves, and the intensification of the new crown epidemic have added another firewood to the chip manufacturing industry, which is already in “distress”. For a while, when will the chip shortage be resolved? It addresses the most concerned issues of the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain of all walks of life.
A new Goldman Sachs research report shows that as many as 169 industries around the world have been hit to some extent by chip shortages, covering everything from steel products and concrete production to air conditioner manufacturing, beer production, and even soap. Manufacturing has also been affected. After automobiles and smartphones, the “core-lack” dilemma of the home appliance industry has gradually emerged in the public’s field of vision.
The global home appliance industry is in a chip crisis
Recently, Ningbo Evening News reported that Fang Shuguang, chairman of Ningbo Qixi Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., sighed in his circle of friends – “Everything is ready, only the chip is owed”. The company is a professional manufacturer of drinking water equipment and core supporting products integrating R&D, manufacturing and sales. Its circuit boards will directly use control chips, mainly from domestic chips. At present, they have encountered a serious shortage of cores. , brought a great impact on the company’s production.
Song Xiaochuang, the relevant person in charge of Yueli Group Co., Ltd., a leading home appliance enterprise specializing in the production of beauty appliances and personal care appliances, also introduced to the reporter of Ningbo Evening News that although the company does not directly purchase chips, its high-speed hair dryers and other products need to use For motors with integrated chips, although the proportion of such products is less than 10%, the “core shortage” has caused the production cost of the whole machine to increase by nearly 15%.
Gan Jianguo, general manager of Philips Air Conditioning (China) Operations Headquarters, also told the first financial reporter that the chips on the computer board of air conditioners have been in short supply since November last year, and the chip delivery cycle has been extended. In the past, only 45-60 days in advance was required to stock up. In addition to American and Japanese companies, chip suppliers currently account for 50% of domestic supply.
Coincidentally, not only China, but the global home appliance industry is in the midst of a chip shortage – a small TV maker in Seoul says it’s difficult to get key components unless it pays higher prices; Samsung Electronics vice president of TV division Han Zhongxi said that more than half of the world’s TV manufacturers are facing a shortage of chips, and many companies can no longer manufacture TVs if this continues. LG Electronics, a home appliance manufacturer, said that the shortage of chips has not affected the company’s overall production, but also admitted that it does pose a risk. .
Relevant research reports pointed out that at present, the white goods field, especially the intelligent functional electrical appliances, is greatly affected by the tightening of frequency conversion intelligent chips. The upstream CPU, memory, flash memory and other chips of the color TV industry chain are also out of stock. Control chips, sensor chips and IoT chips are all out of stock to varying degrees.
Double pressure on both sides of supply and demand
Frozen three feet is not a day’s cold, and the “chip shortage” in the home appliance industry is not short-term. In the global chip storm, the home appliance industry is not only under the huge competitive pressure on the chip supply side, but also needs to face the consumer market. Growing buying demand.
On the supply side, since the chips used in the home appliance industry are mostly low-margin processors with simple functions, some industry analysts say that at the moment when chip production capacity is in short supply, chip manufacturers give priority to allocating production capacity to high-profit products, while home appliance chips At the end, resulting in a situation of short supply.
On the demand side, with the rapid popularization of smart homes, traditional home appliances have ushered in a large-scale intelligent upgrade. Taking color TV as an example, with the development of ultra-high-definition, AI and other technologies, color TV has become a new interactive terminal for smart homes. With the blessing of intelligent and linkage scenarios, the color TV market gradually presents a scene of “volume reduction and increase in value”. Similarly, traditional home appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines have also landed with the advancement of whole-house intelligence, indirectly stimulating consumer demand. According to a report released by Verified Market Research, the global smart home market is expected to reach USD 207.88 billion by 2027. With the rapid development of the industry and the increasing intelligence of home appliances, the functional complexity of the chips behind them and the number of chips have also increased to varying degrees.
The most intuitive manifestation of the shortage of chips is the price increase. Under the hot environment of short supply, domestic microcontroller chip manufacturers Smart Microelectronics and Rockchip have successively announced that they will adjust the price of chip products to varying degrees from April 1st. rise. At the same time, manufacturers such as Renajie semiconductor, Minsi Microelectronics, and Huimang Microelectronics have also successively issued notices of product price increases. For home appliance manufacturers, problems such as a sharp drop in chip deliveries, an increase in production costs, and a lag in new product development have come one after another. In order to balance costs, price increases are a helpless move.
