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國寶級半導體產業 需要持續創新 (2016-02-04 IEK產業情報網 )

Currently, the semiconductor industry is suffering from a downturn. Research institutes have also revised downward the global semiconductor revenue forecast, in that the estimated overall industry revenue for 2015 is 337.8 billion U.S. dollars, a fall of 0.8 percentage points compared with the previous year. Nevertheless, the overall performance of Taiwan's semiconductor industry is still outpacing the rest of the world. The critical questions for Taiwan include how to maintain continuous development and expansion, and how to maintain continuous innovation over the next few years. The persistent strategic thinking is to adhere to the strategies of "strengthen the foundation", while striving to "climb to the summit".
The semiconductor industry may be said to be Taiwan’s national treasure. During the decade between 2004 and 2014, the industry output grew from one trillion NT dollars to 2.2 trillion NT dollars. To date, the industry Value-added Rate is nearing 50%. Meanwhile, driven by factors such as: developing advanced processing technologies, strengthening the clustering effect of peripheral equipment and materials industries, and positioning in the emerging markets, it is estimated that the competitive advantages and growth potential over the next two decades are still quite promising.
Last year (2015), at the annual conference of the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association, the chairman, Mr. Nicky C. C. Lu, said that the growth rate of the semiconductor industry in Taiwan is the highest in the world, its output ranked second globally, and it is eyeing first place, which is currently held by the United States. The crucial issues in the future will be the continuous development and expansion of its technologies and products, and the attraction and recruitment of talent. However, from the perspective of demand, even though the semiconductor market demand continues to expand, it is estimated that the Compound Annual Growth Rate will slow down to around 4%, compared to the nearly 8% Compound Annual Growth Rate of the past. Therefore, how to implement the industry strategy of "strengthening the foundation", while "climbing to the summit", will be an important lesson for Taiwan's semiconductor industry to learn if it is to maintain continuous development and growth.
TSMC chairman, Mr. Morris Chang, pointed out at the 2014 World Semiconductor Council, that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the next business trend and opportunity for the semiconductor industry. In fact, within the recent developments of information technology, IoT has indeed gained much attention. In comparison to the demand quantity of several hundred million to several billion semiconductor chips required for computers or cell phones, it is quite likely that the IoT market demand will be in the tens of billions of chips. Its applications, which range from smart cities, smart cars (Internet of Vehicles), smart homes, smart medical care (long-distance care), smart persons (health and fitness), smart factories, and smart manufacturing, may all be the next major opportunities for the semiconductor industry.
From the perspective of supply, although Taiwan’s integrated device manufacturers (IDM) still accounted for 62% of the global semiconductor industry output of nearly 400 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, this percentage has dropped in comparison with the numbers of the past. In contrast, with the support of the wafer foundry industry, the number of IC manufacturers has increased to account for 22% of global output; similarly, wafer foundry (10%) and IC packaging and testing services (6%) have also grown in sync. IDM Companies like Samsung and Intel are also cutting into the wafer foundry market, making the business relationships within the entire semiconductor industry both competitive and cooperative. The structure of the semiconductor industry in major regions including: the United States, Korea, Japan and Europe is mainly composed of IDM, the extent of which is even approaching 96% in Korea.
However, in the makeup of the structure of Taiwan's semiconductor industry, the wafer foundry makes up the largest percentage at 40%, followed by IC design (26%) and IC packaging and testing services (20%), with IDM only making up 15%. Such a business pattern, that divides labor according to professional specialties, is different from other countries, but it is also the source of the energy that builds business advantages for Taiwan's semiconductor industry. As a result, even emerging China has adopted this method of "advancing side-by-side" when promoting the semiconductor industry. Observing from the aspect of the proportion of each sub-industry, Taiwan has the disadvantage of only 4% being IDM; particularly, when compared with the 49% of the United States, and 20% of Korea. Such a distribution disparity posts a great challenge to Taiwan's "climbing the summit" strategy. The United States also leads in global IC design numbers with 61% of the market, while Taiwan takes second place with 22%. However, Taiwan has an obvious advantage with wafer foundry (76%) and packaging and testing services (56%); nonetheless, attention still needs to be paid to "strengthening the foundation".
In terms of contribution to the global semiconductor output, the United States takes the lead with 46%, and Taiwan takes second place with 18%, followed by Korea's 18%, Japan's 11%, and Europe's 7%; while China and Singapore take only 3% and 2% respectively; wherein, almost every nation has increased their output ratio in the global semiconductor industry with the exceptions of Japan and Europe. It is worth noting that, with the various consolidations and acquisitions within the global semiconductor industry in recent years, each nation and/or enterprise is actively seeking a breakthrough, which will also facilitate changes in market domination and competition. For example: Avago in Singapore acquired Broadcom in the United States, Globalfoundries in the United States bought the semiconductor business division of IBM, NXP in Europe acquired Freescale in the U. S., while Intel bought the chip manufacturer, Altera.
Even in Taiwan, Media Tek Inc. acquired four companies sequentially, Alpha Imaging, Chingis Technology, Ili Technology, and Richtek Technology, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering acquired SPIL; while Powerchip semiconductor, UMC, and TSMC have invested in factories in China via equity participation or sole proprietorship. Furthermore, within the never-to-be-ignored China, companies with the support of the government and large-scale funding have made frequent acquisitions that include the purchase of the digital imaging sensor producer in the United States, OmniVision, Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology's acquisition of STATS ChipPAC in Singapore, and the recent news about the acquisition intent of AMD, ISSI, Globalfoundries, and Micron, in addition to Intel's taking shares in Tsinghua Unigroup, and Samsung's factory setup for mass-producing memory chips.
It is easy to see, from the above data, China's ambition to develop its semiconductor industry. Particularly, with the support of government policies and market advantages. In addition to being the global assembly and production center for electronic products, China has already become the largest regional market of the global semiconductor industry. For instance, under conditions where market demand for semiconductors is well above the available supply (IC market demand in 2014 was 88 billion U.S. dollars more than the output value), China actively adopts an import-substitution policy and implements it using both intimidation and inducements to help realize its goal of increasing manufacturing in China. They even go as far as propping up weak manufacturers. Meanwhile, in the "National Outline for Developing the Integrated Circuit Industry" promulgated in 2014, China clearly indicates that its support policy for the semiconductor industry is shifting gear from subsidy to investment.
Therefore, although Taiwan may still lead in both technology and market share by some margin due to the competitive strength of its semiconductor industry, when compared to China with its similar industrial structure, the development and competition from across the strait are worthy of attention. For example, while Chinese businesses were yet to be seen in the top 50 global IC design factories list in 2004, there were 9 listings by 2014; and, after Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology's acquisition of STATS ChipPAC, their revenue in the IC packaging and testing market rivals that of the third ranking, SPIL's; and SMIC has become number five in the world in the field of wafer foundry.
Currently, the government is aware that maintaining the advantage of the semiconductor industry has become a national security issue, thus it is offering policies to cultivate talents via industry cooperation, and to promote economic growth through export expansion. Under the Smart trend, industry must take advantage of the opportunities that come along with these businesses, such as IoT. Additionally, using the unique business pattern of Taiwan's semiconductor industry as the foundation, the industry must adopt the method of platform or industrial chain integration, and then offer products and services specific to the various demands, or even build new business models in order to more effectively create competitive advantages to achieve "strengthening the foundation" and "climbing to the summit".

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