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Monday, March 24, 2008

SEMICON China 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why all the Posts?

Because in China I couldn't access my blog.  Maybe it had something to do with the problems in T*****?

Its Different with SEMI

If you think there's no difference between a private organizer and an industry association in producing trade shows, consider the following programs recently held at SEMICON China:
  • PV & MEMS Technology Seminar
  • Silicon Manufacturers Group 
  • Equipment and Spare Parts Localization Meeting
  • Used Equipment Forum
  • PV Technology Conference
  • Export Controls and Customs Workshop
  • Regional EHS Meeting
  • Dalian Semiconductor Base Promotion
  • SEMI/GSA Joint Promotion Meeting
In addition to the above meetings, workshops and forums, much of the opening ceremonies, executive luncheons, hospitality events and other get-togethers were conducted with the point of advancing industry's interests. Maybe none of these meetings would have been held without the support of the equipment and materials industry association. SEMICONS are not just about selling booths, they are about serving the industry.

The Green Supply Chain

Just in time for my trip to FPD China 2008 and SEMICON China, a devastating article about the polysilicon industry in China appeared in the Washington Post last week. In a major feature, the Post reported:

“In China, polysilicon plants are the new dot-coms. Flush with venture capital and with generous grants and low-interest loans from a central government touting its efforts to seek clean energy alternatives, more than 20 Chinese companies are starting polysilicon manufacturing plants. The combined capacity of these new factories is estimated at 80,000 to 100,000 tons -- more than double the 40,000 tons produced in the entire world today.
(But) solar plants in China have not installed technology to prevent pollutants from getting into the environment or have not brought those systems fully online, industry sources say.”

Whether or not the accusations in the story are accurate, or widespread, SEMI has a huge responsibility to our members and society to being positive a force in advancing environmental responsibility and Best Practices in the industries we serve. Membership in SEMI should come with both responsibilities and benefits, but this is difficult to assure and enforce. Many of the benefits of membership, such as industry standards and public policy benefits are not exclusive to members--everyone benefits. Even in trade shows, non-exhibitors and non-members benefit from the industry congregation by setting up meetings in hotel rooms, even though they have contributed nothing to the incentives that bring customers, industry experts and other leaders to the venue.

SEMI is not overly concerned with restricting benefits to dues-paying members and exhibitors. We do, however, struggle with assigning responsibilities to members as part our association mission. Many associations require the signing of a code of conduct or principles to be members. Very often, these associations are established exclusively to address environmental and other public policy issues; common agreement on certain industry practices is the raison d'tre of the organization.

At SEMI, we encourage and support our member’s environmental responsibilities in a separate vehicle called Global Care. Members of Global Care have agreed to support important sustainability objectives. In dealing with the emerging polysilicon businesses in China, and elsewhere, we will be using both SEMI membership and Global Care to influence environmental practices. By becoming a SEMI member, new China companies become part of global network of suppliers that implicitly agree to a responsible code of conduct. By joining Global Care, members explicitly agree to a substantive commitment to sustainability practices. SEMI is committed to bringing emerging China companies into the global marketplace and into our membership so we can assure greater assurance to all members, and all parts of society, that we are leaving the earth a better place than when we found it.

FPD China 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

Marketing in a Recession

Some marketers in the semiconductor industry are facing reduced budgets due to the current industry downturn. For many companies, it’s the last thing they should do.
What does history and research say about marketing during recession?

The 1990-91 recession lasted eight months with unemployment eventually peaking at 7.8%, 50% higher than the current rate. Home prices in the top 10 metropolitan areas fell 8.3% during the downturn and the stock market dropped 21%.

It was during this time that Intel launched “Intel Inside” and spent $100 million on a risky, untried marketing campaign. In 1992, the first year of "Intel Inside" campaign, worldwide sales rose 63%.

According to the February 4th issue of Advertising Age, consumer product giants P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, Kraft Foods, and Kellogg are all boosting (or have at least maintained) their marketing budgets. This even as they are cutting costs elsewhere due to the slowing economy.

For well-positioned companies, an economic recession should not prompt marketing cutbacks, but rather an aggressive increase in marketing spending to achieve superior business performance according to recent research by professors at Penn State's Smeal College of Business. Other studies have also confirmed that aggressive marketing during an economic downturn can result in greater market share gains than spending increases in a growing economy. The Penn State study finds that firms entering a recession with a pre-established strategic emphasis on marketing; an entrepreneurial culture; and a sufficient reserve of under-utilized workers, cash, and spare production capacity are best positioned to approach recessions as opportunities to strengthen their competitive advantage.

