Why is the fast charging chip out of stock?

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    Chip shortages occur every year, and this year is particularly significant. Since 2020 second half of the year, the supply and demand of chips in various fields has been very tight, and Apple’s power chips have also been out of stock. Since the launch of the iPhone 12, the shortage of chips has spread in the field of consumer power supplies, and it has become more and more intense.

    According to observations, this chip shortage crisis has become a large-scale industry event in the consumer power supply field in recent years. Whether it is chip manufacturers, solution providers, fast charging factories, and brand vendors, they are all out of stock this time. The incident disturbed one’s mind.Why is the fast charging chip out of stock?

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    1. Why is this year’s fast charging chip extremely scarce?

    From the external environment, it is caused by the insufficient capacity of the upstream fab.
    According to reports, TSMC, UMC, World Advanced, Power Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and other wafer foundries have full orders in the fourth quarter. In the first half of next year, the advanced process and mature process capacity have been fully booked by customers.

    We have also confirmed this statement from the original manufacturer of the fast charging chip. Currently, the delivery time for fast charging chips is generally more than three months. This also indicates that this year’s shortage of goods is different from the past, not only in a wide range, but also in a particularly long time period.

    From the perspective of the fast-charging source industry, it is understood that the 20W PD fast-charging chip is the most affected by this shortage of stocks, and the direct cause of the chip shortage is the launch of the iPhone 12 series of mobile phones.

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    Because for the new iPhone 12, full-speed charging can only be achieved with a PD fast charging charger of 20W and above, and in this process, the USB PD fast charging protocol chip plays a decisive role.

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    According to statistics, Apple currently has 14 mobile phones that support USB PD fast charging. Since the launch of the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 series and the three old models on the official website no longer give away chargers. This makes the 20W PD fast charging charger a category of consumer power supplies that has attracted much attention.

    Another industry analyst pointed out that the shipment of iPhone 12 series mobile phones in 2020 is expected to reach 75 million units, and the strategy of not having standard chargers will inevitably cause a huge market gap, which will result in a tight supply of iPhone fast charging accessories. It will even cause a blowout of 20W PD fast charging accessories in the short term.

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    Compared with Apple’s official 20W PD fast charge charger with a price of up to 19USD, many third-party accessory manufacturers control the price at 6-12.5USD. Even if there are some premium brand products, they are much cheaper than Apple’s official website.

    So many consumers will abandon Apple’s official website and choose third-party accessories instead. This has also created a brand-new and huge 20W PD fast charging market. A large number of third-party accessory manufacturers have taken advantage of this and caused a sudden increase in the demand for 20W PD fast charging chips.

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    For fast-charging chip manufacturers and solution providers, on the one hand, some manufacturers did not plan ahead for the 20W PD fast-charging solution because of insufficient prediction of the fast-charging market. They never expected that the 20W PD fast-charging market would come like this. ferocious.

    According to sales data, there are already a number of third-party 20W PD fast charging models with 30-day sales exceeding 10,000, of which only IDEAL’s 20W PD fast charging has a monthly sales volume of 30,000 units. The data is amazing.

    On the other hand, even if some manufacturers have launched a 20W PD fast charging solution in advance, they are not fully sure to guarantee 100% compatibility before the iPhone 12 series are launched. Therefore, the stocking of the solution is also in a conservative state; and in verification After the compatibility was completed, the stock was re-stocked, but it just happened to catch up with the market burst of orders from the fab. Especially for the USB PD fast charging protocol chip, the contradiction between supply and demand is particularly prominent.

    2, the current situation of the 20W PD fast charging market

    In today’s 20W PD fast charging source market, the era of spot cash is long gone. And “there is money but no goods, there are quotations but no delivery” has also become the status quo of the 20W PD fast charging industry chain.

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    “Urgent notice: Due to external factors such as wafers, the shortage will continue. Subsequent supply will give priority to high-quality customers with good payments, and no urgent orders! I hope everyone can understand and support each other!”.

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    “Official announcement 3 times. All xx chips are seriously out of stock, please make plans and queue up.”

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    When the chip is out of stock, the price increase has become an inevitable result. At present, many chip manufacturers in the industry have posted price adjustment notices, and the price increase scope includes orders that have been placed and have not yet been delivered.

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    “Out of stock, price increase is a foregone conclusion; if you have money, you may not have goods; you may not have goods without a plan; the best news is that price increases and goods are available…”.

    3, how to alleviate the shortage of goods

    Facing the increasingly tight supply and demand of fast charging chips for 20W PD fast charging, how can fast charging factories stand out and find a way to break the game? At present, there are two common approaches in the industry. One is to find a new 20W PD fast charging solution with relatively stable supply, and the other is to replace the existing 20W PD fast charging chip with a full-featured chip.

    In terms of supply stability, for example, Tongjia Technology, a veteran power chip manufacturer, based on its own product development experience, has launched a complete set of highly integrated 20W PD fast charging solutions, and through active communication with upstream wafer foundry TSMC, A strong segment of the supply chain and sufficient chip demand can effectively alleviate the current market’s insufficient supply of 20W PD fast-charging chips.

    Faced with the shortage of 20W PD fast charging protocol chips, Chipsea Technology, a domestic chip leader, also launched a USB PD fast charging protocol chip CSS34P16, which can provide a complete USB for applications such as adapters, car chargers, and mobile power supplies. Type-C and USB power supply port control solution.

    In terms of seeking alternative chips, the 20W PD fast charging solution has more options. For example, the AC-DC power solution. The current mainstream 20W PD fast charging is highly integrated. In the case of shortage, a higher power specification power chip can be used instead, and the highly integrated power solution can also be changed to separate The scheme of device design.

    For the current most scarce protocol cores, the current PD fast charge chargers all use DFP (Downstream Facing Port) controllers, which only need to be responsible for providing external electrical functions. When DFP controllers are in short supply, using DRP (Dual Role Port) controllers for mobile power supplies is also an effective solution.

    According to incomplete statistics, there are currently a total of 15 mainstream DRP two-way USB PD fast charging protocol chips on the market, which come from Cypress, Chipsea, Chengyi, Tiandeyu (Tianyu), Lederui, Richtek, and South China. 9 fast-charging chip brands including Xinxin, Silan, and Youwei Technology.

    However, it should be noted that although it is theoretically feasible to use a higher specification chip to replace the existing 20W PD fast charging solution, fast charging source manufacturers must still consider the difficulty of product development, production and manufacturing costs, and the pricing strategy of terminal products. Comprehensive considerations.

    4. The impact of chip shortages

    According to industry analysts, the tight upstream 8-inch wafer foundry capacity is expected to ease in mid-2021. It is also understood that most of the current chip manufacturers that can provide 20W PD fast charging solutions are basically in the state of being urged by customers for delivery and constantly rushing to upstream wafer foundries and packaging plants. No matter how good the design is, without sufficient chip supply to support it, everything is in vain.
    The key to the shortage of 20W PD fast charging chips now lies in the protocol chip part. At the same time, the tight supply and demand relationship will also cause poor sales of power chips, so even if the power chips are fully stocked, their later shipments will be greatly affected.

    For fast-charging factories, insufficient chip supply has caused many manufacturers to not control the order volume, and the system cost of a single product will also increase. Some factories even cannot buy 20W PD fast-charging product projects because they cannot buy chips.

    For some brand owners, benefiting from the large price premium for new 20W PD fast charging products, even if the subsequent production costs increase, sufficient profit margins can still be guaranteed, and the terminal will not be affected by the shortage of chips, The selling price of the product.

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