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Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Halleluiah. SEMICON Korea was a successful show, achieving both attendee registration expectations and exhibitor satisfaction ratings based on preliminary results (we will have official results and more quantifiable satisfaction ratings at a later date).

During these economic times, this wasn’t a certain outcome. With industry cap spending paralyzed, and the memory market in atrophy, we didn’t know what to expect with attendance in Korea. As you might expect, companies are slashing marketing budgets and exhibitor cancellations are occurring at industry events worldwide. Compounding the normal economic dread, rumors of a Samsung reorganization had us all fearing that no one who show up.

But exhibitor cancellations didn’t really materialize in Korea. The show didn’t pick up the normally late registering marginal exhibitor, but the core exhibitors still came and showed their best stuff. Final results: 460 exhibitors, occupying 1300 booths.

Total visitors topped 23,000, a little more than last year. The crowds were as you expect, the right people came, exhibitors saw who they wanted to, and there was that typical SEMICON energy of folks working the show with purpose. Of course, spending isn’t happening and this makes people glum, but exhibitors had good attitudes and often expressed reasonable expectations for brighter times just around the corner.

Part of the good attendance was the added draw of PV products and services with the inaugural SOLARCON Korea. This co-located PV event featured 100 booths and a complete 2-day conference. Korea is a sleeping giant in the PV world, with strong government incentive fuelling local demand, and emerging equipment, materials, cell and module powerhouses serving the export market.

SEMICON Korea is also unique in that it features a strong solid state lighting segment, drawing additional synergies for this related industry.

For SEMI and many of our exhibitors, SEMICON Korea was seen as a potential bellweather for industry events in 2009, specifically: would buyers come during these difficult times? Fortunately for our exhibitors, the answer is yes. In fact, we may see regional SEMICON events benefiting from the restrictions on international travel. And, there’s always the interplay between money to spend and time to spend it. When orders are booming, some people are too busy to attend events; when demand swoons, they have plenty of time, but no money to spend.

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