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Semiconductor trade association kicks off SEMICON technology exhibition in Taipei

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global trade association that represents the semiconductor and flat-panel display equipment and materials industries, yesterday kick-started the SEMICON Taiwan 2012 exhibition.

The fair features cutting-edge technology, and its participants include key industry players from around the world.

The exhibition, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 5-7 at Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei, offers forums on many topics, including 3D integrated circuits and 450mm supply chains. There will be 600 exhibiting companies from 20 countries in 1,250 booths at the exhibition. SEMI expects over 30,000 visitors will attend the exhibition.

Striving to Stay Competitive

SEMI President and CEO Denny McGuirk came to Taiwan for the exhibition and shared his perspectives on the semiconductor industry. He expected to see single-digit growth globally in 2012, and 9- to 10-percent growth next year. The industry may reach the US$325 billion mark this year, and grow to US$350 billion in 2013.

McGuirk added, however, that it is difficult to see beyond 2013. He nevertheless emphasized that the proliferation of smartphones and tablets will continue, benefiting equipment manufacturers and material suppliers worldwide.

Companies like Samsung, TSMC, UMC and Intel cannot afford not to invest, despite the economic downturn, the SEMI president said. “They have to stay ahead of the latest technology,” McGuirk said.

McGuirk made the point that people did not have cellphones 12 years ago; similarly, consumers do not know what kinds of products they will have in another 12 years. These companies are working on such innovations now, the CEO said.

Taiwan to Benefit from Supply Chain

Taiwan has leaders in many aspects in the industry, said SEMI Executive Vice President Jonathan Davis. The industry's well-developed supply chain can lead to faster growth, Davis added.

While foundry companies try to stay ahead, their material suppliers or equipment providers will compete with one another to provide more advanced technology, the vice president said. As a result, SEMI expects to see growth in the semiconductor industry in the future.

Foundries, OSATs Drive Investment

The foundry segment is expected to grow because of the strong demand of mobile devices, such as smartphones, McGuirk said. The memory segment is seeing mixed results as the NAND flash market expects modest growth following Micron's acquisition of Elpida.

SEMI Taiwan and Southeast Asia President Terry Tsao (曹世綸) said that foundry and DRAM used to be the two pillars of Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing industry. With the consolidation of the DRAM industry, most of the growth momentum is thus sustained by foundry companies.

The memory sector will still play a key role in the industry down the line, Tsao said. He added that companies producing DRAM will enter markets of NAND/NOR flash and other types of memory because related production technology is transferable between these products.

The SEMI report shows that foundry and OSAT players in Taiwan raised their capital expenditures this year in view of a surge in demand. Investment from foundries is focusing on building advanced capacity in order to meet strong demand for advanced 28nm manufacturing. For this reason, TSMC alone increased its investment this year, from US$6 billion to US$8 billion.

As for OSAT companies, they are speeding up advanced packaging investment in Taiwan to fulfill increased demand from mobile devices, the report said.

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From right, SEMI Executive Vice President Jonathan Davis, SEMI President and CEO Denny McGuirk, and SEMI Taiwan and Southeast Asia President Terry Tsao (曹世綸) pose for photos after an interview in Taipei yesterday. (Wang Chien-yu, The China Post)

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