National Semiconductor Corp says the industry is on the right track for a turnaround, helped by rising demand and lower inventories, a company official said yesterday.
National Semiconductor, based in Santa Clara, California, is the world's largest manufacturer of power-management chips.
"We're cautiously optimistic about the semiconductor industry for 2005. We feel the industry is getting better with inventories falling to a reasonable level," said Huang Chung-ken (
Huang said that rising demand will offset pressure for further price falls in the next three months.
"We believe chip prices will be able to stabilize next quarter after a downtrend in 2004," Huang said yesterday.
The resilient demand for laptop computers and liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TVs will drive growth this year, Huang said, adding that notebook computer demand will see stronger growth of over 10 percent this year.
National Semiconductor supplies chips to a range of local companies, such as notebook computer contract maker Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), flat-panel supplier AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and TV vendor Sampo Corp (聲寶).
National Semiconductor, which holds a global 12.5 percent share of the analog power IC market, said revenue jumped 34 percent to US$571.2 million during the fiscal year between June 2003 and last May from the previous year.
Huang's view is at odds with the latest report from market researcher In-Stat, which predicted that the semiconductor industry is drifting into another slump.
Semiconductor companies are expected to report lower revenue this year, down 5.7 percent to a total US$199.3 billion from the record high of US$211.4 billion last year, In-Stat said.
"This downturn will be far less severe because it is taking place within a relatively strong worldwide economy, an economy which is expected to grow by 4.3 percent in 2005," the report said.