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ASE antes up capital investment to boost production capacity

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With the prospect of more orders coming in during the second half of the year, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE, 日月光) plans to ante up its capital investment this year by almost 36 percent in order to meet customers' demand, said the company's chief operating officer Wu Tien-yu (吳田玉) during a shareholders' conference yesterday.

According to Wu, the semiconductor sector is on a track of stable growth, and ASE's performance is expected to improve quarter by quarter.

Starting from the second quarter of last year, the semiconductor sector has benefited from a growing demand for mid- and low-priced smartphones, which in turn drove demand for communication integrated circuits, fingerprint recognition systems and Wi-Fi modules, Wu said.

It has become more and more common for higher-level integrated circuits (IC) to be utilized in lower-priced smartphones, which has resulted in higher order amounts for IC packaging and testing services, Wu said, adding that with the company running at full capacity, ASE has acquired more manufacturing equipment in order to meet customers' demand. ASE is also rolling out its 20-nano packaging process and advanced systems in packaging this year, among other highlights.

ASE Plans to Set the Bar Higher

According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics' forecast, business transactions in the semiconductor market in 2014 will reach NT$316.6 billion, growing at 4.1 percent year-on-year.

Wu said that starting from 2011, ASE has been growing between 0 and 5 percent on an annual basis, pointing to a path of "stable growth."

The company's revenues reached US$7.4 billion last year, of which the packaging and testing sector raked in US$4.8 billion and the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) sector raked in US$2.6 billion. Both numbers hit new records.

The System in Package (SiP) sector raked in US$1 billion last year, representing a 34-percent growth year-on-year, Wu said, adding that SiP sector will see the largest growth in the next three to five years. ASE will partner with its subsidiary Universal Scientific Industrial to integrate EMS and Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) to set the technical bar higher, separating itself from competitors, Wu added.

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