Wed, Sep 30, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Smaller Semicon Taiwan offers more

SCALING DOWN Although attendance at the annual show is expected to be lower this year, the semiconductor sector was boosted by plans to ease investment curbs

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The three-day Semicon Taiwan 2009 expo, which opens in Taipei today, is expected to be smaller and draw fewer visitors than previous years as a result of the financial crisis, the event’s organizer said.

The semiconductor exhibition will feature only 520 companies occupying 1,000 booths and is expected to attract 20,000 visitors, according to data from the organizer, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International Taiwan (SEMI Taiwan).

The annual event attracted 20,934 visitors last year, with a total of 680 companies occupying 1,480 booths, when it occupied Hall 1 as well as Hall 3 of the Taipei World Trade Center. This year Hall 1 will host the entire expo.

However, the organizer said this year’s event would be at least as exciting as the previous ones.

The exhibition will for the first time feature two technology pavilions — a micro-­electromechanical systems (MEMS) pavilion and a testing, assembly and packaging pavilion — to highlight the development of next-generation semiconductors. There will also be 40 executives speaking at eight international forums.

“Taiwan has historically been on the leading edge of semiconductor research and management, and will now likely lead the world’s semiconductor manufacturers out of the current downturn,” SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing yesterday.

According to SEMI’s World Fab Forecast, global spending on fabs — including construction, facilities and equipment — has recently shown signs of improvement.

Total spending will be close to US$15 billion this year, and rise to US$24.4 billion next year, the forecast shows.

This year, North America will take the lead from Japan as the biggest semiconductor equipment purchaser, SEMI predicted.

North America and Japan will still be the two largest markets next year, followed by Taiwan with a predicted purchase amount of US$3.56 billion, according to SEMI Taiwan.

Local memory chipmaker Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) recently announced plans to invest in new advanced plants with an initial investment of NT$10 billion to NT$20 billion. They are expected to start production in 2011.

“Taiwan’s flash memory companies must equip themselves with cost control and production ­flexibility capabilities in order to survive in the face of strong competition,” Macronix vice president Pan Wen-sen (潘文森) said in the briefing.

In Taipei trading yesterday, semiconductor-related stocks rose 4.2 percent on news that the government is considering to ease investment curbs on local computer chipmakers doing business in China. Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) rose 4.9 percent to NT$63.7, United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) shares were up 3.6 percent to NT$15.7, while Macronix closed up 3.5 percent to NT$17.9.

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