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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I am writing from Day 2 of SEMICON Japan and it’s a beautiful day with Mt Fuji out my window. You would hardly notice there is world economic crisis going on.

While the industry slump is omnipresent, the aisles are packed and some encouraging news about the economic rebound has been heard in a few, isolated places. During the Market Symposium, both iSupply and Bill McClean of IC Insights were optimistic that the eventual rebound will start mid 2009. This outlook was shared by Masashi Marumachi, Corp SVP at Toshiba and Frank Huang, Chairman of Powerchip. McClean is especially optimistic on the second half recovery start, seeing low oil prices, coordinated global economic stimulus, low inventories, and historical precedents as solid indicators. This is considerably better outlook than some doomsayers who suggest the upturn won’t occur until 2010.

Some data on SEMICON Japan:
1476 exhibitors (1548 in 2008, a record year)
4450 booths (down from 4602 in 2008, again a record)

Several exhibitors have reduced expenses by limiting the number of tools exhibited and many exhibitors have reduced staff attendance (especially international exhibitors).

Still too early too predict visitor attendance. Probably down 10%. Web traffic is up 25%; maybe folks who aren’t here are vicariously attending through the Internet.

While the business climate has dampened the mood, innovation is on the move with many product announcements, especially TSV, mask making, flip chip, metrology.
SI featured a few.

As always, the Semiconductor Technology Symposium has diverse and outstanding content. All key segments of the industry are covered with full-day and half day programs. This is enabled by a great facility at Makuhari (deep content requires lots of rooms) and the great contributions from the active participation of many committees.

What I am most proud of in the programs is how they draw upon what you should know, what you need to know, and what you what you like to know but don’t have leading edge understanding of the most advanced scientific and engineering concepts in the world today.

What you should know is best illustrated by the outstanding keynotes on sustainability and the industry’s role in combating climate change.

What you need to know are the latest products and solutions that can be used to solve real production and design challenges in today’s fabs.

And what you would like to know is how the winners of the 15th annual STS Awards for outstanding technical presentations will affect your company and business.

This combination of industry advocacy, updates on the latest advances in equipment and material solutions, and advanced peer-reviewed technical papers is the mix we try to achieve to at every SEMICON. While most SEMICONs do not feature peer review technical papers, they do try to present the “what’s next” topics, developments and ideas that are just over the horizon. It’s this combination that make SEMICON so unique in the exposition world and so central to our industry.

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