Taiwan IC packagers to cash in on mining craze in 2018

Taiwan IC backend service providers including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) and King Yuan Electronics (KYE), are upbeat about their revenue performances in the first quarter of 2018, bolstered by the strong market demand for midrange to high-end ASIC and GPU chips, especially from China, amid the global cryptocurrency mining fever, according to industry sources.

The sources said that China is now the hottest mining market in the world, with global semiconductor supply chains and graphic card suppliers moving aggressively to strive for more orders from China customers. ASE, which mainly applies the bumping process to its packaging operations, has seen its plants in northern and southern Taiwan busy fulfilling Bitcoin ASICs packaging orders from China designers and suppliers of such ASICs and mining machines.

As mining ASICs are increasingly likely to be fabricated on advanced wafer foundry processes such as 16nm, 12nm, 10nm and even 7nm, which require the support of the bumping process, both ASE and SPIL can well meet the market demand for packaging mining ASICs with their strong bumping capacities and technologies, the sources said.

In addition, ASE, SPIL and KYE have been contracted to package GPU chips for Nvidia and AMD, and the brisk market demand for gaming and mining GPU chips will benefit them in 2018, although the growth in demand for smartphone chips is gradually losing momentum.

Meanwhile, the Bitcoin mining craze is also fueling the demand for ASIC substrates, allowing Liching Industrial, a Taiwan semiconductor material distribution agent for Korean suppliers, to expect a 30% revenue growth in 2018, the sources said.