Semicon West to stay in Valley, at least for now

In its ongoing effort to find more room for the Semicon West trade show, the SEMI board of directors has decided against moving the annual gathering out of Silicon Valley, opting instead to study a further segmentation of the event.

The decision, which came during the board's annual policy and planning meeting last week, ends the recent debate about whether the trade show should be moved to a new venue, such as Las Vegas, where all exhibitors could be housed in a single location. Semicon West has been held in two locations since 1997, when SEMI split front- and back-end exhibitors between the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco and the San Jose Convention Center, respectively.

While the 1997 split did not bring long-term relief to the show’s space problems, Stan Myers, SEMI president, said a contemplated move to Las Vegas has been ruled out for the “foreseeable future.” The trade group had secured first right of refusal for show dates at the Las Vegas Convention Center beginning in 2002, but now has decided to relinquish those dates. “It's premature to make a decision to move the show,” Myers said.

Instead, work will begin immediately to study a number of options for segmenting the show; some of those options include a further breaking out of the exposition by sector, perhaps running the segmented events simultaneously or at different times. Other options include controlling growth of the show by limiting the number of booths. Myers noted that an examination of SEMI's membership by region, size, product, and technology is on tap. “The final answer is we've got to get more space. It's a very complex situation. As we speak, the industry is reinventing itself,” he said, citing fundamental shifts in the market, such as those driven by foundries. “All of these things will come into play as we figure out how to best serve the industry.”

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