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Global semiconductor industry to grow 7.9 percent in 2013

January 28, 2013 1 comment

Malcolm Penn

Malcolm Penn

According to Malcolm Penn, CEO, Future Horizons, the outlook for the global semiconductor industry in 2013 is likely to be +7.9 percent. This means, the global semiconductor industry will likely grow to $315.4 billion in 2013.

Should this happen, it would be significant, given that this is the third year in a row that the market failed to break the $300 billion barrier! The global semiconductor clocked around $292.3 billion in 2012, as against $299.5 billion In 2011.

I asked Malcolm Penn the rationale behind this. He said, the rationale is exactly the same as that for 2012. There is said to be no change to last year’s fundamental market analyses. That’s not all! There are likely to be exactly the same (economic) downside risks as well.

The unit demand, capacity and ASPs are all ‘positively aligned’. Here, it is advised that one should never underestimate the economy’s capacity to derail the chip market. Even the downside forecast has been to break the $300 billion barrier.

The global chip industry growth is driven by four factors. These are economy, which is on hold due to complete loss of confidence, unit demand, which is back on the 10 percent per annum treadmill (inventory gone), fab capacity, which is currently tight (very), especially at the leading technology edge, and ASPs, which are structurally following the usual ups and downs.

There is a very safe, long-term bet, provided companies execute properly. As it is, most firms don’t, as they are too pre-occupied with chasing short-term targets.

Finally, if the year 2013 does show a recovery, the global semiconductor market will likely go ballistic in 2014.

My blog’s been nominated by Electronics Weekly!

October 31, 2008 Comments off

It was indeed a pleasant surprise to receive an email from Electronics Weekly, yesterday evening, informing me that my blog was recently shortlisted/nominated in the 2008 ElectronicsWeekly.com Blog Awards by a reader of ElectronicsWeekly.com!

All of the nominated blogs have apparently been considered by the panel of judges at ElectronicsWeekly.com. The email said, “I am delighted to inform you that you have made the shortlist in the Best Electronics Hardware Blog category.”

The list can be seen on Electronics Weekly’s (www.electronicsweekly.com) website!

Wow! I must add that here that there are such great blogs and bloggers in that list that I went dizzy for a few minutes!

I never expected my blog to reach this kind of appeal or level! Nor do I think I have that kind of traffic, as this blog has more to do with serious stuff, rather than talk about gadgets, etc. In fact, somebody once told me last year that no one would bother about a blog on semicon and electronics, nor would I get any traffic!

Well, all of this has never bothered me. I’m here to blog about what I feel is close to my heart! If folks happen to stop by, I am extremely grateful to all of them!

Irrespective of whether I win this award, it is just the right time to thank all of you, dear readers of my blog! Thanks to all of you for choosing to stop by my blog occasionally! I sincerely hope you find the content interesting and appealing enough.

There’s lots happening in the semiconductor, electronics and telecom industries, and hope that I am able to add my views on all of those in the coming months.

Thanks again, my dear readers. Please keep those suggestions coming. I will try to live up to your expectations. Have a great Halloween, everyone!

Semicon half year over, what next now?

June 20, 2008 Comments off

Wow! A majority of my predictions made on this blog for the global semiconductor industry have so far turned out correct — in December 2007 and again in May 2008.

Recently, I’d done a check on where are we today, in May, and earlier, via a Webcast from Semiconductor International, I had mentioned about the semiconductors market situation. Around that time, I had attempted my hand at predicting the top 10 global semiconductor trends for 2008.

There have been several folks, who’ve contacted me via this blog. Each one of them has his and her opinion about the semiconductor industry, and now want me to take this up a little bit more ahead. Let’s see what more I can do!

While all of these makes me feel proud of having been spot on with my assessment of the global (and Indian) semiconductor industry, it should also serve as a warning for the global (and Indian) semiconductor industry — that it really needs to pull up its socks! It is not going to be an easy ride ahead!

For starters, you simply cannot wish away the rising oil prices. The oil prices impact will be immense, and DRAM and flash are still wobbling. Besides, the ASPs are a wobbly lot and will continue to remain so. Interestingly, several forecasts from various quarters have been revised or re-assessed. Didn’t you all see it coming?

I’d also like to touch upon the Indian semiconductor industry. In all likelihood, the wafer fab story has all but disappeared. Very few comments are now being made about the wafer fabs, although, how this topic was played up, rather, hyped up about a year ago is quite well documented. In fact, I’d also written about whether the timing was right for having fabs in India!

No, it is not a failure on part of the Indian industry or the India Semiconductor Association. Perhaps, we started on the fab path a bit too late! Let’s all accept that!! Having said that, if a wafer fab or two do start functioning in India later in 2009 or beyond, that would be simply great!

