Chip group sees recovery starting this quarter

The global semiconductor industry is set to begin recovering this quarter, driven by sales of PCs, mobile phones and other consumer products, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said in its annual forecast, released Wednesday.

The industry will recover from both the excess inventory that haunted it last year and this year’s weak demand, beginning this quarter, the SIA said. Slow growth will occur throughout 2002, and then the market will return to a normal growth pattern, increasing by about 21 per cent in both 2003 and 2004, the SIA said.

While global sales of semiconductors will decrease 31 per cent this year, dropping to US$141 billion, according to SIA projections, the market will grow by six per cent in 2002 and will be a US$218 billion market worldwide in 2004.

Geographically, the Americas are a US$36 billion market this year and will grow by 4 per cent next year, and 21 per cent in both 2003 and 2004, becoming a US$56 billion market in 2004. Europe, which is currently a US$30 billion market, will grow one per cent next year and 20 per cent in both 2003 and 2004, reaching the US$44 billion point in 2004.

Japan and the Asia-Pacific market will see similar growth, with the Japanese semiconductor market growing from US$35 billion this year into a US$52 billion market by 2004, and the Asia-Pacific market growing from US$39 billion this year to US$67 billion in 2004, the SIA said.

The largest revenue-generating category will be the MOS (metal-oxide semiconductor) market, driven primarily by communications and ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) products, including display drivers for flat-panel displays, the SIA said. MOS products make up a US$25 billion market this year but will grow into a US$38 billion market by 2004.

DRAM (Dynamic RAM), DSPs (digital signal processors) and flash memory also are expected to show strong growth, with DRAM growing from a US$12 billion market this year to a US$29 billion market in 2004, the SIA said. The DSP market is expected to double in the same period, growing from a US$4 billion market this year to an US$8 billion market in 2004.

The flash memory market, driven largely by sales of data-capable high-speed mobile phones and digital cameras, will grow from a US$7.8 billion market this year to a US$12 billion market in 2004, the SIA said.

The SIA is based in San Jose, Calif., is at