Mon, Mar 30, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Semiconductor sector may see recovery next quarter

RUSH ORDERS: Local chipmakers say a large number of orders from China and signs that economic decline was slowing down pointed to better days ahead

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwanese semiconductor suppliers are expecting a significant market recovery in the second quarter of this year after securing orders for next month and May.

The executives of most integrated circuit (IC) chip design houses, wafer foundries and semiconductor testing and packaging companies said they believed they would see at least 20 percent growth in revenues in the second quarter.

MediaTek Inc (聯發科), Taiwan’s top handset chip designer; Realtek Semiconductor Corp (瑞昱半導體), a networking chipmaker; and Weltrend Semiconductor Inc (偉詮電子), one of the world’s leading network and computer peripheral IC providers; have forecast 10 percent in sales revenues in the first quarter over the fourth quarter of last year.

Other chipmakers have seen their decline in revenue in the first quarter slow to between 10 percent and less than 30 percent from the 29.7 percent decline in the final quarter of last year, thanks mainly to rush orders from China.

Orders for cellphones, digital cameras and household appliances from leading brand names will keep the IC design industry busy at least through next month and May.

IC design house Sonix Technology Co (松翰科技) expressed confidence that its revenues in the second quarter would grow by between 40 percent and 50 percent over the first quarter.

Orise Technology Co Ltd (旭曜科技), a producer of flat panel IC display drivers, also expressed optimism for the second quarter, with a 50 percent increase over the first quarter.

The IC designers’ increased orders from abroad have produced a positive ripple effect, benefiting two major wafer foundries — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) — by keeping their eight-inch wafer plants running at nearly capacity level.

As a result of the increased orders, the two companies announced in the last two weeks that they would end their policy of forced unpaid leave for all workers beginning next month.

They implemented the policy in recent months to cut costs, requiring workers on average to take one day of unpaid leave per week.

Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進), a leading specialty IC foundry service provider, has also reported that its old plant producing eight-inch wafers has recorded a full-capacity utilization rate.

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