Yes, several solar fabs are coming up and investments in solar/PV are rising, as also in India, but that was along expected lines.

I’d mentioned earlier that investments in photovoltaics (PV) had eased the pressure on capital equipment makers and spend somewhat. In fact, 2007 is now well remembered as the year when the PV industry emerged as a key opportunity for the subsystems suppliers and provided a timely boost in sales for those actively addressing this market. Perhaps, here lies an opportunity for India! I’m repeating this to the extent of sounding boring.

Further, even though it has been quite a while since the Indian semicon policy was announced, some feel that India should continue to focus on design services and embedded — its well known strengths, rather than go after something as mature as wafer fabs. Also, why do we have to ‘force ourselves to think’ that we are good at product development? We are not! Yes, it can change, but that would need great effort on part of all industry stakeholders.

So, what next? For now, I will not try and predict again what’s the way ahead for the semiconductor industry, as I’ve recently done a self check on where the global semiconductor industry stands today. That assessment will be left for another day!

Top semicon articles of 2008

May 31, 2008 Comments off

A very kind reader left a comment yesterday that he (or she?) spent three hours on my blog! I am simply overwhelmed and humbled!!

It has really been a pleasure writing and maintaining a semicon blog! Plenty such are around carrying very valuable information, and I salute those bloggers.

It is really tough to contend with all the other technology-related information, but then, semicon has its own charm, and its own set of dedicated readers — who DO go on to become extremely loyal.

I am even more touched by another request by a friend to list all the top articles I’ve written this year. Wow!!

It is very difficult for me to say, which ones are the best! However, I am listing the articles here. They all link back to CIOL. Of course, I’ve blogged here first, so, those who are familiar with my blog pieces, will identify them immediately.

Here goes then — starting from the latest back down to very late last year — in terms of relevance. Enjoy!

Semi trends 2008: Fab spend lower, ASPs stabilizing
The call on global fab spend was for a 10 percent reduction, and this is now getting to be closer to 20 percent.

UK, India aim for semicon collaboration
ISA-UKTI study examines collaboration scope between India and UK in design, applications and devices.

Dubai an emerging silicon frontier
The government of Dubai has set up the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) as the engine for propelling Dubai into the knowledge economy.

Be parallel, or perish!
Parallelism offers new doors, and creativity is required to open these new doors, says Intel.

Altera first @ 40nm FPGAs
The company has announced two product lines — the Stratix IV FPGAs and the HardCopy IV ASICs.

Semicon likely to grow 12pc in 2008
If there will be an economic recession, the chip industry (but not all firms) is in the best shape possible to weather the ensuing storm.

India’s growing might in global semicon
India is fast becoming the world’s destination, and increasingly the source too, for semiconductors.

Fascinating developments in 22nm!
These augur well for the global semiconductor industry, even though the field could get much narrower.

Indian design services to touch $10.96bn by 2010
Total design services market in India is said to have grown at 21 percent year on year.

NXP India achieves RF CMOS in single chip
The entire analog and RF work done has been in Bangalore by NXP’s single-chip design team.

LabVIEW 8.5 delivers power of multicore processors
With LabVIEW, designers and engineers can assign different tasks on different cores — which are independent.

Multi-nationalization of product development process
Indian designers lead in transaction level design, and can play big role in EDA.

Can we expect exciting times in 2008? Some trends
Blurring lines between PMPs and PNDs, semicon rush or hush; Netscape’s end — all are in store!

Semicon outlook 2008: Global market likely to grow 6-11 percent in 2008
Some predictions are for 2008 to be flat year or a year of negative growth; EDA to grow 7.8pc!

That’s about it! If there’s anything I’ve missed out, kindly let me know. Thanks for all your continuing support, dear readers. It is very humbling and touching.

ASPs stabilizing, fab spend lower than expected

May 30, 2008 Comments off

Future Horizons recently released the May WSTS results on the global semiconductor industry, which indicate that the chip market is slowly starting to buzz again. With the ‘hum back among the chips’, it was important for me to quiz Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons, in the UK, to find out why this was happening!

Now then, why is the chip market exactly humming? What has actually happened? Well, nothing specific! It is merely an overall step-by-step general improvement in everything, helped along by the normal seasonal improvement in business in the second half of the year!

So many forecasters and firms have their own forecasts. What happens now if some of these forecasts are cut or revised? Will that affect the market overall market? The answer is simple — a forecast is simply just that — a forecast — not fact!

Penn says, “The market will judge whether the other forecasters’ analyses of the market were right, as it wll indeed judge whether we are right too!”

Earlier, I had written about Future Horizons forecasting 12 percent growth in 2008 for the global semiconductor industry. Keep an eye on that one!

Further, have the ASPs stabilized, as those are indeed a dodgy lot? Penn feels, “We believe yes, although, there will still be the normal month-on-month variations and wobbles.”

