SEMI press conference highlights market forecast, economic conditions

By Jeff Dorsch, Contributing Editor

When Gordon Moore of Fairchild Semiconductor published his famous article on chip scaling and costs in 1965, gasoline in the U.S. was 31 cents per gallon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was under 1,000, and a house could be purchased for $13,000 or so, noted Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI, at Tuesday morning’s press conference opening the SEMICON West 2015 conference and exhibition.

It’s the 45th anniversary of SEMI itself and the annual SEMICON show in Northern California during 2015, he added.

Karen Savala, president of SEMI Americas, reviewed SEMICON West events for this week and new aspects of the show, such as the Career Exploration Forum.

Dan Tracy, SEMI’s senior director of industry research and statistics, presented the market forecast for semiconductor equipment and materials. Foundry and memory chip manufacturers will primarily drive this year’s growth for wafer fabrication equipment, he said.

SEMI is forecasting capital equipment revenue will reach about $40 billion worldwide this year, with 8 percent growth for all equipment and 10 percent growth for wafer fab equipment.

SEMI Press Conference Highlights Market Forecast, Economic Conditions Figure 1

The global materials market is predicted to increase 4 percent in revenue this year, according to Tracy, to $46 billion for all packaging and semiconductor materials.

The SEMI executive focused on fan-out wafer-level packaging, which will increase dramatically over the next four years, according to TechSearch International. WLFO is primarily meant for mobile applications, “driven by consumer demand,” Tracy noted. Such consumer products will bring “a lot of pricing pressure,” he added.

Tracy also highlighted the currency situation presented by a strong dollar, which is having adverse effects on the euro and the yen. The Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan estimates 2014 billings grew by 37 percent when measured in yen, and only 26 percent measured in U.S. dollars.

SEMI Press Conference Highlights Market Forecast, Economic Conditions Figure 2

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