Japan, Korea will see strongest growth in chip equipment sales surge


CHIBA, Japan—Leading manufacturers of semiconductor equipment expected sales to increase in 2003 to $21.4 billion—more than eight percent above the $19.8 billion in sales posted in 2002, according to the year-end edition of the Capital Equipment Consensus Forecast, released by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (San Jose, Calif.).

The industry is also expected to experience a robust recovery in 2004, rising 39 percent to $29.6 billion, and continue into 2005 with 18 percent growth to $35 billion. In 2006, as new capacity goes into production, the industry cycle is expected to contract 6.6 percent.

"Recent improvements in bookings and global economic indicators are giving equipment companies reason to be more optimistic about the short-term prospects for a robust recovery in the equipment market," says Stanley Myers, president and CEO of SEMI. "Recovery in the global semiconductor market, coupled with increased capacity utilization, the introduction of new technologies, and improving sales of electronics support the view that 2004 and 2005 should be strong years for the capital equipment market."

Recovery in 2004 is projected across all technology segments. Wafer process equipment, which is the largest segment by dollar value, is expected to rise 38.6 percent to $19.8 billion, with other front-end equipment growing 32.7 percent to $2.1 billion. Test equipment, which is showing the strongest growth in 2003, should see sales increasing 40.4 percent to $5.5 billion, and assembly and packaging equipment is forecast to rise 40.3 percent to $2.2 billion.

For 2003, Japan and Korea were expected to show the strongest growth, rising 46 percent to $5.7 billion and 70 percent to $2.8 billion respectively. The rest of the world region, which includes China, should grow 15 percent this year to $3.1 billion, followed by Europe at 11 percent to $2.4 billion. Sales in Taiwan are expected to contract 16 percent in 2003 to $2.9 billion, and North America is forecast to decline 24 percent this year to $4.5 billion; however, both regions are expected to rebound strongly this year as all regions are forecast to show robust growth in 2004.

The SEMI Consensus Forecast is based on interviews conducted between October and November 2003 with North American and European companies that represent a majority of the total sales volume for the global semiconductor equipment industry.