Chipmakers might finally be cashing in on the global chip shortage. Times-Taipei News reported last week that since the second quarter of 2021, "more than 30 semiconductor companies have issued price adjustment letters, with product price increases ranging from 10% to 30%," according to a translated version of the report.
Times-Taipei News said UMC, SMIC, and Power Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are among the companies adjusting their prices. The reasons cited for those adjustments vary, but Rockchip reportedly said, "the cost of wafers, printed circuit boards, and packaging and testing have risen sharply to varying degrees."
The price adjustments seem to vary by chip type. The report claimed that signal chain ICs saw price increases between 10% and 20%, for example, while the price of power management ICs was said to have risen between 10% and 30%. Some memory chips were also said to have risen in price by as much as 20%.
Those already steep increases might actually be tame compared to other adjustments. Times-Taipei News said that "the price of some IC products has soared dozens of times at present, which has caused difficulties in the production and operation of small and medium-sized enterprises," per an "industry insider."
There is at least one major exception to this trend: TSMC. According to the report, the company hasn't issued any price increases, which means the world's largest chipmaker is holding the line. Or at least it's presenting that facade—its decision to end price discounts will have the same effect on the cost of its chips.
The effects of these price increases will probably still be felt throughout the industry, even without TSMC. Power management chips are nearly ubiquitous, for example, which means a wide variety of products could see their prices rise as well. That effect could also be compounded in products that rely on multiple types of chips.
DigiTimes also reported today that DRAM and NAND prices are expected to rise through the third quarter due to strong demand across various segments, panic buying spurred by the Chia cryptocurrency's ascendancy, and limited supply of NAND flash device controllers leading to higher prices for those chips.
The report said that DRAM memory contract pricing rose "over 20%" in the second quarter, with "prices for PC DRAM chips hiking more than 25%," per anonymous sources. DRAM contract prices are expected to rise an additional 10% to 20% in the third quarter, while NAND contract prices could rise by as much as 10%.
AMD CEO Lisa Su has made it clear she doesn't think people should be too worried about the chip shortage. But at least in the short term, it's going to be hard to find many products, from the PlayStation 5 to the latest graphics cards, and now it seems many of the devices that do manage to make it to consumers might cost more.