Since the beginning of the year, many domestic home appliance giants, including TCL, Hisense, Midea, and Oaks, have successively issued price increase notices. Xiaomi announced in early April that due to fluctuations in the prices of components such as panels and chips, prices continued to rise and TV prices would be adjusted.
Self-research or the only way out?
It is true that the global chip shortage has undoubtedly brought good development opportunities for domestic chip manufacturers, but it is an indisputable fact that home appliance chips have disadvantages compared to industries such as automobiles and smartphones. The advantages of self-developed chips of home appliance giants have gradually become prominent.
At present, a number of home appliance manufacturers, including Midea, Gree, Skyworth, and Hisense, have begun to manufacture cores.
In 2018, Shanghai Meiren Semiconductor Co., Ltd. was established, which also marked the official entry of Midea into the field of chips and semiconductors. Meiren Semiconductor has formed four product series of MCU chip, IoT chip, power chip and power chip, and has completed product testing in Midea Group’s home air conditioner, HVAC and building, refrigerator, washing machine, kitchen and hot water business units.
It is understood that Meiren Semiconductor will further promote chip products in 2021, cover key domestic customers, gradually cover overseas customers with the help of domestic mature chip products and supporting experience, develop global Electronic control manufacturers and enterprises, and practice “Dual-wheel drive in domestic and foreign markets” “marketing strategy.
In 2015, Gree established the Institute of Microelectronics and the Institute of Power Semiconductors, officially opening the road of “core-making”, and officially announced on August 28, 2018 that it has the ability to independently design the main chip of air conditioners; in 2018, Gree Electric again A wholly-owned subsidiary, Zhuhai Zero Boundary Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd., was established. At present, the company has grown into an original chip factory with an annual sales volume of over 10 million chips until last year. It has undertaken a number of provincial-level major scientific and technological projects. , Provide high-quality industrial-grade high-quality chips for Chinese manufacturing.
Previously, Dong Mingzhu publicly stated that if we want to independently develop chips for China, even if the sky falls, we can supply them ourselves. She proposed, “Chip, please believe that we will continue to work hard.”
In 2018, Skyworth released the AI TV Q5A, which is equipped with the self-developed Hummingbird AI chip. The chip can intelligently discriminate the details of objects based on AI algorithms, compare and correct with the huge database resources, and then accurately reduce noise and make the details more beautiful. In terms of image quality processing, Skyworth Hummingbird AI chip can intelligently analyze massive image resources based on AI algorithms, perform depth compensation for colors in real time, effectively solve the problem of image distortion, and make color performance smoother and more natural.
As early as 2001, Hisense began to set up a team for chip research and development. At that time, it mainly focused on digital audio, video and image solution chips. In 2005, it launched the first domestic high-definition TV processing main chip – Xinxin VPE1X, which successfully filled the market in my country. Digital video processing VLSI design gaps.
Returning to the first quarter of this year, Hisense has launched the highest-level ultra-high-definition image quality chip in China, which has achieved a comprehensive breakthrough in the core image quality algorithm in terms of motion fluency, color fidelity, HDR contrast, and AI image quality improvement. It will be the first to be applied to high-end flagship products such as Hisense TV U7G MAX and U9G-PRO, bringing excellent expression to TV images in terms of color management and refined control.
It is not difficult to find that all the home appliance giants started to lay out the chip industry many years ago, which also gave them more “confidence” in the face of this chip shortage. However, the capital and labor costs required for chip manufacturing are not affordable for every company. In contrast, how to coordinate the relationship between chip supply and product development, manufacturing, and sales is what most companies need to focus on. By improving the chip supply chain management capabilities, the company can integrate resources, realize multi-channel booking, and ultimately ensure production.
At present, the global shortage of chips is still ongoing. According to experts and industry chain people, this phenomenon may continue until 2022. As far as the domestic market is concerned, this is undoubtedly a coexistence of challenges and opportunities. Although there is still a gap between the domestic chip production and packaging technology and the international level, it also provides a good development space and market demand for my country to develop independent and controllable chips.
Specific to the home appliance industry, its chip function complexity, process, and cost have obvious advantages compared with automobiles, smartphones and other industries, and it is easier to promote self-research. In addition, many companies have already laid out their layouts. I believe that in this global revolution. , The development of chips in the field of domestic home appliances will also make great strides.
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