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Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Record!

Sometimes all I hear about is bad news: industry consolidation, tighter margins, declining marketing budgets. With globalization, videoconferencing, interactive websites, and new concepts like “virtual trade shows”, you would the SEMI exposition business would be shrinking.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

SEMI expositions hit a new record last year in the number of booths sold. In fact, the SEMI trade show business has increased about 20% since 2003. SEMICON Korea, Taiwan, and Japan all broke new records. Trade shows aren’t getting less important to the industry; their influence and value has never been greater.

In a mature, consolidating industry, how could this be?

There are number of reasons to explain the continued vitality and importance of trade shows in the semiconductor industry. The first thing that comes to mind is the speed of the industry. Product life cycles are shortening, technology is racing forward. New developments such as high k/metal gate, new packaging innovations, continued productivity demands, advances in nano, EUV, test, and more all keep buyers and specifiers coming back to trade shows. They need to keep abreast of change and nothing does that better than a SEMICON event.

Another reason for continued growth is that our SEMICONS have adapted. Not only have they adapted to the growth of the industry in Asia, they have added new elements to meet the specific needs of each regional market. China has become full industry event with design, fabless, and foundry all participating; Korea has added solid state lighting; PV has become an important component of Europa, West and Taiwan. MEMS, Nano, display, test/packaging, materials, end-use markets such as automotive, wireless, consumer all have different concentrations in each SEMICON, reflecting regional markets and attendee interest.

The final reason for success, in my opinion, is that SEMI is fortunate to have our shows driven by program and exhibitor committees that keep them responsive to the business need. SEMICON shows are designed to serve members; not to maximize profits (i.e. we don’t raise prices for sold out events). I am a blue blood capitalist, but in this case, I think our SEMICON products have fared quite well under a collectivist philosophy.

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