UPDATE 1-Chip equipment orders seen rising 1 pct this year
(Adds details, company names)
SAN FRANCISCO, July 16 (Reuters) - Sales of equipment used to make microchips are seen rising 1 percent this year to $40.9 billion, cooling markedly from last year's 23 percent growth, a U.S. industry group said on Monday.
The market is expected to grow 7 percent in 2008 and 4 percent in 2009, Stanley Meyers, president of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International told reporters.
"It's inevitable that the double-digit growth rates of a young industry we enjoyed a few years ago would shift to the single-digit or 10-percent growth as the industry becomes ... more mature," Meyers said.
Major suppliers of semiconductor capital equipment are Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT.O), Novellus Systems Inc. NVLS.O and KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC.O) of the United States, Tokyo Electron Ltd. (8035.T) of Japan, and ASM International (ASMI.O) of the Netherlands.
The industry would be supported this year and next by spending on new production techniques that use larger silicon wafers and etch circuitry at smaller dimensions, Meyers said.
The biggest segment of the industry, wafer processing, would grow an estimated 4 percent to $29.8 billion while equipment for testing chips would fall 8 percent to $5.9 billion, SEMI said.
The market for assembly and packaging tools would stay flat at about $2.5 billion.
Taiwan, home to several big contract chip makers that are an increasingly important part of the industry, would be the biggest growth market, with a rise more more than 20 percent.
Sales in China, where the total market is still small but is being eyed as a big demand driver in the future, would grow 15 percent. Korea sales would rise 1 percent while those in Japan would be flat while sales in North America and Europe were expected to fall 9 percent.
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