The book-to-bill ratio for North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers, such as Applied Materials Inc, rose to 1.04 last month in a sign that the semiconductor equipment industry is back on track this year, semiconductor industry association SEMI’s statistics showed yesterday.
The book-to-bill ratio stood above the key level of one for the fourth straight month, according to SEMI’s statistics.
A book-to-bill ratio of less than one indicates falling demand, while a ratio greater than one indicates growth.
The three-month average of worldwide bookings jumped about 19 percent to US$1.28 billion last month, from US$1.08 billion in the same period last year.
The three-month average of worldwide billings soared 28 percent to US$1.24 billion last month, compared with US$968 million last year.
“Both bookings and billings are at values higher than reported one year ago and are good indications of growth in the 2014 equipment market,” SEMI president and chief executive Denny McGuirk said in a statement.
“Device makers are investing in 20-nanometer technology and advanced device structures, while leading packaging houses focus their investments on flip chip, wafer-level and 3D packaging,” McGuirk said.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, said last month that it plans to spend a record-high US$10 billion on new equipment this year.
TSMC, which is also one of the world’s top semiconductor equipment buyers, plans to spend most of the budget developing advanced 20-nanometer, 16-nanometer and 8-nanometer technologies this year.
Taiwan, which invests the most on semiconductor equipment in the world, is expected to spend US$10.99 billion on new equipment this year, up nearly 8 percent from last year’s US$10.19 billion, SEMI forecast.
TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) has forecast that the overall semiconductor industry will grow 5 percent year-on-year this year.