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Hot buttons for 2010: Convergence, green tech

Posted: 04 Feb 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:convergence? green technology? ASEAN?

China's IC industry has benefited from a series of economic stimulus policiesthe booster plan for the electronics and information industry, rural household appliance subsidy program, household appliance old-for-new subsidy program and 3G network construction. With the design sector maintaining a 9.7 percent growth in the first half of 2009 while the IC manufacturing and packaging sectors plunged, China looks set to lead the electronics market growth in 2010.

However, there are signs of manufacturing moving away from China with many OEMs rethinking their manufacturing plans. The recent downturn showed the fragility of the country's supply chain when several companies there went bust leaving their customers in a frantic search of alternate supplies at a short notice.

In India, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai together constitute a golden triangle: chip design in Bangalore, chip and photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing in Hyderabad and EMS manufacturing in Chennai.

Adding to the huge opportunity of urban demand for electronic gadgets, there is also a vast, untapped opportunity for locally made products in India's rural market, especially for telecom and wireless applications. Growth trends are visible in that country across security surveillance, solar energy and LED lighting. A growing middle class coupled with a low penetration of flat panel TVs will fuel the transition from CRT to LCD TVs.

In Taiwan, with booming mainland auto market as a key regional focus of its auto electronics, the government announced the launching of a program called "Project to Establish Indigenous Technology for the Automobile Industry" in August 2009. The project focuses on RFID service modules, telematics systems, auto lighting, LED headlights, parking systems and tire pressure monitoring systems and carries a larger thrust in 2010.

The government plans to catalyze the indigenous green energy industry and develop Taiwan into the third largest solar-energy producer. It has earmarked $758 million in the next five years to subsidize seven green-energy industries: PV, lighting, wind power, bio-fuel, hydrogen energy and fuel cells, energy IT and electric cars.

Mediatek will continue to lead IC design market in Taiwan and was expected to surpass Qualcomm in terms of shipment volume in 2009.

Going over to Vietnam, with low labor costs and an educated workforce, the country was seen as a potential hub for IC packaging and assembly. However, the path ran into snags when first Intel and then the IC packaging start-up, V-Caps, postponed their backend facilities. Intel's Vietnam facility, when completed, will supposedly be the largest single factory within its assembly and test network. However, analysts believe that the government's road map is clear and it is working towards establishing the semiconductor industry and boost its exports. This year is set to be the watershed year for the country's backend industry.

Expect 2010 to be a recovery year for electronics design with China and India predominantly poised to lead and with convergence and green technology becoming mainstream.

- Meenu Sarin
VLSI Consultancy

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