Now, where does all of this leave the DRAM and NAND markets? According to the forecast, prices have already stopped falling as fast as they were this time last year.

However, they do fall and will fall; this is what they do! The question is: by how much? In other words, is the current fall above or below the long-term trend line? This will be analyzed in the long run as well.

Finally, what’s happening with the semicon equipment capex? Again, it is continuing to fall! “Right now we are in the middle of an underinvestment period, which means a capacity shortfall in 12 month’s time,” notes Penn.

No ‘fab’ times for fab spends
Is the fab spend going to see any change then? Well, unfortunately, no luck there! At least, not yet. Penn adds that fab spend is lower than expected at the beginning of the year.

He says: “The call then was for a 10 percent reduction, and this is now getting to be closer to 20 percent. In fact, Mike Splinter of Applied Materials is quoted as saying that he thinks that fab spend will end up 30 percent down.”

It is good to see that the global semiconductor industry is starting to hum a little bit more than what it was doing last month. Sincerely hope that the rest of the year pans out well!

Chip market is beginning to hum again!

May 30, 2008 Comments off

Future Horizons has released the May WSTS results today on the global semiconductor industry, which indicate that the chip market is slowly starting to buzz again.

Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons, points out that as shown in May’s WSTS results, March’s sale figures romped home with a vengeance – reversing February’s lacklustre performance – with IC sales up 10.8 percent on February and 8.2 percent on the same time last year.

More importantly, the ASPs were up 13.3 percent on February and 2.1 percent on March 2007.

While the increase on February 2008 is merely part of the normal month 3 versus month 2 quarterly patterns, the increase over the same period last year is much more statistically -– and structurally -– significant.

“Finally, the chip market is starting to hum. Now is NOT the time to cut back on the 2008 forecast,” he adds.

Now then, why is the chip market exactly humming? What’s actually happened? Well, nothing specific! It is merely an overall step-by-step general improvement in everything, helped along by the normal seasonal improvement in business in the second half of the year.

So many forecasters and firms have their own forecasts. What happens now if some of these forecasts are cut or revised? Will that affect the market overall market? The answer is simple — a forecast is simply just that — a forecast — not fact! Penn says, “The market will judge whether the other forecasters’ analyses of the market were right, as it wll indeed judge whether we are right too!”

Earlier, I had blogged about Future Horizons forecasting 12 percent growth in 2008 for the global semiconductor industry. Keep an eye on that one!

Further, have the ASPs stabilized, as those are indeed a dodgy lot? Penn feels, “We believe yes, although, there will still be the normal month-on-month variations and wobbles.”

I shall continue this story in my next blog… so keep reading folks! My very warm regards and thanks to all of you who do stop by to read and comment.

Indian design services to cross $7.37bn in 2008

April 22, 2008 Comments off

The Indian semiconductor and embedded design services market has grown consistently over the last five years and market is likely to cross the US$ 7.37 billion in 2008.

This was the key finding of the “India semiconductor and embedded design service industry (2007-2010): Market, technology and ecosystem analysis”, a study jointly released today in Bangalore by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA), and IDC (India) Ltd.

Some key findings of this comprehensive report include:

* The total design market in India for 2007 was estimated at US $6 billion. Eighty-one percent of the revenues were in the area of embedded software, followed by VLSI design (13 percent) and hardware/board design (6 percent).

* The total workforce employed in the design services industry in India was estimated at 130,000 in 2007.Of this the bulk of the jobs were in embedded software 82 percent followed by VLSI design (11 percent) and hardware/board (7 percent).

* The industry was estimated to grow at a CAGR of around 21.7 percent between 2007-2010.

* The geographical focus of the industry indicates that US has a share of 70 percent; Europe at 30 percent; and the emerging economy is that of Japan.

Key factors that determine the growth of the design sector in India are: the growing expertise and capabilities in complex end-to-end design; strong IP development and talent. The Indian domestic market is one of the fastest growing in Asia as well as globally.

Commenting on the Indian design market, Poornima Shenoy, president, ISA, said: “The Indian semiconductor design industry, with over 200 companies, is on a strong growth trajectory. Our growth is nearly 22 percent which is three times the global growth rate of around 7 percent. We are looking eastward for business and collaboration heralding a new era in the future of the sector.”

Announcing the findings of the ISA-IDC report, Kapil Dev Singh, added: “The Indian semiconductor and embedded design services market has grown consistently over last the five years and market is expected to cross the US$ 7.37 billion in 2008. The domestic semiconductor and embedded design services industry is all set to enter a new phase -– Ver 2.0, following on from where Ver 1.0 left off. To achieve this next phase of growth, the industry needs to focus on the availability of quality manpower, higher productivity and more value creation.”

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