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Global semiconductor equipment materials industry revenue to hit US$1.3tril by 2030, says SEMI

Global semiconductor equipment materials industry revenue to hit US$1.3tril by 2030, says SEMI

08 Mar 2022

The US-based Semiconductor Equipment & Materials International (SEMI) is expecting another healthy year for the global semiconductor industry in 2022.

In an exclusive interview, SEMI president and CEO Ajit Manocha (pictured) said the longer-term growth outlook is exceptional and exciting, with projections pointing to the industry more than doubling revenue to approximately US$1.3 trillion (RM5.43 trillion) by 2030.

In an email interview with theedgemarkets.com, Manocha said that during the current chip shortage, one major benefit for the industry has been the broader realisation that semiconductors are ubiquitous building blocks, omnipresent in all electronic devices.

He said accelerating digital transformation and the convergence of AI, IoT, AR/VR, (Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality) quantum computing, autonomous machines and many other emerging technologies will touch virtually every end market, resulting in tremendous opportunities ahead for the semiconductor industry.

“I truly believe [that] this is the most exciting time in the industry’s history,” he said.

Challenges

Manocha said the industry had witnessed unprecedented challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing geopolitical tensions in the past few years.

However, he explained that the semiconductor industry has coped well and shown strong growth.

He added that while there are still challenges on those fronts, a more serious obstacle to industry growth is the widening talent gap.

“The industry is expanding operations and production capacity to address the current chip shortage and to prepare for growing demand, but the workforce shortage is more difficult to overcome in a short time span.

“SEMI is diligently working with our member companies and partners from industry, government and academia to build on our holistic workforce development program to address STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education [in] schools and university, through an industry worker’s career path,” he said.

Resources

Manocha said the recent helium shortage is due to a number of factors: declining production at the world’s largest helium source – the US government’s Bureau of Land Management facility in Amarillo, Texas, plus long outages at other helium facilities in the US and Algeria.

“That said, SEMI is working closely with the industry and relevant governments, and the various helium sources to avoid disruptions in supply,” he said.

Helium is an important element in the processing of silicon into functioning chips done in a fabrication facilities (fabs).

Lessons from pandemic

Manocha said the most important lesson from the pandemic has been how crucial semiconductors are to all facets of lives.

He said within the semiconductor industry, companies used lessons from the pandemic to revamp and expand business continuity plans to mitigate future manmade and natural disasters.

He explained that additionally, companies in the industry have taken a huge step forward in advancing remote diagnostics and smart manufacturing in general.

“At SEMI, we had to shift a lot of our in-person events to a virtual format over the past couple of years.

“While there were a lot of lessons around this and our broader digital transformation, I do feel a key lesson during the pandemic has been how much people miss attending face-to-face events.

“We are definitely looking forward to SEMICON Southeast Asia’s return to Malaysia and getting back to networking with colleagues in the region,” he said.

Clean energy

Manocha said SEMI member companies and their executives are very committed and focused on sustainability.

“It is clear that key stakeholders – such as investors, current and potential employees, governments and customers – care deeply about this issue.

“The SEMI Sustainability Initiative is helping to align the industry on goals and further BKMs (best known methods) around clean energy,” he said.

Chip shortages

Manocha highlighted that while the semiconductor industry, including chip and equipment manufacturers, is working very closely with the industries that use chips in order to meet demand, SEMI has taken a leading role in bringing together the key players to mitigate a similar shortage situation in the future.

He said SEMI has launched a survey for participants to better understand the impact they are seeing and the collaborative actions that can be taken to prevent this from happening again.

Secondly, he said SEMI has worked to raise the awareness of the situation.

“I have personally spoken with top government officials, industry leaders and visionaries to highlight the dire situation so that they can help to alleviate near term pain.

“Finally, the industry is investing significantly to add production capacity.

“The SEMI World Fab Forecast database is tracking 86 fabs with major capacity coming online between 2020 and 2024.

“Semiconductor fabs cost billions of dollars to build and can take two years to bring online, so it does take time to see [the] impact of these incredibly complex facilities,” he said.

Source: The Edge Markets

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