editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Buckle your seat belts: the semi market could be about to explode.

At the Future Horizons Semiconductor Industry Forecast on January 20th Malcolm Penn was in one of his classic ebullient modes. His message was “It is time to prepare for one of the strongest (and longest) upswings in chip industry history.”

Firstly, the context: this time last year Penn predicted semi sales would grow by  8%, with the most pessimistic case being only 4% and the most optimistic 14%. In fact, with December still to be finalised, it looks like 9.9% for the year.

For 2015 his target is 8.5% growth, with sales of $364.183 billion ($1 billion day). However if we do see a recovery things will be very different. Penn’s analysis of the last three upturns showed that the first four quarters of an upturn typically experience growth of around 30%.

However there is not only no spare manufacturing capacity at advanced nodes, TSMC sold out last year, but there is little capacity being built. And even if you start building today, it will be a least a year before you have chips. There is also virtually no inventory being held, all the way from wafers to finished goods. This means that growth will come from price increases as customers compete for the limited supply of chips. The owners of the advanced fabs, mainly TSMC, will be doing well financially.

So while I have been bewailing the lack of excitement in 2014, in one area, if Penn is right, 2015 could become very exciting.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Dec 12, 2018
For years chip designers have dealt with ECO'€™s when their source code was written in RTL. But the move to high-level synthesis (HLS) means that their source code is now one step further removed from... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Communit...
Dec 12, 2018
A joint demonstration between Samtec and eSilicon — an eSilicon 7 nm 56 Gbps DSP SerDes over a Samtec 5 meter ExaMAX® backplane cable assembly — caught a lot of attention at SC18. The demo showed a true long-reach capability with a high-performance, flexible, eas...
Dec 10, 2018
We may think of prosthetics as devices created to enable basic functions, such as walking or grasping an object. Regarded as a necessity, but not an asset, prosthetics of the past......
Nov 14, 2018
  People of a certain age, who mindfully lived through the early microcomputer revolution during the first half of the 1970s, know about Bill Godbout. He was that guy who sent out crudely photocopied parts catalogs for all kinds of electronic components, sold from a Quon...