By Jiwon Cho, Marketing Senior Specialist, SEMI Korea
Semiconductor industry sales in 2017 topped $400 billion for the first time, up 22 percent year-over-year, “a feat made possible thanks to the great contributions of Korean companies,” said Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI, at last month’s SEMICON Korea. Manocha went on to note that he expects Korea to continue heavy semiconductor spending in 2018 – with Samsung and SK Hynix accounting for as much as a staggering “40 percent of semiconductor industry investments.”
However, HK Kang, executive vice president and head of research at the Samsung Electronics semiconductor research and development center, cautioned in an opening day keynote that, without the cooperation of equipment and materials companies, the industry will struggle to scale to meet future growth demands. To help drive that scale, Kang explained that Samsung has increased the number of its joint development projects with equipment and materials companies by three times and the workload by five times over the past five years. The partnerships, Kang added, are a testament to the importance of equipment and materials companies to future semiconductor industry growth as semiconductor demand rises in the era of the 4th industrial revolution.
Indeed, with Korea perched atop the semiconductor industry, growth was a key theme at SEMICON Korea. Echoing the importance of sector partnerships, SEMI Board of Directors member Yong-Han Lee stressed in a speech at the event that while the “Korean semiconductor industry recorded unprecedented high growth last year,” in the future “the semiconductor industry in Korea needs to grow not just its memory sector, but also its equipment and material sectors.”
The semiconductor equipment market is projected to reach $60.1 billion in 2018, up by 7.4 percent, Dan Tracy, Senior Director Industry Research & Statistics of SEMI, said at the event. “Korea will record the biggest investment in equipment as was the case last year,” Tracy said, adding that “Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are expected to again make large investments this year.” Already, SK Hynix has announced that it will increase spending from last year.
In the spirit of SEMICON Korea’s theme to “Connect, Collaborate and Innovate,” seven companies – Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, Intel, Micron Technology, Sony, Toshiba, and Lam Research – participated as corporate buyers. The companies held meetings with more than 100 companies over the course of the three-day event through the SEMICON Korea Supplier Search Program (SSP). The talks with the domestic equipment, materials, and component companies are expected to give rise to tangible business opportunities.
Reflecting semiconductor market strength, SEMICON Korea – at COEX, Seoul from January 31 through February 2 – also grew, drawing more than 50,000 visitors to the premier event for the electronics manufacturing supply chain, up 20 percent from last year. The sold-out exhibition featured 1,913 booths, the most in the event’s history, and 436 participating companies spanning the entire semiconductor industry supply chain including the equipment and materials, component, design, software and facility sectors. Forums on two key industry growth drivers – Smart Manufacturing and Smart Automotive – also highlighted the event.
This year’s SEMICON Korea, a global networking platform, also connected other semiconductor professionals and experts while offering details on the latest semiconductor trends and technology advances. SEMICON Korea 2019 is scheduled to take place at COEX, Seoul, from January 23 to 25. The highly successful SEMICON Korea 2018 spurred more than 2,000 SEMICON Korea 2019 booth bookings – all at the exhibition – setting the stage for another record-breaking event next year.
February 13, 2018