Updated: Mar 15, 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.
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.
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).
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.
Source: The Edge Markets