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How Taiwan government reacts to DRAM turmoil is a lesson in itself!

December 18, 2008

Taiwan based DRAMeXchange recently sent me a release, which discussed in length the steps the Taiwan government is taking in an attempt to “save one of the ‘2 trillion twin stars’, the DRAM industry”. The Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) was designated to draft the policies, principals, strategic goals and strategic directions of the DRAM industry rescue plan.

According to DRAMeXchange: At 6 PM, December 16, the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs held a press conference about the DRAM rescue plan, emphasized in the past 10 years the investment amount of the DRAM industry surpassed NT$ 850 billion, and created a complete industry supply chain, which widely covers upstream chip makers, to downstream packaging and testing companies, and module houses. If the recession brought down the industry, the Taiwan industrial chain will be affected severely.

The Taiwanese government showed sincerity and willingness, and hoped that Taiwanese DRAM vendors can actively start to consolidate horizontally and vertically, and make joint proposing plans to the government. The government will not take the leading position, but the strategic direction is long term integration, which is not just merger but also includes cooperation of co-research, co-develop, and co-manufacturing.

The government also emphasized that it will tend to strengthen the relationship among the co-operation of Taiwanese, American, and Japanese DRAM vendors.

In another report, Gartner has gone as far as dubbing the DRAM industry as the wild card for the semiconductor industry in 2009! The DRAM industry has been in a downturn for the past 18 months and losses are now approaching $12 billion, it says.

How the Taiwanese DRAM industry reacts to the efforts of the Taiwan government will be visible in the coming months. Among other bail out plans, the Taiwan government has also focused on the need for the local industry to develop its own technology.

Taiwan takes great pride in having been a leader in technology and R&D for long. If the DRAM industry does not recover quickly enough, it would indeed impact the country’s industrial chain as well.

What’s interesting to note is the key role the government of Taiwan is playing in all of this. It again stresses the importance of government contribution within the semiconductor industry. And, there is also a lesson in all of this for India!

Closer home, in India, I am (and I am sure, interested readers and parties are too) still waiting to hear on what happened to the several proposals that were received for solar/PV, as well as on the various state policies, especially, Karnataka.

All believe that these would surely get pushed through in the new year. However, there is a need to show some speed in this regard as well. You cannot afford to wait for too long in the semiconductor industry. The SemIndia fab story is all to well known and hopefully, still fresh in everyone’s minds.

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