Wed, Apr 16, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Chip tester revenue to grow 5.9 percent

‘MOMENTUM’:DigiTimes forecast the highest revenue for local testers in at least six years, as their customers restock in Q2 after two rounds of inventory correction

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s chip testers and packagers are expected to accelerate their revenue growth by 5.9 percent this year, supported by restocking demand and capacity expansion for advanced services, local researcher DigiTimes Research projected yesterday.

That would be higher than the 4.2 percent growth projected for global chip testers and packagers this year and the 3.7 percent annual growth posted by local firms last year to US$14.01 billion, according to DigiTimes Research’s forecasts.

This year, local chip testers and packagers are expected to boost their revenue to about US$14.84 billion, which would be the best figure in at least six years, the researcher’s statistics showed.

“After two rounds of inventory correction since the third quarter of last year, customers’ restocking demand will take place in the second quarter, fueling [growth] momentum for Taiwan’s chip testers and packagers,” DigiTimes Research said in the report.

In the final quarter of last year, global semiconductor inventory fell to US$15.88 billion, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2012, DigiTimes Research said.

In addition, the researcher forecast that an increase in demand for advanced mobile devices would also help drive growth for local chip testers and packagers, given that shipments of smartphones and tablets will grow by a double-digit percentage this year.

DigiTimes did not provide a detailed forecast.

Global tablet shipments are expected to jump 38.6 percent to 270.7 million units this year, while shipments of mobile phones, including smartphones, are to rise 4.9 percent sequentially to 1.9 billion units this year, Gartner said.

To cope with rising demand from that segment, Taiwan’s top chip testers and packagers, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體) and Siliconware Precision Industries Co (SPIL, 矽品精密), are expanding capacity for advanced services, DigiTimes Research said.

SPIL plans to boost capital spending by about 50 percent to NT$14.7 billion (US$486 million) this year, mostly on new advanced equipment and facilities, compared with last year’s NT$9.7 billion, the company said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange last month.

ASE is budgeting US$700 million for new equipment this year, slightly down from last year’s US$668 million, the company told investors in February.

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