Modest growth forecast for global semiconductor sector


TAIPEI — The global semiconductor sector will post modest growth in 2012 amid high expectations that the global economy is to improve gradually, a Taipei-based analyst firm said yesterday. Digitimes Research forecast the global semiconductor sector is expected to register an annual growth rate of 5 percent in 2012 from the previous year, thanks to the lowering inventory levels over the past three quarters and the rising demand beginning in the second half of the second quarter.

Since 2010, the dramatic growth of portable electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, has been the driver to the industry, said Nobunaga Chai, an analyst at Digitimes.

The total output of the global semiconductor assembly and testing industries in 2010 reached US$47.07 billion, up 23.8 percent from a year ago, he added.

Although the European debt crisis and natural disasters in Japan and Thailand caused the annual growth in 2011 to narrow to 2.8 percent, with the total output reaching US$48.38 billion, Chai expressed optimism for the industry.

The shipments of portable electronic devices are still very likely to grow, while personal computer shipments are expected to post 20-percent growth in the second half of 2012 from the first, Chai predicted.

According to research firm Gartner Inc., meanwhile, worldwide semiconductor revenue is projected to total US$316 billion in 2012, up 4 percent from 2011. Gartner predicted in mid-March that tablet computer production will increase 78 percent over 2011, while semiconductor revenue from tablets will reach US$9.5 billion this year.

Semiconductor revenue from PCs will reach US$57.8 billion in 2012, with that for mobile phones totaling US$57.2 billion, Gartner said.