SEMI Taiwan Members Prospect New Business Opportunities in the IC Industry
Representatives of flagship institutes and corporations – Institute for Information Industry, Epistar, Metal Industries Research & Development Centre, Asia Pacific Microsystems, WIN Semiconductors, ASE and Dow Chemical Company gathered at SEMI Taiwan Member’s Day to share technology and market trends.
In the area of semiconductor industry, the age of 3D-IC is coming and fueling new opportunities in manufacturing equipment; the MEMS application market is rising; III-V compound applications are expanding; and demand for energy-efficient, eco-friendly equipment and material is growing stronger by the day. The emerging LED industry continues to heat up the market. All those business opportunities will be highlighted at SEMICON Taiwan 2011 in eight theme pavilions, each meant to satisfy the different development requirements within the industry.
3D-IC Brightens the Future of Semiconductor Industry
Dr. K.C. Yee, vice president of corporate R&D Center at ASE Group, indicated that “Despite the tremendous progress that has transpired in the recent years, 3D-IC with through silicon vias (TSVs) still presents significant challenges in cost, design, manufacturing, test and supply chain readiness. Using the existing infrastructure, 2.5D-IC based on silicon interposer (with TSVs) can help pave the road to facilitate the migration of an IC node from 40 nm to 20 nm as the dielectric becomes porous and fragile, as well as the migration from 2D-IC to 3D-IC.” He also predicted that 2.5D-IC will be in mass production in the next two years, and 3D-IC is expected to occur within 3 to 5 years — driven by strong demand on the computer and smart phone applications.
Rosy Outlook for MEMS – Packaging and Testing Require Further Integration
Jerwei Hsieh, deputy director of Asia Pacific Microsystems, quoted the following from an iSuppli report: “Driven by demand from consumer electronics, MEMS will experience 12-16% annual growth in the next five years. Previously, the time from MEMS device development to volume production was much longer. Now that the industry has accumulated experience and made it over the threshold, time-to-market has shrunken considerably and manufacturers are better at controlling overhead. In addition, more efficient business partnership models are now being adopted; this is good news for the long-term development of the MEMS industry. With consumer electronics as well as Bio and Nano applications propelling the market forward, the future is bright for MEMS.” Nevertheless, as pointed out by Jerwei Hsieh, the industry must still overcome a few hurdles: although the time required for MEMS device conception is much shorter now, the time required to ready the product for volume production is relatively long, and this requires a sizeable capital investment. Moreover, production costs at transnational MEMS manufacturers are dropping fast. Therefore, local competitors must make a thorough assessment of return on investment before going ahead with development plans. In the area of packaging and testing, the complexity of related processes requires further integration.
Broad-Reaching Applications for III-V Compounds – Market Looking Good
Lee Tsung-hung, vice president of marketing at WIN Semiconductors, said that with the development of wireless broadband communications and the rapid growth of 3G networks and smartphone markets across the globe, vanguard technology for gallium arsenide (GaAs) transistors is gaining in influence. The biggest market for III-V compound applications is mobile phone communications. The range of applications also includes WiFi, Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), satellite communications, vehicle safety communications, CATV, fiber optics, and high-efficiency solar cells. Looking at the overall outlook for the GaAs market, smartphones will be the main impetus for future growth. This is because PA-switch applications in smartphones are diversifying and becoming more and more sophisticated. The market has more than doubled in size thanks to increased demand for PA-switch applications. Based on projections from DigiTimes, the volume of mobile phone shipments will grow 6.9% in 2011 – good prospects for the GaAs market just on mobile phone demand alone.
New benchmarks Bring Innovations in Advanced Materials to New Level
As for trends in the application of advanced materials, Wang Wei-tung, marketing manager for the Asia-Pacific region at Dow Chemical Company, indicated that the demand for energy efficiency, eco-friendly materials is growing stronger by the day. However, the challenges lying ahead for materials providers is to continue to research and develop new solutions while clients apply pressure to lower costs with improving yield, quality and capacity. It is a daunting challenge!
To connect information, technologies and business opportunities in the above emerging areas, SEMICON Taiwan will highlight a number of theme pavilions this year. More information, visit: www.semicontaiwan.org
February 1, 2011