"Proactive marketing includes both the sensing of the existence of the opportunity (a tough hill and fatigued opponents) and an aggressive response (possessing the necessary strength or nerve) to the opportunity," say the researchers.

"Those firms with a strategic emphasis on marketing have already put in place the programs that help them derive value from their marketing activities (e.g., well-recognized brands, differentiated products, targeted communications, good support and service, etc.)," said the authors.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This was a fun program to help develop. One of the great joys of SEMI is working with people who are smarter and more accomplished than you.

SEMICON West has always been the premier venue to see the latest innovations in the industry and we needed an award that celebrated that distinction…we needed an award that would live throughout history, become milestones, signposts to remember.

The inaugural Best of West Award is intended to recognize our industry’s outstanding engineering and scientific achievements, important new products and amazing solutions.
We’ve just announced it to exhibitors and we’re open for submissions. We’re especially excited about the judges panel: independent, diverse, covering most segments, academia, distinguished customers, all the key journalists. Many of the journalists also have award programs so I am especially thankful for their support.

• Dr. Robert, Doering, Senior Fellow in Silicon Technology Development, Texas Instruments
• Bernard Meyerson, IBM Fellow, vice president and chief technologist, Systems & Technology Group, IBM
• Godfrey Mungal, Dean, School of Engineering, Santa Clara University
• Ann Stephora Mutschler, Senior Editor, Electronic News
• Mark Osborne, Editor in Chief, Semiconductor FabTech
• David Ridsdale, Editor in Chief, EuroAsia Semiconductor
• Pete Singer, Editor-in-Chief, Semiconductor International
• Ed Korczynski, Sr. Technical Editor, Solid State Technology
• Francoise von Trapp, Managing Editor, Advanced Packaging
• Rick Nelson, Chief Editor, Test & Measurement World
• Marc David Levenson, Editor-in-Chief, Microlithography World
• Dr. David W. Parent Associate Professor, San Jose State University.

Monday, March 03, 2008


With semiconductor capex spending looking bleak for the year, I hope you’re one of the many SEMI members also serving the flat panel display (FPD) industry.

According to DisplaySearch, sales of equipment used to manufacture TFT-LCDs will surge 40% to over $11 billion in 2008, and will likely remain at a similar level through 2009. TFT fab utilization increased from a sickly 85.4% at the beginning of last year to a robust 95.7% as the year ended, the highest level recorded. In response, the top five LCD makers—Samsung, AUO, LPL, CMO and Sharp—are all expecting to increase spending through 2008 and well into 2009.

Apart from the added growth that new markets offer, diversification can help balance revenue streams and minimize impact of the boom and bust cycles affecting any one segment.

For many SEMI members, PV offers the same diversification opportunity that FPD offers. Certainly the polysilicon suppliers have benefited from the emergence of PV the last few years, but many equipment suppliers have seen a large bump in sales from PV applications as well. The number of PECVD, sputtering, furnaces, laser scribers, screen printing, and other tools targeted for PV have doubled in the last two years and will likely double again by 2011.

Another industry that is providing SEMI members with diversification opportunities is solid state lighting. Revenues from discrete LED devices are expected to increase by an impressive 22% cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) between 2005 and 2010, according to a new five-year forecast from IC Insights of Scottsdale, Arizona. Paving the way for this revenue growth is an intensifying race to develop and mass-produce highly luminous white LEDs for indoor solid-state lighting systems. Total unit shipments of LED devices will climb to about 64 billion in 2010, up from 27.4 billion in 2005. That’s gonna require a whole lot of equipment and materials.

Helping our members diversify into new markets is a key challenge for SEMI. Typically, we try to highlight emerging markets at one of executive conferences, such as ISS or SBC. Sometimes we will create a dedicated event to serve our members such as FPD China or the PV Fab Managers Forum. Another common approach to helping our members diversify include partnership events such as FPD International and Intersolar North America. Our market research, standards, EHS, and public policy groups within SEMI also search for ways to enhance new market opportunities.

Picking the right new market, and using our limited time, energy and resources to help members profit from it is one of the most difficult and challenging responsibilities we have at SEMI. If you know of an emerging market that SEMI can help accelerate on behalf of our members, please let us know. Facing a bleak year in capex spending for semiconductors, a little diversification is something we all could do a little more of.

Nice Little PV Video

I'm sure I can find a place to use this nice little video on PV.