Electronic Design

Semiconductors Surged In 2000; Slower Growth Seen For 2001

The bean counters are still finalizing the totals. But based on early estimates, 2000 was a very good year for the semiconductor industry.

In December, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) presented its 2000 edition of the SEMI Consensus Forecast at the SEMICON Japan exposition in Tokyo. According to the preliminary figures, the semiconductor manufacturing equipment market grew by 80% in 2000 to close at $46.7 billion. Growth will slow down in 2001 yet continue at 22% to reach $57.2 billion.

"After what has been the best year ever for the semiconductor equipment industry, confidence remains high among capital equipment companies that strong growth will continue into 2001," said Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO of SEMI. Indeed, this optimism and 2000's robust growth in capital spending have driven the semiconductor industry's success.

Within the industry, wafer process equipment sales will fare the best in 2001. This segment will see $38.7 billion, or 24.1% more than 2000's $31.2 billion. 2001's assembly and packaging equipment sales should hit $4.7 billion, or 23.6% more than the $3.8 billion sold last year. And, test equipment sales will jump by 16.7% in 2001, from $8.9 billion to $10.3 billion.

Regionally speaking, North America will enjoy the bulk of wealth, with $14.6 billion of 2001's $57.2 billion tally. That's a 20.4% increase over the region's $12.2 billion 2000 total. But Taiwan will see the most growth in terms of percentage, leaping by 27.2% from $9.8 billion to $12.4 billion. Japan, which had $8.9 billion last year, will enjoy 16.7% growth and $10.3 billion in sales in 2000.

The report also speculated about what the semiconductor industry can expect in 2002 and 2003. Unfortunately, these figures aren't as encouraging. SEMI expects 12.3% growth and a $64.2 billion total in 2002. Things will slow down to a 7.7% rate for a $69.1 billion figure in 2003.

"While we have seen moderation of growth in recent months," Myers adds, "new manufacturing technologies including 300 mm and advanced submicron processes are expected to drive equipment orders through 2001." Whether these factors will continue to be a significant influence in the following years remains to be seen.

The forecast included input from 72 of the trade association's member companies in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Surveys were collected in October and November, and respondents represent a majority of the total sales volume for the global semiconductor equipment industry. For more information about the survey, visit SEMI on the Web at www.semi.org.

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