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Semiconductor equipment market to see gradual recovery

Posted: 23 Jul 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SEMICON West 2002? semiconductor market? technology? assembly? packaging?

The recovery in the semiconductor market will be gradual, technology innovation will continue to be unabated, and China is expected to play an increasingly important supply and demand role in the coming years. These views were expressed by senior executives who participated in a panel discussion during the final manufacturing segment of SEMICON West 2002.

According to SEMI's mid-year consensus forecast, although sales of assembly and packaging equipment are expected to decline by 23 percent this year, some equipment suppliers have reported strong orders. A participant from Kulicke & Soffa also noted that customers are buying for technology needs rather than buying for capacity requirements.

Panel members were also bullish on the long-term outlook for the semiconductor market in China. Ultratech Stepper predicted that China would become the number two market for semiconductor equipment by the end of this decade, following the U.S. However, short-term concerns include the potential of stricter U.S.-imposed export controls on advanced process tools going into China, and an imbalance in supply and demand from new wafer fabrication investments on the mainland.

On the timing and strength of the industry upturn, panel participants agreed that the recovery was underway and would gain momentum through 2003. However, the return to strong growth at this time are said to be slower compared with earlier upturns in the industry.

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