Top Five Reasons to Attend SEMICON Japan

By Yoichiro Ando, SEMI Japan

Many people visit Japan for its delicious foods (sushi, shabu-shabu, ramen, yakitori…), exotic cultures (geisha, tatami mats, tuna auction…), and mixture of ancient cityscapes like Kyoto, Nara and Asakusa, and modern cityscapes like Shinjuku, Akihabara and Ginza. However, in the semiconductor supply chain, many people visit Japan just before the Christmas season – not for shopping, but for SEMICON Japan (December 13-15) for the reasons discussed below.

Reason 1: Japan has a significantly large installed fab capacity and large investments

Japan is one of a few regions starting semiconductor manufacturing back in the 1970’s. Since then, Japan has been positioned among the world-class semiconductor manufacturing regions and expanded into leading-edge fabs over the decades. According to the SEMI World Fab Forecast database, Japan has the third largest 300mm wafer fab capacity and the world’s largest 200mm and smaller wafer fab capacity (see figure 1). The forecast for overall investment into fab equipment for Japan is impressive ─ an increase of over 30 percent in 2017 to US$5.7 billion and to $6 billion in 2018.  

In Japan, more than 160 fabs are in operation (excluding R&D and pilot facilities) and Toshiba, Sony and Renesas Electronics among the fabs to spend more than US$ 1 billion for equipping this year. Also, the 160+ fabs consumed 15 percent of the materials supplied to the global market in 2016, according SEMI Materials Market Data Subscription.

The SEMICON Japan exposition floors will feature global electronics manufacturing supply chain companies with the latest products and technologies. Click here for the SEMICON Japan 2017 exhibitors list.

Fig 1 Regional Fab Capacity by Wafer Size (source: SEMI Fab Forecast, August 2017)

Reason 2: Japan is the home of rapidly growing end-products market leaders

Smart phones are not the only the growing semiconductor application. Smart Automotive and Smart Manufacturing are also growing markets and SEMI recognizes them as key vertical application pillars to drive growth across the global electronics manufacturing supply chain. Japan plays important roles in those areas.

Smart cars offer easier and more comfortable transportation for drivers and passengers, as well as efficient traffic controls to avoid accidents and to save energy. Those technologies are developed throughout the Smart Car electronics manufacturing supply chain including electronics subsystems and components suppliers, telecommunication companies, and semiconductor suppliers, besides car companies.

Japan is the home to several leading car manufacturers that are driving the development to make cars smarter. Toyota will exhibit their power device technologies at SEMICON Japan 2017, and Nissan will present its strategies on the stage along with key component suppliers such as NVIDIA and Hitachi Automotive Systems at the SuperTHEATER. Also, Tesla will exhibit its latest model on the show floor. SEMICON Japan will connect automotive industry to semiconductor manufacturing supply chain.

In the Smart Manufacturing industry, Japan plays a significant role in industrial robotics, which supplies 54 percent of robots to the global industry (estimated by SEMI based on the data published by International Federation of Robotics and Japan Robot Association). Please read “Japan's Chip Opportunities in Robotics” article for more information.

Reason 3: Japan is uniquely positioned with versatile semiconductor product portfolio

Most semiconductor chips in electronic end-products are not manufactured with the state-of-the-art 10nm processes, even in the latest smartphone models. Those products are cost-effectively manufactured with mature processes on 200mm and smaller wafer processing lines.

Wafer fabs in Japan ideally respond to the various demands with their versatile wafer processing lines in terms of both wafer sizes (as discussed above) and product type including memories, MPUs, logics, analogs, sensors/MEMS and discrete devices. The chart below illustrate the capacity breakdown by product. SEMICON Japan will be the showcase for those various technologies, products and services to serve wide-range customers.

Fig 2 Regional Fab Capacity by Wafer Size (source: SEMI Fab Forecast, August 2017)

Reason 4: Japan dominates the electronic components market

Before 2010, when a fab in Japan sold to a new owner, the company was most likely another semiconductor manufacturer.  After 2010, the new owner is more likely an electric component manufacturer such as Murata Manufacturing, TDK, and Taiyo Yuden.

Facing growing competition in the global market, those electronic component companies invested in RF components as a new growth driver, especially surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices, a market which is rapidly growing, driven by mobile phone applications. The manufacturing process of SAW devices has numerous parallels with semiconductors, but from a technological standpoint, it is several generations behind. By acquiring 200mm or smaller wafer fabs, the electronic components manufacturers can quickly add the SAW device capacity with later process technologies.

The device manufacturers in Japan that use semiconductor equipment and materials are not limited to Toshiba, Sony, Renesas and other IDMs. SEMICON Japan welcomes those new customers. Also, Murata Manufacturing will be exhibiting their technology to serve IoT applications on the SEMICON Japan show floor.

Reason 5: Japan supplies about 1/3 of equipment and more than 1/2 of materials to the global market

Japanese semiconductor equipment suppliers are highly competitive in many equipment segments including e-beam mask writers, exposure and write systems, coaters/developers, dry etchers, CVDs, oxidation/diffusion furnaces, CMP equipment, wet stations, dicers, back grinders, molding equipment, CD-SEMs, mask inspection systems, memory testers, logic testers, AGVs, OHTs and wafer handling robots, and are estimated to supply around one third of the total semiconductor manufacturing equipment purchased globally.

Japanese companies also supply critical semiconductor materials including silicon wafers, compound semiconductor wafers, photoresists, sputtering targets, packaging substrates, die attaches, underfill materials, bonding wires, leadframes, mold compounds. SEMI estimates more than half of the semiconductor materials consumed in the global market are supplied by Japanese companies.

Many of those leading companies exhibit at the SEMICON Japan exposition to showcase their latest products and technologies. Because Japan is their home region, you are likely to see more products and more engineers at their booths ready to offer a solution that you are looking for.

More reasons to attend SEMICON Japan

Before or after SEMICON Japan on December 13-15, you could enjoy Japan as a typical tourist! Here are some resources to find even more reasons to mark your calendar and book a flight to Tokyo:


I’ll see you at SEMICON Japan in December!


Global Update

October 10, 2017