The Chinese Semiconductor Industry Market Presents Great Opportunities
Driven by sustained strong demand for integrated circuits by the rapidly growing
electronics manufacturing industry, the implementation of a series of government
preferential policies, the push of government sponsored development programs, and most
important of all, active participation of leading international players, China's
semiconductor industry has made progress by leaps and bounds in almost all sectors since
2000. As a result, a full-fledged semiconductor industry, encompassing wafer
fabrication, testing and packaging, and IC design has started to take shape in this country.
According to the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), China is now the third
largest market in the world for semiconductors (after Japan and the US), and boasts the
world's highest growth rate. China's official statistics show that in 2004, the
semiconductor market size was $35.1 billion, which accounted for about 16.5% of the
global total, which was $213 billion.
By end of 2004, China had about 50 wafer fabs, 102 IC packaging and testing factories,
and 457 IC design firms. In terms of industry size, China's 2004 domestic semiconductor
sales revenue ($6.56 billion) accounted for 3% of the total global semiconductor sales
revenue ($213.0 billion). Semiconductors manufactured in China reached a level that
could have supplied 18.7% of China's total 2004 market demand. However, about half
of the domestically made semiconductors were exported. Therefore, according to an
official of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), only about 10% of China's
domestic demand was met by domestically made semiconductors.
Despite the rapid all-round development within this sector, the semiconductor industry is
still at its initial stage. Due to the weak infrastructure and unevenness of the supporting
industry, China has to rely on imports for a majority of its integrated circuit consumption,
packaging equipment, integrated circuits testing and assembly equipment, as well as
development tools for the design of integrated circuits. Market size for semiconductors is
estimated to be around $30 billion at end of 2004. According to estimates of a leading
research firm, China's semiconductor market size was $42 billion in 2004 and expected
figure to rise to $46 billion in 2005 (final figures not yet confirmed).
According to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Industry Association (SEMI),
market demand for semiconductor equipment is estimated to reach $4.5 billion in 2005
from the $1.16 billion in 2003.
The best prospects for ICs will be within the robust new sectors of information
communication industry, (i.e., audio/visual applications for wireless, broadband
communications, and digital television). The imminent launch of 3G applications and the
transition from analog to digital television will be strong drivers for increased demand of
IC applications. Demand for ICs used in personal computers, telecommunications
equipment and handsets, consumer electronics such as digital cameras, MP3 and MP4
players will remain strong since most of the production has been relocated to China.
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